The Great Jackfruit Family

As most of you might already know, I am not a fan of the television series in Malayalam which have been part of different channels. But there was Thatteem Mutteem which became a show which I regularly watched, and that had changed. With the children in the series growing up to have children, things were never going to be the same again. Then, with the beginning of COVID-19, the episodes stopped, and we were no longer interested in this particular programme. I was never a fan of the much hyped Uppum Mulakum, even though in the beginning, I had found the same to be okay. As of now, one can be pretty sure that it can only live on its past hype and can come up with nothing new.

Then in August, we had another television show focusing on a family and its members at home, and that changed the situation by a long way. After watching television continuously for a long time during the pandemic, we had lost interest in watching anything anymore, and that was evident in the time spent in front of the television in the later stages. Chakkapazham which started its journey on August 10 was quick to catch our attention, and we have been watching the show without fail, every day from Monday to Friday. Even the presence of the WWE-like entertainment like IPL didn’t change that as we were stuck to this show like never before. It is after a long time that a programme has created such an effect.

This show feels that good because of its funny side which works so well, without adding any emotional side in between. Uppum Mulakum and Thatteem Mutteem have the tendency to turn emotional at times, but Chakkapazham manages to be a complete comedy with feel-good elements. The funny moments are all effective, thanks to a group of talented actors and actresses doing a great job. Lead by SP Sreekumar who plays Uthaman, a veterinary compounder who take care of the house which has more members than one would expect. The members of the family include Uthaman, his wife Asha, their three children, his jobless young brother Sumesh, his sister Painkili and her son, his brother-in-law who visits at times, his parents and also his grandmother.

SP Sreekumar is no stranger to us, as we have known him from Marimaayam, and as that villain in Memories. He does a natural job in the series as he has been doing for a long time. Aswathy Sreekanth who plays his wife makes the entry into acting from anchoring here with a touch of comedy, really well. Shruthi Rajnikanth who plays the sister Painkili is a joy to watch, and it is her along with Mohammed Raffi who plays the brother Sumesh that elevates the comedy to the highest level. Both are united by the interest in doing nothing, and if the former’s main interest is in sleeping, the latter spends his time trying to find some way of making the family members fight with each other or find any way of making some quick money without hardwork.

Arjun Somasekhar who plays Painkili’s husband Shivan makes some nice appearances, even though he is not there in all episodes. In his acting debut, he brings some memorable, funny moments. Amal Rajdev plays Kunjunni, the father figure who pretends that he was a pilot in the airforce until retirement, while Sabeeta George plays the mother figure of Lalitha. Both are also interesting characters, and blend in really well. Indira Devi plays the grandmother who is also an integral part of the fun. The children are also really good, and they contribute to the tale so well. Such natural acting from child actors are rarely seen, but they just manage to make the whole thing better.

The fight scenes in the television series are funny, and it is to be noted that there is something very interesting coming up every time. The characters are people whom we fall in love with – they are all simple people, and their life and tales are also really simple, even though strange in a really funny manner as we look at it. I would say that the best thing which started in television during these days is this programme, and telecasted at the same time as Thatteem Mutteem in Mazhavil Manorama, this one is sure to have won the battle. Flowers channel seems to have programmes for all categories of people – even Star Magic and Koodathayi seems to be much loved, while in the case of Mazhavil Manorama, we only have the new and updated Udan Panam, which thrives on its anchors.

At the same time when Koodathayi and Star Magic are running in Flowers, we have Udan Panam in Mazhavil Manorama, a show which has been lifted to the next level, thanks to its new anchors, Meenakshi and Dain. One has to say that other than these, there is not much that can be watched on television these days. There are the movies for sure, like Kilometres and Kilometers being released on Asianet, and we also have those songs which can be watched here and there. Then we only have the sports. Well, with the COVID-19 cases showing no signs of coming down in number, and the number of deaths increasing, we need to stay more at home, but there is not enough entertainment within, and the need to work is also not the same for everyone.

***The images used in this blog post are promotions used by Flowers TV.

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TeNy

Movies for Holidays

As the season of holidays is coming up during April and May after the early lockdown for Corona virus pandemic, there are a few movies which we can look forward to. Even though the theatres are closed for now along with the schools and colleges, we can be sure that we will go past the epidemic and come strong during the next month, or maybe even earlier. Some movie releases might be missed in the mean time, but as we follow the instructions of the health department and come back stronger, there will be more movies for us to watch in the theatres. The summer holidays will have a lot of these, are some might even have a late release to go with it.

1. Black Widow: Marvel might have lost some of its greatest heroes in the form of Avengers, but it is not yet over for them, as this time we go back and follow the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Natasha Romanoff finding herself against a conspiracy. Well, we never really had enough of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, and she was surely the one superhero who needed a solo movie over the much overrated Captain Marvel. The potential for a character like this is so much, and it could rise above the usual superhero stuff with ease. Whatever those people with superpowers could do, Black Widow can surely do better and in a smarter way, and you no longer miss all Avengers.

2. The Personal History of David Copperfield: We are never really short of watching the novels of Charles Dickens on the big screen. Coming from the greatest novelist of Victorian Age dealing with the common man, all these novels make great impact on the big screen. Even though my favourite novel remains A Christmas Carol and The Great Expectations has been one novel which works really well on the big screen along with Oliver Twist, this one also would have enough for us. It is never too late to go through Dickens’ most autobiographical novel even when not on the pages.

3. The Green Knight: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale from English medieval period which gave its poet the name, Gawain Poet. One of the best known tales about King Arthur, and the version known to us being written in Middle English, the movie takes us back to the Arthurian Legend. The movie has Alicia Vikander, and that is a name we would love to have in a medieval setting. The legend of King Arthur, his knights, queen, the sword in the stone Excalibur and the final resting place Avalon have always inspired literature lovers, and may this movie also do the same.

4. Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea: The Malayalam movie with Mohanlal in the titular leading role is also something much awaited, even more than the overrated Bollywood movies – it has made that kind of an impact already, and even though a similar movie out of history Mamangam didn’t receive that much of an appreciation, one can only keep waiting for this one considering the grandeur and the effort. I also have my own doubts about it, but I am also hoping for the best – it should release next month itself, as the theatres here have closed due to Corona virus this month.

5. Artemis Fowl: Somewhat taken from Eoin Colfer’s works of the same name, the movie takes one back to the world of a twelve year old criminal mastermind. A much known book here is not something that we have followed much at this part of the world, even though it has been well known. The movie becomes an opportunity to get back to this. A thriller fairy tale and the conflict between good and evil never gets old. The whole setup leading to the movie does look good. Now, it is to be seen how well the movie turn out to be – it also needs to be seen if this is released here.

6. Spiral and Run: We also need the regular dose of horror movies and thrillers, and these two seem to come up with some of it. Both movies seem to have something grand in store, with very much sinister secrets out there. It seems that we will know very less about these, but sometimes, it is the beauty of the same. Lets have more of similar movies, as long as they release here – we are surely going to have a rush of movies as the theatres come back to life next month, and we can hope that these would also join in between all the rush which has been happening.

***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.

**And belated happy birthday to me.

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TeNy

Age of Thrillers: Death Trail

As the year began, it became clear that the Malayalam movie industry was attempting to go through a path which it had earlier tried and succeeded, but later left behind – creating an age of thrillers around a death or a few murders. The success of the Kunchacko Boban starrer Anjaam Pathira might have set the thriller wagon moving, as Anveshanam is also on the trail, even though not becoming that much of a success both commercially and critically with a slow moving drama side keeping it away. Now, what the audience is waiting for happens to be Forensic, the Tovino-Mamta starrer with a well accepted trailer.

Anjaam Pathira made the impact with a series of murders happening, and policemen getting murdered one after the other. It used the darkness effectively, and the suspense was nicely maintained, even though it gave away its strength a little too early in the second half, making it a revenge drama too easily. But Anjaam Pathira found it easy to make the impact that Memories did a long time ago, even though not that much in quality – it has set the wheels of the thriller wagon moving. There was something about Anjaam Pathira in the trailer itself, and it is still running strong in the theatres even with some movies with bigger stars also showing presence there.

At the same, Anveshanam‘s journey could only make itself a pretender to the thriller genre, as it became more drama and less thriller, struggling to create the suspense and thrills, with audience not taken into account as it goes through a slow journey. Set in a hospital, it tests the patience of the audience a little too much that at some point, most of the people would stop caring about the main characters. It also doesn’t end with the right points in the best way, as the struggle continues. Pretending to be a thriller is one of the worst things that a movie can do to its fans, especially with such a talented cast doing so well. Thriller movies not done well make rather too negative impact.

The case of serial killers has always impressed the audience, and Anjaam Pathira is something which couldn’t use its ripper well enough, with Forensic, one can be sure that there is something bigger coming up. The trailer seems to promise a lot more than the usual investigation thriller in Malayalam. There is the extra expectation coming up from the writers of 7th Day. Tovino Thomas in such a role was always going to be interesting. Along with the same, we have Mamta Mohandas and Reba Monica John in the leading female roles. The premise looks too good to avoid, and this is the kind of movie that the thriller fans would be looking forward to on any day.

