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

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Thrillers Make it Home

This is a day on which nothing interesting happens. Still, today is the day meant for making some unknown thriller movies popular, or at least a little better known. This is not about Inception, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Shutter Island, Hannibal, Red Dragon or the rest of those popular ones, as they are better known that even those superhero movies. I have added more than one kind of thriller, and with these movies, horror and philosophy mostly joins with the thriller genre to create the impact provided. I would start with the movie which has its situation in the title itself.

Unknown (2011): Liam Neeson rules the show in this psychological thriller which has us on the edge of our seats. As a thriller, its ability can’t be questioned as the suspense is well-built and maintained to reach an end where everything comes together and there is nothing lost in the process. It tells the story of a man who travels to another nation, but after an accident, can’t seem to be back with family again as his wife refuses to accept him as her husband – another person has taken his place there. In this adventure to find one’s place, Diane Kruger plays the supporting character, and she also does very well.

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Shuttle (2008): Knowing when to improve the pace and how to go on to make its point, Shutter is an interesting thriller with a message. Peyton List and Cameron Goodman nicely plays the ladies who are lost in rather unknown territory as the driver of their cab turns out to be not just a driver. There are many thrilling moments and twists keep happening to help the story unfold as the movie go through into the final revelation. There is some blood and gore, but never reaches a high level. This is not to be confused with the horror movie Shutter, which released in the same year.

Clinic (2010): Based on the real incidents which features the abduction of newborn babies, the movie has six pregnant ladies who wake up in the middle of nowhere with their children removed. The suspense about this unknown world is maintained very well in this movie. Tabrett Bethell does a wonderful job here, unlike what she was supposed to do in one of the most ridiculous Bollywood movies ever, the doom of logic which is called Dhoom 3. There is also a final shocking twist in store. All the actresses in this movie has done a good job, and there are not many male characters in this one who gets much screen-time.

The Grey (2011): Liam Neeson plays the newfound leader of a group who are stalked by wolves waiting for an opportunity in the cold. Based on the short story called Ghost Walker by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers, this one is more like a survival thriller or adventure thriller. It even has a powerful philosophical side running through. For the abusers who hate humans and go racists in the name of dogs, they should be happy because there are no dogs hurt in this movie, but only the wolves. I had to clarify this for them because they see anything and will start hating humans for no real reason. Well, some hate for the fellow humans averted is that much of goodness restored for humanity. Full review here.

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The Cell (2000): I have watched half of the movies directed by Tarsem Singh and this is his best as I know. This comes with a very interesting concept which brings things together. It sends us into the dark world inside the mind of a serial killer, as a virtual reality device allows one to enter there and collect information. Also note that Jennifer Lopez is the heroine here. There is a lot of artistic beauty in this dark psychological thriller. This one brought variety and life to the genre long before there were more twists added. Well, one has to imagine how worse it would be in the minds of the new age racists who have come up with an idea to hate humans in the fake pretence of loving dogs, as the focus is on skin colour.

After.Life (2009): This one might not be suitable for all kinds of viewers, as the pace is slower, and it is more interested about giving the viewers more philosophical thoughts about human existence, and what it means to live or die in a world which doesn’t really care. Who is alive and who is not, is a question that goes beyond reality. Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci are the two people who are present throughout this movie, and in the creepy atmosphere of a morgue. Liam Neeson had his usual strengths with simplicity, and Christina Ricci was stunningly good as a person disconnected from life so much that her being alive never ceases to be a mirage. It makes you ask questions.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies.

TeNy

And then the TV Series

I have developed a love for TV series only recently. The case of Game of Thrones has been of eternal recommendation. Everybody loves that one, and Sherlock has its long list of admirers, and after this writing is complete, I hope to create more for Hannibal too. The next to watch on my list are VikingsSpartacus and Breaking Bad. I made the choice to skip True Blood and The Vampire Diaries as a Twilight reminder came up and that was shocking.

SHERLOCK [Seasons: 3. Watched: 3]
Rating: 8.9/10 @TV.com

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For a long time, I had believed that Robert Downey Jr. is the only one who could be Sherlock Holmes, and I have even considered the man the one true Holmes and less identified him with being Iron Man. Benedict Cumberbatch is not the only person who changed my views on the true Sherlock, because there was Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler. Jude Law was very good, but Martin was so perfect in the role. Rachel McAdams was the cutest Irene with that hair style, but Lara Pulver became more of that character. Now I have two favourite people each for all three of these characters.

I might still prefer to watch Holmes with that older setting because it is the one true investigator from my childhood, but with this cast, Sherlock TV series is always a joy to watch. It was only the third season which was a let down for me, and the credit for the same goes the very last episode, as “His Last Vow” left me less interested. The secret of identity of Watson’s wife and the villain with Appledore Mind Palace felt ridiculous; it was only the possible return of Jim Moriarty that gave me the desire to wait for the next season. Season Two was my big favourite and Season One also felt awesome.

GAME OF THRONES [Seasons: 5. Watched: 5]
Rating: 9/10 @TV.com

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I came quite late to the Game of Thrones fan club which meant that I had to watch four seasons in a week and also got to watch the fifth episode soon enough. The result is that now I am left waiting with so much desire to know what happens next; the fifth season’s end had me desiring to know what is next, more than ever. There is no other program which has kept me with such desire to know what happens next, and never in my life has so many of my favourite characters been dead. Well, the Vampire Team has hoped that some of these dead people join the group (only those with heads on the necks).

As I expect for a lot of more people to die, I keep my trust on Tyrion Lannister. I was sure that the character played by Sean Bean had ninety nine percent chance of dying, but I should have kept it at a higher level. I have loved how the characters change and twists happen throughout the movie, and how those unexpected things come out of nowhere. I have special love for the undead, and I will also support a few minor characters whose names shall revealed after their deaths. Until now, I am sure not to love only one character, Sansa Stark, and everybody knows it. In the end, Game of Thrones is just the truth about humanity.

HANNIBAL [Seasons: 3. Watched: 2]
Rating: 9/10 @TV.com

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Based on the characters in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Hannibal arrives to take the gore and psychological horror to another level – rather too violent for the normal viewer; a lot more than Game of Thrones, and much more disturbing. Most of us might know Hannibal Lecter as Anthony Hopkins who received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal in Silence of the Lambs. Here Mads Mikkelsen comes up with another brilliant performance as the psychiatrist and serial killer who plays mind games with the FBI. Hugh Dancy plays Will Graham, the FBI special agent who discusses his problems as well as the cases with the devil himself as he descends into an abyss of terrifying minds. The murderers are many, and cops are less here! And there are amazing quotes flying everywhere.

I have watched only two seasons of the series, and found them too interesting to stop. Caroline Dhavernas is another complicated addition, as her intelligent character remains clueless for most of the time in the two episodes. Laurence Fishburne of The Matrix, Othello and Event Horizon makes a powerful impact here. Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds is fun, and Kacey Rohl as Abigail Hobbs is one cute addition in a world of chaos. You also get to see the Scream Queen and the Grand Lady of Horror Movies, Katharine Isabelle who plays another character with her own special weirdness. Almost everyone is strange and a possible serial killer, and that makes this series really special 😀

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of these three television series.

TeNy