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 Needs to be Remade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TeNy