We await the release of Forensic this March, hoping for the best, with scope for bringing thrillers to the next level. With the number of Hollywood movies getting released here on the decrease, the need for thrillers can only be met by movies like these. Horror hasn’t been getting its due, and it becomes a necessity for thrillers to step up and take the spotlight. It might not be that easy a task, but the audience deserve more from an industry which has evolved so much over the years, and has a the talent and realism which Bollywood never really had with its mass masala and the eternal love for sons and daughters of superstars being the actors who get all the big movies.

Watch the trailers of the three thrillers below:

Forensic

Anjaam Pathira

Anveshanam

 

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TeNy

2019: Songs for the Soul

There are those songs which are there to stay. This year, we have many more of similar songs, some of them raising the level like never before. Some of those songs are close to the themes of the movie, and the rest can stand alone, making an impact separately. Well, we can be sure that these songs are ahead of the ones from last year, those which had released at the same initial period of time. Talking about this year’s songs, we can also be certain that there is more to come, especially with some big releases coming up including Mamangam already having one hit song in the bag.

6. Nee Hima Mazhayayi (Edakkad Battalion 06)
This movie is known the best for this wonderful song rather than anything else. The flick which is centered on an army officer played by Tovino Thomas also made sure that the successful Theevandi pair of him and Samyuktha Menon came together again. The film might not have managed to get the same appreciation that the song got, but it could manage that fine opening, and some reviews which could support it. Also, there is no question about the grand feeling that this movie songs, with the visuals and the words used. Nithya Mammen’s voice has caught a lot of attention with it.

5. Pavizha Mazha (Athiran)
The Fahadh Faasil – Sai Pallavi starrer was something that caught attention through days and week, reminding one of A Cure for Wellness and Shutter Island. Athiran was one movie which came to the theatre without much hype, and refused to go, even after the flicks which released after it had gone early. Along with Uyare, this became one of the longest running movies of the year, and in malls, it never really stopped having the interested audience. The song is also nicely visualized, and it gives a great feeling while driving through the rain and listening to the song on a starry night.

4. Aalolam (Love Action Drama)
This movie had marked the return of Nayanthara to Malayalam cinema after a very long time, under the direction of Dhyan Sreenivasan. Even though the movie did make one feel strange with its treatment of the subject, and the humour was rather too stupid, this song does give a nice feeling – maybe could have worked even better if it was in a serious feel-good romantic flick. This one might have been missed if it was seen in the movie, as such beauty often gets hidden in the foolishness and strange behaviour of the main character – but we can always take it out and enjoy.

3. Parakkam Parakkam (Finals)
In one of the greatest sports drama movies of all time in Malayalam or maybe even South India, there are two beautiful songs, both in the first half of the movie. There is the absence of the terrible melodrama that are common in most of similar movies. The usual routes taken by sports drama are also avoided. If this going to be the usual stuff, that would have been very disappointing, but with Rajisha Vijayan around, who is well supported by Suraj Venjaramoodu and Niranj Maniyanpillai Raju, the movie gets its wings with ease. There is no usual greatness of the protagonist being shown with a thrilling match in the end – this movie is much more.

2. Uyiril Thodum (Kumbalangi Nights)
The best of the year came early with Kumbalangi Nights, and its song also gets the best out of the mood. Set in the island village of Kumbalangi, the movie is as close to a realistic world as it can get, and we have the feeling of seeing real people in realistic circumstances. It is the kind of movie that is not usually seen, but this one finds it easy to capture the attention and love of people. The beauty of visuals can also be seen in the movie as well as this song in particular. Kumbalangi is a place to look out for, as beautiful island near Cochin, and this movie makes things even better – the numbr of tourists visiting the place should have seen a rise.

1. Parayuvan (Ishq)
This movie provides the best feeling when we are traveling in a car at night, like the protagonists themselves do. The music and the voice in the song comes up with a feeling out of this world with ease. The movie is surely not something great, as it often goes some other way, but it is another song which touches soul – this is something completely different from what we have heard, it feels new, but feels perfect for the old soul. Try listening to this one while traveling in car on a rainy day; maybe even a KSRTC bus would do. This also feels closer to the music of Ranam.

*See the year’s best movies.

TeNy

2019 and its Movies

This year surely has been an interesting one for Malayalam movie industry. There are movies like Mamangam and Edakkad Battalion coming up, and there could be a great change to the list, but we already have some highly appreciated movies on the top. The next three months are going to be crucial with some very interesting titles getting ready to be released. We also have had some nice songs this year, but we will talk about them later. The following are the movies which have created great impact in Malayalam movie industry, and I would consider them to be among the best, rising above the level created by the movies last year.

5. Uyare: Parvathy leads another movie to positive criticism as well as positive word of mouth, as both the critics and the commoners approved of this movie as among the best. Telling the tale of an aspiring pilot who became a victim of acid attack, Parvathy excels in this role, as she did another real-life inspired movie, Take Off. There is fine support from Tovino Thomas, and Asif Ali is also there along with Anarkali Marakar. This inspirational story was one flick which couldn’t take any negative opinions, and ran in the theatres for a very long time, gaining more and more audience as time passed.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/05/26/uyare/

4. Virus: The medical thriller is a step forward for Malayalam cinema, as this movie provides a fictionalized account of how the state of Kerala valiantly dealt with the Nipah Virus outbreak which claimed the lives of a number of people in the North of Kerala, especially Malappuram and Kozhikode. A huge number of leading actors including Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith Sukumaran, Asif Ali, Joju George, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Rima Kallingal, Sreenath Bhasi and others. The movie is an emotional and thrilling ride, as well as a tribute to those who suffered and lost their lives while trying to save the Nipah infected patients. It is a welcome experiment like never before.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/06/08/virus/

3. Unda: This Mammootty starrer was made fun of due to its simple and yet strange title, something which the film makers wouldn’t have thought about on another day, related to another movie with the same theme. Dealing with the problems faced by cops who travel to a Naxal infested area, the movie doesn’t take sides, but satirizes the situation really well. Mammootty stays strong in this movie, and plays the vulnerable cop and leader nicely, and there is a lot of support here, starting from Shine Tom Chacko. The way in which the movie deals with its situation is worth one’s attention. It is that kind of a movie which could have a sequel with another mission for the police force.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/06/16/unda/

2. Finals: Rajisha Vijayan already had another movie centered on her, June – she had also won the Best Actress Award from the State Government in her first movie itself. Finals is a step forward for her, even though it is not fully centered on her character. The other two giving her support are Niranj Maniyanpillai Raju and Suraaj Venjaramoodu, both also coming up with some fantastic performances. The former surely has a long way ahead for him after this emotionally strong performance, and the latter is once again a revelation in this kind of role – we saw him providing such emotional performances in Action Hero Biju and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, and here we are even more glad to have him here.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/09/14/finals/

1. Kumbalangi Nights: The best movie of this year won’t have the haters that the top ten movies usually have from the mindless fan boys who decide to have their part. Taking a perfect setting of the model tourism village Kumbalangi, and thriving through its beauty, this one comes up with a beautiful tale of the common man, powered by some fantastic performances lead by Fahadh Faasil, Shane Nigam, Soubin Shahir and the rest of the perfectly chosen cast. Unlike some of those movies with place names in their titles, this one is very much close to perfection – it has the spirit of its surrounding, and the people who live there. It is a tale of redemption and hope like no other.
Read review: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2019/02/09/kumbalangi-nights/

It would be nice to know your choices for the best Malayalam movies of the year so far. Even though there have been these brilliant movies, there was no shortage of some terrible movies, which would be nice to know about too. The hope once again is to move away from those usual terrible movies starring superstars without any content. We are always looking forward to experimentation, and lets hope that such experiments prove to be interesting, and inspire many more of such movies.

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TeNy

Best of 2017 in a Flash

2017 had its own interesting flicks to make things better, and among them, here are those which I found to be the best Malayalam movies of the year. Even though there might not have been a movie which would break all records, or would be considered as one of the greatest of them all, we surely had some excellent works. We all need more movies to be released so that the choices increase, but it is up to us to make sure that most of them will be watched, and will not get the negative result that they don’t deserve. These six are surely the kind of flicks that you can choose to watch without second thoughts.

