Grand Palace of Movies

Varikkasseri Mana is one of the oldest traditional Brahmin houses of Kerala, located at Manissery, a small village in Ottapalam, within the district of Palakkad. It is the place where two of the most loved movies Devasuram and Aaraam Thampuran were shot, along with Rappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Rudra Simhasanam, Valliettan, Madambi, Manthrikan and the most recent one which specifies the name of the place itself, Pretham 2. As far as Malayalam movies are concerned, the place is something special, and no movie lover from Kerala is to fail to identify it. There are other common locations too, but this one stands taller. There is more than one path to take while traveling here from Cochin, and it will be a tiring journey if the trip is during March, April or May. It is better to have some milk shake or juice in between. Without the movie setting, the place might seem to be lacking something, but for the small entry fee of Rs. 20, it is worth the journey.

*The photos on this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max.

For they are Fantastico!

Here is another list on the Fantastico entertainer movies from the last century which had to be shared. The titles are not arranged in any particular order.

Vadakkunokkiyantram (1989), Aanaval Mothiram (1991), Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala (1998)
Director: Sreenivasan (1, 3), G. S. Vijayan (2)
Cast: Sreenivasan, Innocent (1, 3), Mamukkoya (1, 3), Nedumudi Venu (1, 3)
Sreenivasan plays three of the most memorable characters in these movies, Thalathil Dineshan who is always doubtful about his wife, James Pallithara who wrongly thinks that he has a fatal disease and the confused Vijayan who is an irresponsible husband. He plays these three roles to perfection, and I will always remember these three lead roles from him. Aanaval Mothiram was remade in Hindi as Gambler and in Tamil as Ragalaipuram. Sangita’s role in Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala is the one role for which she is most remembered. Vadakkunokkiyantram is considered as a comedy classic. Watching these three movies on a day will be perfect!

Devasuram (1993)
Director: I. V. Sasi
Cast: Mohanlal, Revathi, Innocent, Napolean
There are many movies taken in this particular style including its own sequel called Ravanaprabhu, but nothing matches Devasuram. Inspired by a real-life person, the movie has Mohanlal playing the protagonist with negative shades. All the other movies which followed this kind of pattern including the very successful Aaraam Thampuran and Narasimham are not match to this one. The character is “Mangalassery Neelakantan” is forever, no matter who all new protagonists come up with a similar situation – the legacy is something which cannot be inherited no matter how many similar movies are made or how many sequels are made in this model.

Chamayam (1993)
Director: Bharathan
Cast: Manoj K. Jayan, Sithara, Murali, Ranjitha
Telling the story of a fisherman who is also a stage actor during their free-time, the movie gets to the next level as he decides to take another man as the new hero, but there is the need to teach him how to perform – but he realizes that there is a lot of potential in the newly found actor. With some amazing performances from Manoj K. Jayan and Murali on and off the stage, and supported by some beautiful songs which are among the best, Chamayam works incredibly well. This is also the one role for which Sithara is remembered in the Malayalam movie industry more than any other. The movie works on two levels, the life of people and the life as part of drama on the stage.

Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1998) and Jagratha (1989)
Director: K. Madhu
Cast: Mammootty, Jagathy Sreekumar, Mukesh, Sukumaran
These are the first two movies in the series of CBI investigative thrillers having Mammootty as the intelligent CBI officer Sethurama Iyer. Even though two other movies released in this century in the form of Sethurama Iyer CBI and Nerariyan CBI, these two are undoubtedly of higher quality, and undoubtedly the best among them all. There are not many entertainers which could manage to entertain without songs, and these two happened to be different in that case too. I have enjoyed these movies a lot, and I hope for more intelligent works to come up in the series, and I wish for it to go through the path of the first two movies rather than those which followed.

Kireedam (1989) and Chenkol (1993)
Director: Sibi Malayil
Cast: Mohanlal, Thilakan, Mohan Raj, Cochin Haneefa
Kireedam was a movie which was different, because it was rather realistic with its major life-changing incident. Most of the times, a person who would be in the shoes of the protagonist Sethumadhavan will go through a different kind of exaggerated action-filled life, but not in this case. It was remade in Hindi as Gardish, in Kannada as Modada Mareyalli and with the same name in Tamil. I was surprised to read that the ending of the movie was changed from that realistic tragedy to a happier one in the Tamil version. The ending of the two movies, Kireedam and Chenkol were among the best things about the movie, which is why you will need to watch the original as well as its sequel.

Kottayam Kunjachan (1990)
Director: T. S. Suresh Babu
Cast: Mammootty, Ranjini, Innocent, Babu Antony
Mammootty who plays Kottayam Kunjachan completely steals this one. He has performed in this kind of roles and with this particular slang in other movies, but nothing like his work in this comedy movie. There are lots of funny moments in this movie, and the most memorable ones are the pennu kaanal scene and the driving school inauguration scene. The movie also develops interesting sub-plots as it progresses. This can be considered as one of the best comedy flicks of Mammootty all-time. There is also a nice list of supporting cast here including Innocent and Sukumaran, plus the main villain who is Babu Antony. This makes one funny and memorable character here.

Moonnam Mura (1988) and Douthyam (1989)
Director: K. Madhu (1) and P. Anil (2)
Cast: Mohan Lal, Suresh Gopi, Babu Antony, Vijayaraghavan.
Douthyam was one of those movies which became a lot like our own Rambo around here. Mohanlal plays Captain Roy Jacob Thomas who has to return to the most dangerous of action to save his own colleagues who were captured terrorists deep inside a forest. Moonnam Mura has Mohanlal again as Ali Imran, a former police officer who has to return to action to save a group of people kept captive by terrorists. I have had a similar effect with both of these movies, and it is not only Mohanlal who is there in both of these engaging thrillers, as Suresh Gopi, Babu Antony and Vijayaraghavan are also the common factors. The 1988 movie even had a Telugu remake by the name Magaadu.

***And you know that there are more!

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

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