1. Take Off :: Quoting from my own earlier post here: “This one is Malayalam movie industry’s answer to Airlift, but takes the time to get more out of the emotional side with a first half which establishes the main characters and the situation of the protagonist really well. Taking a page out of a real incident and adding the needed creativity, Take Off becomes the movie that is not easy to find fault with. There is Parvathy as the protagonist doing an excellent job, and there is Fahadh Faasil who gets things to be more intense in the second half. Kunchacko Boban remains serene with his act. The positive opinions received are all deserving.”
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/26/take-off/

2. C/O Saira Banu :: Quoting from my own earlier post here: “This one is an interesting movie which moves from family drama to its twists after the half time. It deals with some interesting incidents which have happened in our society, and also leaves with a message along with an ending which comes as a pleasant surprise with a nice turn of events. It questions not only a past, but also the present and the future in a prejudiced society that we live in. Manju Warrier and Amala Akkineni are the ones who shine in this movie which will work for not just one category of viewers. Along with Rani Padmini and How Old Are You?, this one will be on the list of the best works of Manju Warrier after her grand return.”
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/18/co-saira-banu/

3. Sakhavu :: There is the strength of ideology behind this movie, and it goes towards taking a righteous stand, especially when a political leader is concerned – on what the left ideals really mean, if they are implemented in the right way. The message is strong, and there is the presence of feel-good elements. Here, Nivin Pauly comes in two roles, and among the two, it is the new-age role that suits the best for him – the other role also demands him to play the elder version of the character, which also leaves a mark. There is the new generation social worker portrayed nicely with all the shortcuts of life which are taken, and there is the maturity of the old generation comrade, who has struggled so hard with everything in life for the party as well as the society.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/04/15/sakhavu/

4. Godha :: One quality that Godha has retained from the same director’s Kunjiramayanam is its quality in simplicity; as we look through these two movies, we see simple things made beautiful or memorable. The latter was all about making its comic side more and more effective while the former here works on delivering the inspiration on the big screen. In a world which is being swallowed by those sporting events which has more money and bigger heroes, there are the sports other than cricket which struggles to find a path towards attention, and Godha has certainly caught your eyes. Tovino has another big movie with Wamiqa debuting great in Malayalam.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/05/19/godha/

5. Tiyaan :: The thought-provoking moments of Tiyaan are intense, with that intensity like never before. The dialogues are stronger than ever, and we feel all the correct emotions in each of them, whether it is anger, hate, fear or grief. There are signs of what is to come from the beginning itself, and we feel how this is going to be something different, and it is. The whole thing remains a thought-provoking saga, and we are left with hope in a world which doesn’t have much of the same with almost everyone being hypocrites. There might be complexity within, but the final message is rather too simple, with all religions leading to one God, and love being the path.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/07/08/tiyaan/

6 Mayaanadhi :: As this one brings a new love story of this age, the melodrama never finds a seat. There is a realistic approach in this movie, and we never really gets tired of the same, even when the movie seems to get slow in between. We see how much people need each other, when things get better, or when they get terrible. The protagonists are two people who have struggled with their lives, and their world is something which is not difficult to relate as we understand their circumstances. There is the overall sadness in this movie, which seems to reflect on the depressing human condition which remains the same, no matter how the world changes. There are also some harsh realities reflected too, with either fate being so cruel, or the society being against the individual. Tovino and Aishwarya makes a wonderful pair.
Read review at: https://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/12/23/mayaanadhi/

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook pages of these movies. Also read about this years movies, Hey Jude, Aadhi, Street Lights and Shikkari Shambhu. Also read about the best of music.

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TeNy

Best of First Quarter: 2017

People will say that it is just too early to choose the best of movies. But it is never really early or late to choose your favourites, as I am choosing the best six Malayalam movies of this year from those which I have watched – I did go for almost all of them, except for some movies which instantly give that impression that we shouldn’t watch them; there are still moments when I had decided to go for them too. The last year had movies like Pulimurugan, which became the first ever 100 and 150 crore grosser in Malayalam movie industry, doubling the collections of the previous gross topper, Drishyam and its quick followers Premam and Oppam. So, what can this year bring for the industry? Lets begin with the big six movies, and the names can already be guessed by my friends on Facebook who should have seen my writings and preferences already.

1. Take Off :: I am pretty sure that most people will agree to this choice, as long as they are not the extreme case of fans. This one is Malayalam movie industry’s answer to Airlift, but takes the time to get more out of the emotional side with a first half which establishes the main characters and the situation of the protagonist really well. Taking a page out of a real incident and adding the needed creativity, Take Off becomes the movie that is not easy to find fault with. There is Parvathy as the protagonist doing an excellent job, and there is Fahadh Faasil who gets things to be more intense in the second half. Kunchacko Boban remains serene with his act. The positive opinions received are all deserving.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/26/take-off/

2. C/O Saira Banu :: This one is an interesting movie which moves from family drama to its twists after the half time. It deals with some interesting incidents which have happened in our society, and also leaves with a message along with an ending which comes as a pleasant surprise with a nice turn of events. It questions not only a past, but also the present and the future in a prejudiced society that we live in. Manju Warrier and Amala Akkineni are the ones who shine in this movie which will work for not just one category of viewers. Along with Rani Padmini and How Old Are You?, this one will be on the list of the best works of Manju Warrier after her grand return. She is indeed the lady star who can hold a whole movie on her shoulders in the absence of any big male star.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/18/co-saira-banu/

3. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol :: Following Jomonte Suvisheshangal, and becoming only the second movie to release after that long lasting theatre strike, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is a very well made family movie which is sure to appeal to the audience, and along with Mohanlal being at his best, there is also a strong supporting cast which includes Alencier Ley, Anoop Menon and Kalabhavan Shajohn who bring the fun element into the movie. Aima Rosmy Sebastian of Jacobinte Swargarajyam fame has a charming presence, and gets to do more this time. The movie’s message is strong, and cent percent applicable to the present world. Yes, family means everything, and with a superior second half, this movie successfully reiterate the same without melodrama. The family audience will love the grapes.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/01/22/munthirivallikal-thalirkkumbol/

4. Aby :: Aby is an interesting new addition to that list of movies which proves to be inspirational for an upcoming generation with big dreams. Look out for Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Mareena Michael Kurisingal and the supporting cast who make a simple story work really well in a way that it touches your dreams to make them wish to fly higher. How the story ends makes sure that we leave with a smile in the end. We do realise that we will not fly high as the protagonist does, but we can appreciate the fact that we could have and someone will. What is it with Malayalam movies and inspiration? We are having so many of them, and may this one also leave a nice impression. More and more of inspiration will be interesting thing, that is for sure.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/02/24/aby/

5. Ezra :: Ezra does limit its scares, which is rather surprising – but while doing the same, it does take a divergent path, and undoubtedly scores with its visuals and sound effects, but one wonders why it hasn’t used all the arms and ammunition in its arsenal to create a huge scary experience that will keep you unsettled for a very long time. Even though it is a nicely done movie with an interesting narrative, I wouldn’t say that it will make you remember any of its scary moments. Ezra is worth watching for being different, and it buys and sells no white sari like the usual Malayalam horror movies have been doing beyond centuries. Prithviraj Sukumaran has chosen the right horror movie for sure.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/02/12/ezra/

6. Alamara :: Alamara brings some simple, feel-good fun with its usual tale of a married couple having problems due to their families going against their relationship; with a big almirah in the middle of all these as silent witness to this mess of a family life. There are some really funny moments in this flick which also leaves one with a message. Aditi Ravi looks really beautiful here, and makes her presence felt in this one, and it is Manikandan R Achari as the protagonist’s favourite mama who leads the way in the comic department, supported well as usual by Aju Varghese and others making this one a cute watch. Just like Ann Maria Kalippilaanu from the same director, this one also deserved more attention than it receieved.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/19/alamara/

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Pages of the movies as well as the leading actors and actresses mentioned here.

This week’s movies are The Great Father and Georgettan’s Pooram. Do they deserve to be somewhere in this list, or maybe in one which is a little bit longer? If you are looking forward to a Hollywood 2017, read this!

TeNy

What Follows with Fantastico

Here is another list of more Fantastico entertainer movies from the last century which needed to be shared here. The titles are not brought here in any particular order.

Sandesham (1991)
Director: Sathyan Anthikkad
Cast: Jayaram, Sreenivasan, Thilakan, Maathu
This movie can be considered as one of the smartest satires of all-time. With Jayaram and Sreenivasan in the lead and being part of two of the major parties of Kerala, this political satire makes use of the available elements really well. Most of the dialogues in this movie are used even now, and in some cases we see the reflection of the same even during these days. Political satire is not the easy genre to deal with, and there haven’t been many successful ones; even the success stories don’t deal with full time satirical take. This is where this movie is different.

Summer in Bethlehem (1998)
Director: Sibi Malayil
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, Manju Warrier, Kalabhavan Mani
One of the best drama movies of its time comes in the form of Summer in Bethlehem. The usual drama movies have been going through the same path, but this one happens to be different; I would also consider this one as the best family drama performance from Suresh Gopi who was not really known for such roles after getting into the action genre and doing the police role consistently. Along with some fine support from Jayaram, there is also one of the best guest roles ever from Mohanlal. This is also Manju Warrier’s best roles ever in more than one way.

Ramji Rao Speaking (1989) and Mannar Mathai Speaking (1995)
Director: Siddique-Lal (1, 2), Mani C. Kappan (2)
Cast: Mukesh, Sai Kumar, Innocent, Vijayaraghavan
One of the funniest movies of its time, Ramji Rao Speaking was remade into Hindi as Hera Pheri. The team of Mukesh, Sai Kumar and Innocent are in full flow here, and there was even a very successful sequel made for this one by the name of Mannar Mathai Speaking which often has more fun than its predecessor. The dialogues from both movies are so much used these days, and it is safe to say that this has always been a movie which has been special with its comic side then, and continues to be the same even now. The third movie which released just two years couldn’t do that well though, and it is more due to the amazing quality of the first two flicks.

Lelam (1997)
Director: Joshiy
Cast: Suresh Gopi, M.G. Soman, Nandini, Spadikam George
Rivalries among families have always had something special if the whole thing was dealt with nicely. Lelam happens to be one of those movies which has things done very well. Suresh Gopi doesn’t go with the usual police role here, but Aanakattil Chackochi is one of his most remembered characters. In the last movie of M.G. Soman, there is a lot of drama with powerful as well as emotional dialogues, and there is also a good amount of action. Lelam is one of the movies which deal with a similar situation in its story, but among all those flicks, this happens to be the most popular and best known.

Minnaram (1994)
Director: Priyadarshan
Cast: Mohanlal, Shobana, Thilakan, Jagathy Sreekumar
This movie surely had the strength to appeal to the family audience as well as the youth. Minnaram doesn’t bring anything huge, but is still one of the most enjoyable drama flicks of its time, and the comedy sequences of the movie, especially those handled by Jagathy Sreekumar are extremely delightful – his role as Unnunni who always doubts his wife stands apart. The songs are really good, and the movie can also boast about having a huge support with its cast, as Sankaradi, Maniyanpillai Raju and Kuthiravattam Pappu are also part of some of the nice and funny moments here. Minnaram gets into the list of those simple, yet powerful fantastico movies.

Kilukkam (1991)
Director: Priyadarshan
Cast: Mohanlal, Revathy, Jagathy Sreekumar, Innocent
Winning five Kerala State Awards including the Best Actor Award for Mohanlal and the Second Best Actor Award for Jagathy Sreekumar, the movie was also supported by some fine songs. The comedy scenes in the movie are also considered among the best, with Mohanlal, Jagathy and Revathy contributing so well; Innocent’s comedt scenes are big ones too. It was remade in Telugu and Hindi, not living up-to the original, and its sequel Kilukkam Kilukilukkam also didn’t stand as it did nothing other than to bring shame on this fantastic comedy movie. At a point of time, Kilukkam was considered as the one fantastico movie with its extremely strong funny side. When you watch the movie, you will know that the success of Kilukkam is much deserved.

In Harihar Nagar (1990)
Director: Siddique-Lal
Cast: Mukesh, Jagadish, Siddique, Ashokan
Successfully using its cast and thriving in its comic side, In Harihar Nagar was a movie for the youth with all the comedy and addition of thrills in the end. The team of Mukesh, Siddique, Jagadish and Ashokan has been the factor which worked so well. Remade into Hindi as Dhol, the original has been the one top level comedy experience which also had two laugh riots in the form of successful movies, 2 Harihar Nagar and In Ghost House Inn. The comedies are kept simple with these movies, and the cast has been so much suitable for the situations. You have admire how they were created here.

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

Malayalam Movies: Fantastico List

Here I am going to write about those Malayalam movies from the last century which are my all-time favourites; in no particular order, but they are my most admired entertainers and they are fantastico!

Nadodikkattu (1987), Pattanapravesham (1988) and Akkare Akkare Akkare (1990)
Directors: Sathyan Anthikkad (1, 2) and Priyadarshan (3)
Cast: Mohanlal, Sreenivasan, Thilakan, Innocent

The best comedy trilogy is here in the form of these three movies which compete which each other to tell us which one has the best lines and provides the most fun. It tells the adventures of Dasan and Vjayan, two jobless people who become CIDs and solves the cases by luck. From the “B.Com First Class” and “Great professional killer Pavanayi” dialogues to the “both having the same kind of voice” and “corpse markings” in the second and later to the big questions about “who is Paul Barber and where is the crown?” along with the “Akira Kurosawa trying to kill mosquitos” in the final movie, this one is a full laugh riot as a trilogy. There is always the need to watch them all, as this is the true fantastico trilogy!


Manichitrathazhu (1993)
Director: Fazil
Cast: Mohanlal, Shobana, Suresh Gopi, Innocent

There is no questioning this movies which has been remade into Hindi (Bhool Bhulaiyaa), Kannada (Apthamitra), Tamil (Chandramukhi) and Bengali (Rajmohol), all versions making fine impact. The Tamil version was also dubbed into Telugu and itt even had a spin-off named Geethanjali, but it couldn’t do that well due to the very high expectations. It is still considered as one of the best psychological horror films around, and it even had some comedy scenes which are remembered a lot. Shobana’s performance won her the National Award as well as the State Award for Best Actress. Well, you should have watched one of the remakes, so you will know the story – and the original is the best!

Dhruvam (1993)
Director: Joshiy
Cast: Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Vikram, Jayaram

If you see the cast of this movie, you will know the potential without even realizing anything more about it. This is a top thriller which everyone needs to watch. The movies which is loaded with beautiful songs, emotional strength and thrilling moments, has its share of powerful dialogues too. In Vikram’s first Malayalam cinema, this one has the protagonist Narasimhan looking for revenge against a dangerous criminal and wanted terrorist called Haider, but is unable to get to him. What follows are the plans brought forward by the man to have his revenge and how the antagonist tries to keep himself away from justice as well as the revenge-seeking Narasimhan.

Commissioner (1994)
Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Ratheesh, Shobana, Vijayaraghavan

Known for its powerful dialogues which became part of every stage program, inspiring another successful sequel named Bharath Chandran I.P.S. eleven years after its release, Commissioner is that movie which brought Suresh Gopi to the role of a righteous police officer, a character which he played in many more movies to come. If I remember it correctly, this is the movie which brought him to the next level of superstar, and in school, a lot of kids were imitating his one particular dialogue in that movie; or rather two of them. This was next big thing for Suresh Gopi – Shaji Kails combination after Ekalavyan.

Yodha (1992)
Director: Sangeeth Sivan
Cast: Mohanlal, Madhoo, Jagathy Sreekumar, Urvashi

The idea to dismiss this one was an entertainer won’t be the smartest of plans, because Yodha is one movie which has a good plot, and its comedy scenes as well as songs are more than just favourites – they are everywhere; they have been so for more than twenty years, and it is the kind of popularity that this movie has managed. I watched this one for the first time as kid, and even now my opinion about the movie remains the same. It is that kind of an impact that this one has made, for people of all generations, and of all ages. With the A.R. Rahman touch in the songs, this one has the Mohanlal-Jagathy comedy combination at its best, and it is great fun to watch.

Ekalavyan (1993)
Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Narendra Prasad, Geetha, Maathu

Suresh Gopi has one of his best police roles here, and Narendra Prasad comes in the role of one of the best antagonists played by him. Ekalavyan is often considered as one of the best police roles of Suresh Gopi, and the dialogues here are amazingly good. Suresh Gopi plays Madhavan, who goes on a mission to investigate into some murders and smuggling of narcotics in which a particular godman is involved. There are many things which will be brought to light, that can also deal with many influential businessmen, powerful politicians, and all. So, going through this investigation won’t be something that can be considered as a smooth one.

Spadikam (1995)
Director: Bhadran
Cast: Mohanlal, Thilakan, Urvashi, Spadikam George

Its main villain is known in real life by the name of the movie itself, and so there is no need to think twice about the impact created by this movie. It tells the story of a boy who has problems in Mathematics, but is good in other subjects; but his father who is a Maths teacher as well as the headmaster makes him fail in language exams; with this particular incident and frustrated of being compared to the students who are good in Maths, he leaves home only to return as a rowdy. The movie has the cult status, and I am sure that a lot of youngsters have faced the same problem in their lives, fighting the worst evil of all time, Mathematics. Mohanlal and Thilakan steals the show here.

The rest of the movies include Sandesham, Chamayam, Ramji Rao Speaking, Oru CBI Diary Kurippu, Irupatham Noottandu, Lelam, Rajavinte Makan, Kilukkam, Pathram, Crime File and many others during a golden age; they are all fantastico!

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

Music: Through the Years

The thing about music is that it has been an essential part of my life through the years. Even though I listen to less music these days, it was more essential during those times when there was not much to do otherwise. Both Hindi and Malayalam music have made my life better during those days when nothing much happened. Even while playing computer games, there was some music playing in the background. These are the songs which go back, just to those end times of the last century. 1980s and 1990s have been the best times related to songs as well as the movies as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned.

“Rajahamsame” (Chamayam: 1993)

Along with another song from the same movie, “Ragadevanum”, this is not just my all-time favourite song, but part of one of the best movies of the time. Set in the background of the sea, fishermen and drama troupes, Chamayam was one movie which had to courage to be different. I haven’t really liked many movies belonging to the drama or romance genre during the early 1990s, but with its willingness to come up with a different story and follow a path with variety, Chamayam was one of them, and this song has a big role to play in making one falling in love with the movie.

“Ambalapuzhe” (Adwaytham: 1991)

Adwaytham was one of the movies long ahead of its time, but it still did work so well at that time; the songs were also very good, and this one is a special thing – I believe that I have mentioned this song before, but it is the kind of song which you can listen to, and also talk about all the time. During those days of cassettes, one had to work hard to find the music and get it recorded into those empty ones. As I see that cassette shop now, it is now a motor-bike service centre – memories fade for sure, but not when we remember songs like these which are more like the nostalgia of those times.

“Malayali Penne” (Bandhukkal Sathrukkal: 1993)

I have found this song to be a lot like those Malayalam poetry works which we had to study at school. Even though I have been reading a lot of Malayalam works during my childhood, a lot more than the English books, this song happened to be one of those which were so difficult to sing except for the first line. Even though I could never come close to learning most of the words mentioned in this song, I believe that this song has efficiently used the beauty and vocabulary of Malayalam language. I can guess how difficult it will be for a non-Keralite to learn Malayalam – even I had decided to choose Hindi instead of Malayalam for my Plus Two due to the depth of my mother tongue.

“Nee En Sargasoundaryame” (Kathodu Kathoram: 1985)

The first time I heard this song, I wasn’t sure where it was from – happens with a good number of movies which have released before our birth. The movie was an emotional drama, and it wasn’t among my favourites; so coming up against the movie name was always going to be tough – but there was the point when the Doordarshan Malayalam helped by bringing those older movies to us, and then I knew the movie. There are two other interesting songs in this movie and one of them might be the more popular thing, but this one is indeed my favourite.

“Thumbippenne” (Dhruvam: 1993)

I would consider this movie as one the best Malayalam thriller of the last century, telling the story of a man named Narasimha Mannadiyar who goes on a long wait to have his revenge on the wanted criminal and terrorist Hyder who killed his brother. With amazing songs like this one as well as others, this movie is a lot like an all-rounder flick. With a cast that included Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram and Vikram in his first Malayalam film, there is no part of this movie which I liked less, and this is one song which you are sure to love. Even the background score was so good!

“Onnaam Raagam” (Thoovanathumbikal: 1987)

There are many more songs to be part of such a list, but I shall end with this – along with “Megham Poothu Thudangi”, this song was always among the big favourites. When we think more about the same, a lot of movies with Mohanlal in the lead had some of the most amazing songs, and they have very well contributed to us liking those flicks even more. If we decide to take the examples, there will be so many of them. As Thoovanathumbikal is one of the most remembered movies of its time and has a certain cult status, the songs have surely played the part here too.

*I would also like to mention “Pon Veene” from Thaalavattam, “Kunu Kune” from Yodha, “Eeran Megham” from Chithram, “Shyaamameghame” from Adhipan, “Athmaavil Muttivilichathu” from Aranyakam, “Pravahame” from Sargam, “Aareyum Bhaavagaayakaraakkum” from Nakhakshathangal, “Ethrayo Janmamayi” from Summer in Bethlehem, “Nilaave Maayumo” from Minnaram and many other songs.

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

Christmas Special: 2015

This year’s Christmas is going to be special around here. No, I am not going to celebrate much this time too, as celebrations are not really part of my life, whether it is a festival, birthday or any significant day. The celebrations are going to be about the movies this time. You know that the movies like Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani have already released, and the Malayalam movies like Anarkali, Amar Akbar Anthony, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, Pathemari, Rajamma@Yahoo, Salt Mango Tree and Ennu Ninte Moideen are still running in the theatres here, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the way. Lets take a look at the Malayalam movies getting ready for release on this Christmas.

Jo and the Boy: Manju Warrier once again takes the role of protagonist here after sharing the space with Rima Kallingal in the highly inspirational flick, Rani Padmini. The movie seems to be centred around the theme of “happiness” and there is something about finding the same. Sanoop Santhosh of Philips and the Monkey Pen fame will play the character of “the boy” here. This one will surely remind us of that same movie, and so we can be sure that something feel-good and inspirational can be found in this one too. Aren’t these the kind of movies that we need? It seems to be so as of now, but lets wait for this movie to release. The challenge will be huge for Christmas, and this one needs to thrive!

joandtheboy (2)

Charlie: The most awaited movie is indeed Charlie. It comes from the maker of big hits like Best Actor and ABCD, but both are not among the movies which I have liked. It had me in doubts, but unlike those two movies which had nothing new, Charlie looks special, and it remains so with only a few days to its release. With all the hype which has been built around this movie, Dulquer should be the star of this Christmas; Charlie even comes one day before the rest of the movies as it releases on December 24th. I also need to get out that terrible feeling from his previous movie, 100 Days of Love. No, I don’t need any dumb fan to come up with the list of box-office collections for that particular flick; for it is that attitude of the blind fan groups which needs to change.

Style: Now that sounds simple, and what this movie has more than anything else is this style. This one is supposed to be a big action thriller, and should have some masala around it too. Unni Mukundan plays the hero, and it seems to work very well, while Tovino Thomas who also stars in Charlie is here as the villain – this will be the performance that many people will be looking out for, that is for sure. Meanwhile, Priya Kandwal makes her debut here, and she has a charming presence in the trailer. Balu Varghese will handle the funny side. There are some interesting song sequences which will add to making this one a full entertainer. Style comes from the same team that brought us the movie Ithihasa.

style (1)

Adi Kapyare Kootamani: It should be another fun movie in store for Christmas with Adi Kapyare Kootamani, as it has Dhyan Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav coming right out of Kunjiramayanam, the big fun movie of the year. If we replace Dhyan with Nivin Pauly, this would be more like Oru Vadakkan Selfie, and that is fun too. Namitha Pramod comes out of what might have been her only meaningless role in her career which she played in Amar Akbar Anthony, and she is rightfully suitable with this team. Mukesh will play the role of a priest, and as the story unfolds in a boys’ hostel, there seems to be scope a lot of comic sequences. We can only wait and see how much it can make us laugh.

2 Countries: The first thing that comes to your mind while seeing the poster of this movie is My Boss which was the complete comedy entertainer starring Dileep and Mamta Mohandas who returns here. That should make it interesting for the viewers to go for the movie, even though the name Jeethu Joseph is not associated with it. There is also a nice supporting cast including Aju Varghese, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Mukesh and Jagadish. Even though the title does make sense with its literal meaning, how it will work more might be in the form of how we Keralites use the word “country people”, and that should be where this movie can manage to make things even funnier. Dileep once again goes to another country with marriage, like in Life of Josutty – it seems.

2countries (2)

With all these movies around, the question might be more about getting the theatres ready to show the flicks. We are actually coming right out of a theatre strike, and Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani staying there, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will also arrive, and there will be a battle for theatres. I don’t remember many occasions when five movies giving high hopes came to releease at the same time. Thankfully, Mohanlal starrer Puli Murugan, Mammootty starrer Puthiya Niyamam, Nivin Pauly starrer Action Hero Biju and Prithviraj starrer Paavada won’t be coming here for this season – think about these four too in the theatres next month – and there are big Hollywood movies coming in January!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies (Jo and the Boy, Style and 2 Countries).

TeNy

Malayalam Cinema: Beginning

November 28th brings a birthday, and it is not just another birthday, but the date of birth of the man who is considered as the father of Malayalam Cinema, JC Daniel. He is maker of the first Malayalam film (even though it was a silent film like the rest of the flicks of that time), Vigathakumaran; meaning “the lost child” in the year 1928, it is the first Malayalam movie, and also the first movie to be made at this part of India. The Travancore National Pictures established by him at Trivandrum was also the first film studio in Kerala.

Vigathakumaran was followed by Marthanda Varma based on the 1891 Malayalam novel by C. V. Raman Pillai of the same name, but that came five years later. JC Daniel had to go through many hardships to bring the movie to the screen and also after the release, and so it was not really a path which the later movie makers were confident in following, even though his legacy has been accepted now, and Kerala Government introduced the Kerala State Film Award for Lifetime Achievement in his name as part of the Kerala State Film Awards from the year 1992.

Celluloid is the bipoic on which most of our information about the man is based.

Celluloid is the bipoic on which most of our information about the man is based.

All of these came very late, and the path after the release of movie was never smooth for the man, even though the film was one of its kind, dealing with a social issue rather than traveling the usual style of the other films of the time. With problems over a lower caste woman PK Rosy playing the heroine character far above her, the conservative sections of the society created big problems over the movie. The first actress of Malayalam Cinema didn’t have much to remember during her time.

As the movie couldn’t go on to become a commercial success at that time, the studio at Trivandrum had to be closed down and Daniel had to sell his belongings and leave, to live as dentist and go deeper into poverty in later stages. It wasn’t a fitting journey for the man who brought the cinema to Kerala. As the government earlier refused to give him the recognition as he was born and died in Tamil Nadu, it was the journalist Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan who worked for bringing the attention to the man behind the first Malayalam movie. It was late, but thanks to him, the deserved recognition arrived.

Most of the Keralites will know him now, thanks to the movie Celluloid from Kamal, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the role of JC Daniel and doing the same to perfection providing him the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor and the movie with the Best Film Award. The movie has Mamta Mohandas doing the role of his wife Janet, the newcomer Chandni in the role of Rosy and Sreenivasan performing the character of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan. It is a movie which I recommend the most among the films of the last few years.

The awards to this biopic is part of the justice which is served to the man.

The awards to this biopic is part of the divine justice which is served to the man.

The movie was based on Life of J. C. Daniel, a biography of the man which was written by Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan and also Nashta Naayika by Vinu Abraham. Receiving also the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam, the movie made its point so well that by the end of the movie, people knew the man who was behind the first Malayalam movie, and this movie was a tribute to the man who did something which none other could dare to do at that time, as it was the big risk.

Some movies make the big impact and some don’t. The one special thing about Celluloid is that it released at a time when one just couldn’t be sure about its success. A lot of the viewers did have the doubt because the period drama wasn’t a preferred genre at that time, especially when it was not about kings and warriors. The situation is safer these days, with Iyobinte Pusthakam becoming a hit and Ennu Ninte Moideen becoming a success despite its slow pace. But the latter movie was a very safe bet as it released these days, and when considering the same, Celluloid is a true and righteous tribute to JC Daniel with its success well earned during difficult times.

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

TeNy

Satire of White Elephants

Even though Marimayam of Mazhavil Manorama is the better known satire on Malayalam television channels, there is another program which is aired at 10:30 PM every Saturday and Sunday, keeping a high standard for itself too. Vellanakalude Nadu, the satire shown on Asianet has its name inspired from the 1988 drama satire directed by Priyadarshan, scripted by Sreenivasan and produced by Maniyanpilla Raju. It had Mohanlal and Shobhana in the leading roles supported by a fine group of popular names of that time.

With its memorable comic scenes and its work as a political satire on the system as well as the people who were around it, the movie is often considered as a classic even though its Hindi remake Khatta Meeta with Akshay Kumar and Trisha Krishnan in the lead roles didn’t do that much. Translated as “The Land of White Elephants” with its title, this television series deals with the random situations that a common household come against, and it usually has someone from outside trying to interfere with their lives.

The last week’s episode had the protagonists, Sivadasan and Kunjumol being fooled in the name of providing visa to work in the Middle East. It is a commonly used idea, and the episode actually added an addition layer to it along with creating some more funny situations with the neighbours and the relatives. Cheating related to visa has been quite common with agents making fools of the people who are in need of an urgent job. Such characters are also common, making an appearance also in the recently released realistic flick, Pathemari.

vellana

All the stories revolve around the two protagonists, and the rest of the cast actually changes their personalities. Susu is the neighbour and friend of Kunjumol, but both friends are jealous of each other. Susu’s husband is played by two actors, one playing the character called Vinod and another Jimmy. Both characters are part of the television series in one role or the other, with one who doesn’t play the husband role plays another person in the locality. Another character is Manjulan who comes up with something new every episode.

The rest of the characters include the sister and brother-in-law of Sivadasan along with two other characters from the locality. The need for them arises according to the story of the episode. There are times when the story is almost fully shot inside one house only. Sometimes there will be more focus on the different offices. The episode usually starts with Sivadasan and Kunjumol, ending it also with them, with other characters dropping in between. There have been a few exceptions about it though.

There have been a good number of interesting episodes in Vellanakalude Nadu, and almost all of them have left some nice and valuable messages on the society. There was one episode which dealt with the mobile tower related issue and another one with the phenomenon of fake certificates. The issue of companies making false promises towards its customers, was one of the best taken episodes. They could even take the common problem of alcoholism and bring the message in a very interesting way.

The advantage of this program is that the cast is not just very good, but they are also a lot suitable for the characters which they play here. The earlier episodes were different though, set more in the offices than anywhere else in the Marimayam style, and the characters were also somewhat different, even with the core remaining the same. The change of the focus to houses instead of the offices has helped the program to bring an identity of its own, different from Marimayam, and it has been a good positive thing which will make sure that the program does better!

***The image used in this blog post is a screenshot of the first screen of a video shared by Asianet.

TeNy

Of Malayalam Movies

There are moments in some of the Malayalam movies and related fields which needs to be known and remembered a lot more. Among them, I present to you those which needs your attention. Whether you like these or not, there is more chance that you will find them different. Even among the usual dose of movies, the variety that the Malayalam movies have brought in the last few years have been remarkable – experimentation has been there with full strength, and most of them made impact in one way or the other. Here are a few of my favourites among them.

Stylish Character Introduction: Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) in Aadu

Aadu oru Bheekara Jeeviyaanu, translated as “The Goat is a Dangerous Creature” was a fun movie, even though there was not much there in the story, and even without having that many jokes which could connect to the normal audience. There is a mix of everything here including a satirical take on the news along with what comes from the stupidity of the characters. The people behind this movie still knew how to use the skills of the actors to the best effect. The best example is seeing Jayasurya as Shaji Pappan – see this introduction, but what follows this scene is even more hilarious!

The Awesome Comedy Song: Salsa in Kunjiramayanam

There have been many funny songs in the past, but nothing like this one which has the comic side on full power here. With a cast which has performed so well in the movie related to the comic side, Kunjiramayanam has its awesomeness in comedy displayed with this song. Even though it has remained logic-free throughout its run, the movie should be the funniest movie which has released in the last few years; the essence of which can clearly be seen in this song which shows the sadness of a group of people who can’t fulfill their desire to drink a particular brand of alcohol.

The Smart Title Song: Memories Never Die in Memories

I really wanted to get this one after watching the movie, but managed that only much later. The song set a nice beginning for the story which had the hero, an alcoholic police officer who is out of duty, living in the memories of his sad and depressing past. This title sequence sets in motion, the events which lead to the beginning of the protagonist’s second stage of life. Fully stylized and telling a story of investigation in an entirely different way, this work from Jeethu Joseph which came right before Drishyam arrived with enough in it to be remade in other languages, but it remains untouched as of now.

Beautiful Song on Screen: Karmukilin in Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party is not a movie which provide me with anything positive, but two songs in the same flick are really good, especially this one which is supported by the wonderful visuals. The director also redeemed himself with the movie Iyobinte Pusthakam which also had some songs with great visuals, but as far as the song itself is concerned, this one scores full marks. This song was also one big reason why the movie had managed some nice initial collections; it was such a big hit song. I remember seeing this one on my news feed so many times, and it is a worthy one!

The Interesting Music Video: Anuragam by Manjari

Featuring and sung by the popular Malayalam singer Manjari along with Basil Paulose co-acting and directed by VK Prakash who is known for bringing variety to the big screen, this is one video which caught my attention long after Alphone Puthren’s Yuvvh starring Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim having the superhit “Nenjodu cherthu”. The video came to my attention after the two actors in the video appeared on Onnum Onnum Moonu show hosted by Rimi Tomy on Mazhavil Manorama. I love the lyrics, the music and the visuals of this one along with the leading pair.

The Cute Promo Song: Baalyathil from Philips and the Monkey Pen (Remya Nambeesan)

Sung by the heroine of the movie Remya Nambeesan herself, this is one promo song which has our attention. With the kids around, this makes a cute watch and sets us on the path to watching this movie, Philips and the Monkeypen. This movie which won for Sanoop Santhosh the Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist, should be the best movie ever in Malayalam with children as the main characters. The best work under under Friday Film House banner has that charm which makes sure that we are never tired of watching this flick again and again.

TeNy

Reviews and Appreciation

I remember Drishyam (Malayalam) as the one big review I wrote on Movies of the Soul. It came before I developed most of my ideas about this movie blog, and hadn’t shared it much. Still it went on to become the most visited review and remain so for close to an year, only to be overtaken by the review of Om Shanti Oshana which kept that title until yesterday. Where Sapthamashree Thaskaraha coming so close and failed, Kunjiramayanam managed to do that in a day and half. Yes, this review had become fourth most read in twenty four hours and made it to the first spot with just half a day more.

I was actually surprised to see this big leap on the first day itself. It was unlike what I had imagined, and it was like whenever I looked, the number of visits just increased. When I looked at my own review page, I saw that the Facebook button showed the numbers in thousands. This was so huge. I was surprised and found out that the link to the review was shared by both the Official Page of the movie and one of the main actors in the movie Aju Varghese on his own page. It was also later shared by the director of the movie, Basil Joseph on his profile, and a lot of others had also shared my review due to the same reason.

When the movie's official page shares your review, that boosts your confidence.

When the movie’s official page shares your review, that boosts your confidence.

I have wished for my reviews to be shared, but never really wrote for the same. I have written the opinions on the movies which I had watched, related to what came on my mind, and concerning that particular experience having that certain effect on me. My reviews were only shared on Facebook improving my traffic only on a few occasions, and it started with Angels review, which had my link as part of a video created consisting of the opinions related to the movie which was shared by the director of the movie Jean Markose, the Official movie page and Joy Mathew who played one of the protagonists in it.

My second share happened related to the movie Ivide when the Official Facebook page of the movie as well as the Assistant Director of the movie, Priya Chokshi gave the shares. The third one was related to Mumbai Taxi when the leading actress of the movie, Mareena Michael Kurisingal gave it a share on her profile. Only the influence of the third can be seen on the Facebook button of the respective review pages, as I had bought the domain after that. So, with the count missing on the pages, I had hoped for something to come up there, and it is big here with Kunjiramayanam as it is above 5000 as of now.

When someone like Aju Varghese shares the review, things get even bigger :)

When someone like Aju Varghese shares the review, things get even bigger 🙂

One thing which I have noticed about Kunjiramayanam is that it has the support of the general public and the usual audience who use Facebook regularly. It is more of a common man’s movie without adding anything complicated to it. It uses simple and yet effective comedy to make things work in its favour, and with these shares, they have made it clear that value is given to the opinions of people. When you are with people, they are with you. I know some people who hope for higher and higher ratings all the time, but here they have chosen to share those fair reviews, which has to be appreciated.

Yes, there has been more shares here and there, but among these four big shares which have affected my blog positively, I will rank the latest one far ahead of the others, because they have all shared this review as something significant rather than just adding it to their profiles, and the results have shown in the re-shares which has been received. The fact that it was shared by Aju Varghese makes me a lot happier because he is the one young actor whom I always trust with the comic roles. I do wish that he had a bigger role in Jamnapyari and also in Loham; but he does steal the show in Kunjiramayanam.

And then the awesomeness continues when the director shares the same :)

And then the awesomeness continues when the director shares the same 🙂

As Om Shanti Oshana which comes second in the most visited list has fallen more than a thousand visits behind, I expect Kunjiramayanam to hold on to that top spot for a very long time – the visits are still going on strong, and the lead is surely going to extend by a much bigger margin. There are only eight movie reviews on Movies of the Soul which has received more than a thousand visits to the page, and among them, seven are Malayalam with the remaining one Hindi – there is always a certain advantage in writing about the movies releasing in your own language, right?

I will leave you with a funny video song from the movie 🙂

TeNy

The Overrated List

I usually hear that Premam and Thattathin Marayathu are overrated, and even though they did happen to have too much hype, there are others which were even more overrated considering the reception! Yes, these choices are hundred percent personal, but if you watch them and compare the critical opinion as well as the box-office collections, you will understand that there was surely more achieved than what was deserved. There are also some messages that these movies provide, and they are really strange. Keep in mind that this is not a critical evaluation of these movies.

Annayum Rasoolum (2013)
Suggested better title:
Infatuation: Full Slow Motion
Message: Patience is a virtue, and all movie viewers should understand that because you will be waiting for a long time, and sometimes with nothing happening, the opportunity to wait might be all you have.

The speciality of this movie is that nothing really happens for most of the time. We waited and waited in the theatre, and my friend almost fell asleep. He even went out and came back, and understood that nothing really happened. You can have a lot of tea and even lunch, and even after that, you will realize that nothing has happened yet. It was a real painful movie which keeps the audience completely away from what happened on the big screen. There is no connection made with the people on the screen, and we really hope that all of the characters just go away.

Most of the movie is about how the characters look at each other, and it takes a very long time to make us feel that there is a very minute chance that something can actually happen here. It is not even realistic like some people claim to be. The hero just has an infatuation about the heroine and the whole movie keeps dragging and dragging due to the same. Nothing even gets close to having true love, and there is even some slow motion in this already slow movie. With the initial trailers and advertisments along with the half-time advertisements, this movie had stretched to three hours with material of only about half an hour.

It is to the insides of Earth that we have to return, for we are dust.

If we wait for the movie to finish, it can feel like our whole life time until death.

Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi (2013) 
Suggested better title:
On a Motor-bike: Riders into Nothing
Message: Always be confused about making decisions, and come with a quote “my life/fate is my decisions”, and feel free to run away from the duties to the family on a motor-bike because you can.

This movie has tried to make use of the random desire of people to travel and gives them an excuse to leave home. Wandering away from home has been the trend for the youth, and this movie has successfully inspired many youngsters to stray away from their duties and wander around. After this movie, random young people have wandered around away from home much to the dismay of the parents. There are not many movies which have brought a negative influence like this one. We read about Premam being a negative influence, but the truth is that this is the biggest of those terrible influences.

The hero of this movie is a person who gives trouble to his family by loving a random lady, and then he brings the problems to the lady by bringing her home, which also creates tension at home. He keeps breaking the trust of the lady or the family as she deviates between both, and then he keeps traveling on his motor-bike with his friend. With not enough of the journeys shown in this movie and no real connection being made with the places were he goes through, the protagonist’s lack of ability to make decisions take the centre stage instead of bringing us a road movie as promised.

There is a special option for travel; to row the boat to the middle of the river and jump.

They could have chosen this boat for the travel instead – saves at least the fuel.

1983 (2014) 
Suggested better title: 
Brainwashed: Into the Abuse
Message: If anybody says anything which is not that positive about your favourite star or even show lack of knowledge, abuse him or her – for no reason, feel free to hate people.

We have often wondered why this movie received such appreciation depsite being nothing special. All the time, we were staring at the screen and there was nothing there to make a positive impact. The whole movie is about how a person moves away from his duties and decides not to do anything for his family. The protagonist is someone who deserves an instant dislike, and so are most of his friends in the movie who move away from being of use to the society. The protagonist even tries to force his own son into something rather than making him decide on his own.

The movie also tells its audience to abuse anyone who says anything against their heroes, and it was also the main reason why the abuse against Maria Sharapova happened. It makes the point that if someone has a role model, anyone who says anything not that positive about that celebrity should be abused. There should be just hero worship, and in the absence of the same, there should abuse – it is the message that the movie hands over to the audience. There is nothing positive about this movie which can be taken home by the viewers, and this one is also very much an empty movie.

***The photos used in this blog post were taken by me.

TeNy

Gone in Three or Four Days

This post is exactly on what the title seems to talk about. There are these movies which were removed from the theatres too early. Except for London Bridge which had an extended run due to star power even if not too much, the rest had almost no stay at the local theatres. This is based on the theatres near my place, and if it had a better run at your area, you can take them off your own list. Some movies deserved better fate, and these might be a few of them. It doesn’t matter what we watched and what we liked, because movies don’t deserve to be removed in less than week. Well, those which might come close to be deserving to be removed, run for months and collect one hundred crores or more!

Ozhimuri (2012) :: An actor who has been frequently seen in supporting roles, Madhupal might be the most talented director of our times, as he has only directed two critically acclaimed movies, Thalappavu and this one – the former was amazingly good, and I wanted to watch this one for the same reason. But when I went to the theatre after the weekend, it was gone! Seriously nowhere to be found and gone in three days? A movie which had so much of critical acclaim and all these awards replaced by something like Raaz 3 without the 3D? We also missed Lal’s best performance due to the same.

ozhimuri

Arike (2012) :: When it is a movie directed by the veteran Shyamaprasad and having Dileep as the major actor, you expect this movie to stay, but unfortunately it didn’t. The movie was replaced too quickly, and it had to make people ask that question – if this can happen to movies with artists of such fame, what can happen to other good movies without such big names? Well, this is a question on which people can ponder about, but the answer is a long way from where the Malayalam movie industry or any movie world in India is standing right now.

Karmayogi (2012) :: This movie is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet – do we need more reasons to know why it needed to stay in the theatres? Gone in three days and giving us no opportunity to see another Shakespeare adaptation, the one thing which I have to say is that, if this is a Shakesperean adaptation, it needed to stay, at least for us literature students to watch. If it had stayed, we could have convinced the rest of the people in the department to watch it, but the trend is rather to remove the movie because of the name “Shakespeare” – it is rather shameful.

Makaramanju (2011) :: An year later, I would never even know if Akasathinte Niram (2012) ever came to the theatres. But Makaramanju which dealt with the life of the famous painter Raja Ravi Varma’s life had also gone without staying there for long enough. I am not sure if it actually released here at the same time as the release date, but Karthika Nair’s Malayalam debut didn’t go that well, even though I am still looking forward to watching this one and Akasathinte Niram one day.

London Bridge (2014) :: This one was somewhat saved and seemed to end up with average business in the end, only due to that level at which Prithviraj Sukumaran was staying at that time – with his movies Celluloid, Ayalum Njanum Thammil, Mumbai Police and Memories – there was that belief that the new and stronger Prithviraj can’t go wrong. I loved the movie, but it seems that the general audience didn’t do that much. But it deserved to be watched, and could have done even better at the box-office. My review on the same is here: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/london-bridge/

londonbrdg

Reason for coming up with this post: Lukka Chuppi (2015) :: The reason for writing this post itself is the Jayasurya-Murali Gopy starrer Lukka Chuppi which disappeared from the theatre when I went to watch it. I had decided not to watch it on the first day first show and went for Nirnaayakam instead because the themes seemed to be related to drinking and lost love. But it turned out to be a missed opportunity for me – may be we need to watch and support these lesser known movies earlier. Also add Appavum Veenjum to the list.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of Ozhimuri and London Bridge.

TeNy

You are Right Here

Shymaprasad’s Prithviraj Sukumaran-Nivin Pauly starrer Ivide releases today, and with shows at the malls as early as 9:15 in the morning, the talks might already be out in a few minutes, and the opinions will be all around the internet with praises or disappointment. This is actually a movie for which the fans have waited for long, and the trailer has managed to catch the attention too. Ivide has been the talk of the world around, and there is nobody I know who doesn’t want to watch it.

The first reason you need to watch this one is because this is the first commerical movie from the skilled director Shyamaprasad who is trying to go another path this time. He has been the maker or fine movies for so long, and they were rather the classics which got a lot of critical appreciation and many awards. Akale which was well-adapted from The Glass Menagerie remains his best work, but you have to see this movie which is going to show the crowd-pleasing side from him.

ividee (1)

Then there is Nivin Pauly and Prithviraj Sukumaran sharing the screen for the very first time. The former has made big impact in a very short time and is a crowd favourite while the second has established himself over a long time claiming the throne of the grand young superstar of Malayalam movie, and these two are the future of the industry without any doubt – it will be a pleasure to see these two together, and the theatres are going to be flooded due to the same reason.

Nivin Pauly plays a different character here unlike what he has been playing, and this one seems to have some dark shades (Da Thadiya‘s villain was just a fraud); his ability to play the someone of the other side is going to be displayed here while Prithviraj Sukumaran plays the role of an investigative officer again, and this is a role which has always suited him; he has been the new classic cop after Suresh Gopi in the Malayalam movie industry and this is surely going to take his skills in such roles to another level.

ividee (2)

We haven’t seen Bhavana for some time now, with her last Malayalam movie being a lesser watched Angry Babies in Love, while Koothara only had her in a smaller and less noticed role. It is a pleasure to have her back in Malayalam, as she has been a favourite for so long. Shyamaprasad has got the cast right for all three of the main stars because this is a powerful combination as Nivin and Bhavana comes together for the first time too as something that many people wished to see together for a long time.

The thriller efficiency has been high in the Malayalam movie industry for the last few months, with Memories, Drishyam, Angels, Mumbai Police, Saaradhi and many others managing to keep the level from coming down – the first two have been legendary as Jeethu Jospeph made them score big time. This one though, is going to go bigger from the crime thriller with its possible drama elements, and we will have the lives of three major characters full on the screen with a possible love triangle of past and present.

ividee (3)

With the Gopi Sunder effect on music, we are going to have a serial killer in this movie too; we have mostly loved them at least for the last few years, haven’t we? There is going to be another psycho murderer who might be able to take this to another level. Shot completely in Atlanta, this movie is going to take the thrills not only to the Malayalam audience, but also to the Tamil viewers as it has released today, and is running in the theatres right now. All the best to the movie, as the opinions are just on the way!

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

TeNy

Mili Lost on NH10

It has been months since I watched and reviewed the movie Mili (https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/mili) and also wrote a number of related posts which talked about flick and a few things which are directly or indirectly linked to a movie. Even after these many months have passed, there is a question which keeps lingering through my mind, and it is about why people are unable to comprehend the good intentions of the movie and how well it has managed to stay out of the masala elements and make a fine movie close to life.

Yes, some people just can’t relate to the character. But that doesn’t make Mili a mean character, but a girl suffering due to circumstances. Just because they are not introverts, these certain movie watchers think that people who are not extroverts don’t exist or don’t have the right to live inside their smaller worlds. These people have a certain problem with “the other” which they will keep exhibiting because they feel that they will have the support of people of their kind because they are used to hate.

The story of Mili should begin and end with everyone having a personality.

Well, in that case, I choose not to relate with these people who have no empathy at all. I am surprised or rather shocked that people are still choosing the masala entertainers with the heroes who are so negative in their treatment of law and order/women/truth, and they refuses to accept movies with positive messages having a protagonist who is true to life and trying to find her feet in a world of chaos. Well, there are too many bullies out there who wishes to keep the people with problems away from their lives, and it is their easy solution.

This is the world of fans, and they are of that kind who supports the movies of either those heroes who are past their prime or those newer heroes who are there just because their parents have some influence in the movie industry; sometimes the fans also pass on to the next generation. May be if we stop watching the movies of these so called superstars who are forced on us by birth, such fans will also cease to exist. There is no choice of superstars here, because some are born and labelled so and are brought to the audience with the title. What is more surprising is that the fans even talk about “killing the movie” – honour killing for their superstars? That NH10 model? Well, the talks from some people seems to indicate that it is also possible in the future.

Mili will always be Mili. If you don't like it, please go to the Ninth Circle of Hell.

We should get out of this family business in movies, and only then the fan menace can be dealt with, and then the situation will get better in the theatres too. The lack of acceptance of a movie just because the so called superstar hasn’t acted in a movie and adding dumb excuses for the same, is rather shameful. I have heard similar comments while watching NH10 – why is people hoping for the end of a good character when the heroine has done so well in the role? Is it a new generation trend? Some people have the attitude of those villains of NH10 when facing a good movie with a message – they just can’t take it.

Why do people think that only the speeches done by their role-model are worth the applause? Why is it that goodness on the screen go over the head of some new generation people and a few old generation pretenders? Why is it that these fans make so much noise in the local theatre for the movies which don’t have their favourite stars and one can do nothing but watch the same only in the multiplexes? Is empathy and sense clearly lost? The situation of NH10 exists in the minds of people – I will say the same about the incidents which are depicted in the Anushka Sharma starrer.

Yes, there can be no method of teaching empathy and sense to these people, as it had to be taught at home. Some people have surely spared the rod and spoiled their children. But there seems to be no hope for the movie watcher who wish to get into the shoes of the character and see things from his or her angle, as well as wander through that world which exists within hte screen. There is just terror in the theatres, with ridiculous judgments clearly lacking in sense, empathy and an actual desire to watch the movie. They are people of NH10.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie Mili. When I say NH10, please read it as “the movie with the same name”. *Also a reminder to those who are fighting over IPL – it is not real, and neither is the title of “the best team of all-time”. The worst fans title should be shared with the new generation cricket fans.

TeNy

A Man of our Times

There have been so many movies in Malayalam with the feel-good factor provided throughout them intending to target the family audience. But among them, one flick stands apart due to being not only a feel-good movie, but also a satirical comedy which ends up being more thought-provoking than most of the other movies which have been brought to the audience of Kerala. I know that this might not that have been one of those Malayalam movies which did manage to have a place outside Kerala like AmenDrishyam, Memories and a number of others, and so lets speak something about this movie which I can watch so many times.

As one of the movies which I watched on the first day itself standing in the queue for about one and half hours, Ranjith’s Pranchiyettan and the Saint was a movie which was worth every single moment of the wait. The Malayalam movie industry wasn’t going through good times then, and a number of mindless superstar movies were threatening to take over. But then, there was this movie all prepared to stand strong between all the superstar nonsense which were making its way to the audience, along with another good movie Elsamma Enna Aankutty.

pranchi (1)

Some of those blind superstar fans didn’t like this movie, but this was far above their intellect. There is no stunt or overreaching romance here, as this movie tells the story of a man who is just like anybody else and also thinks like a regular person. He is a simple rich man who is troubled with one thought only; that is – what others think about him and how he can be a better person in the eyes of the others, as even with so much money that he has earned through business, he remains with very less education and even after getting so old, remains unmarried.

He has had a certain number of failures, with the school as well as his first love, and he also has that title of being a rice merchant even as he is in gold business now. What he is in urgent need of, is to have a popular face in the society. He demands that people see him as more than just an uneducated man who took over the rice business of his father and grandfather. He is ready to do anything for the same, and has got a number of advisors who keep helping him in achieving his aim of being the big name in the town, hoping that they would also be rewarded for the same.

pranchi (2)

For the same, he attempts to run for the post of president of a club and losses, as he completely losses his focus due to a silly talk from his rival who is married to his former romantic interest. He tries sponsoring the felicitation for an Oscar award-winner, but that also fails. Then he tries to be honoured with a Padmashree, but a corrupt politician who gives him the offer for the recognition cheats him and steals his money. He is also unable to express his love towards the girl whom he admires, and believes that he is too old and has lost too much.

As our protagonist has a conversation about all this and his latest attempt to adopt a boy to Saint Francis of Assisi at the local church (fictional conversations come quite naturally to him), the saint shows the man three visuals which makes him realize that what one thinks is a loss might not be a bad thing, and that good things come to those who wait. He acknowledges that we see as success might not always be that, and a certain amount of failure doesn’t decide future lives. Whatever impression we make in the eyes of the society doesn’t define us as an individual.

Pranchiyettan and the Saint is a movie to watch for each and everyone who think that being rich and famous is everything, and also to those who are depressed that they have been a failure throughout their lives. The movie is highly inspirational and with creating the fictional conversation between the protagonist and Saint Francis of Assisi, there is the divinity and a certain amount of innovation which works in favour of the movie, and nicely brings the climax to the next level. The movie is also a lot fun! Everybody needs to watch this one! [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pranchiyettan_%26_the_Saint]

***The images used in this blog post are taken from http://www.impawards.com/

TeNy