Sunday, February 27, 2011

Khaddama review: "Hard hitting & realistic!!!"

Since many years, Gulf has been the preferred work destination for the Malayalis. Though that trend is slowly changing, there is still a huge population making their livelihood there. It goes without saying that the general impression of the public regarding those working there is that they are minting money & enjoying a posh lifestyle. In recent times, there has been various articles regarding the hardships that such people face there. Interestingly, Kamal known for his movies focusing on youth; has this time around taken up a subject dealing with this very issue titled "Khaddama" which means housemaid in Arabic. Giving life to such a character is none other than Kavya Madhavan, who herself was in Gulf before a failed relationship brought her back to celluloid again.


The film unfolds with Ashwathy (Kavya) sitting in the lounge of Riyadh airport. Within the first few minutes  the audience is introduced to the fact that she had come with hopes of supporting her family behest with  financial problems by working as a Khaddama. As the story goes forward, she is found to undergo various tortures which eventually makes her contemplate to escape from that misery. But will she escape from that Arabian household & if so, who will help her in this desert nation to get back to her folks??? 

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As evidenced previously,this is a true account of events & Kamal has succeeded in bringing out the rawness of the situation onto the screen. There is a no doubt that a good script as this requires an equally competent actress & Kavya has more than fitted the bill. She has definitely one of the most expressive eyes & a sense of vulnerability which was absolutely essential for the role. It was more or less along the lines of "Perumazhakalam" which incidentally was also a movie by Kamal, for which she had won a State Award. Srinivasan as Razek, a social activist was spot on with his performance along with an equally impressive act by Murali as Basheer who was seen earlier in "Bharamaram" & debutant Shine Tom as the shepherd. Suraj as Usman provides the few light moments & executed his role impressively.

The essence of this true story has been derived from an article by Saudi based journalist K.U Iqbal. Kamal adapted this onto the silver screen with the help of  K.Gireesh Kumar who has already proved his worth courtesy "Veruthe Oru Bharya" & "Kana Kannmani".The background score was in sync with the mood & kudos to Jayachandran for that while the music by Bennet Veetrag was impressive especially "Vidhuramee" rendered by Shreya Ghoshal & Hariharan. Another aspect which captured my fancy were the desert visuals by Manoj Pillai.

Verdict: The movie is definitely going to make headlines in all the Award festivals & rightly so, as Kamal has delivered a hard hitting realistic film. Kavya's performance is praise worthy, though I don't deem it outstanding.Anywaz as far as my opinion goes, its an impressive effort & worth a watch. But if your intention is to have some relaxation,then this isnt your choice!!!

Regards...Ben

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saat Khoon Maaf review: "Unlucky in love & likely to be so in box-office also!!!"

Finally the World Cup is upon us & India has got off to a encouraging start courtesy of a convincing win over the Bangladeshis. As Sehwag has rightly said, this was our revenge for having bundled us out in the first round in the previous World Cup. Incidentally this week, witnessed the release of the eagerly awaited Vishal Bharadwaj's Priyanka Chopra starrer "Saat Khoon Maaf".Coincidentally the basic plot of the movie is how Priyanka extracts revenge on her numerous husbands for various reasons.So will this interesting tale of love & revenge find its feet in this World Cup season??? Hmm..seems like an interesting contest.


The movie begins with Arun (Vivaan Shah) narrating the story of Susanna (Priyanka Chopra) to his wife (Konkana Sen). It turns out that Susanna had committed suicide & it was upon Arun being a forensic surgeon to certify her identity as she was charred beyond recognition. Arun owed his career to Susanna as she had funded for his education & he also harboured a secret crush on her. Pretty soon, we are introduced to the fact that Susanna has been unlucky in love as she ends up marrying seven husbands with each one succumbing to mysterious deaths. Incidentally all her husbands had some serious flaws be it Major Rodrigues (Neil Nitin),an over possessive,jealous husband, Pop Singer Jimmy (John Abraham),a drug addict & noted poet Wasiullah Khan (Irfan Khan), a sado masochist. Husband no.4, Nicolai Vronsky (Aleksandr Dyachenko) from Russia was a two timer, Inspector Keemat Lal (Annu Kapoor), a sex maniac & finally Dr. Modhusudhon Tarafdar (Naseerudheen Shah) who wanted to kill her to pay off his debts. Finally she marries a seventh time to a person who knows all about her past. So who was the seventh husband ??? Did she have a hand in the mysterious deaths of all her husbands??? If yes, how did she pull it off without ever being caught??? All these & more, forms the framework of the movie.

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Vishal Bharadwaj is one of the most talented director of the country with his expertise ranging from his primary love,composing to calling the shots. He has a unique style of story telling which has been highlighted is his previous ventures be it "Kaminey","Ishqiya" etc. This time around he has adapted noted writer Ruskin Bond's "Susanne's Seven Husbands" & tackled a pretty unique subject. He has also taken care of the composing part & the Indianised version of Russian song " Kalinka", which begins as "Darling" is already a chart buster.  The segment of most of the husbands are engrossing though the one involving Naseerudheen Shah & the Russian could have been tackled much better.Another flaw is the length of the movie, a much crisper version would have imparted a greater effect. 

Among the husbands, Annu Kapoor was awesome with Irrfan Khan & Neil Nitin coming up with commendable performances. The other husbands havent done their reputation any harm as they have been apt in their roles. A special word of mention to debutant Vivaan Shah who seems totally at ease facing the camera. But the film undoubtedly belongs to Priyanka Chopra who has imparted a scintillating performance thanks to the meaty role which gave her more than ample scope to showcase her acting prowess.

Verdict: The movie will scorch all the awards but unlikely to set the box office ablaze. It's definitely not going to make revenue out of single screens owing to its offbeat subject & slow tempo. In short, its definitely a decent movie with some great sequences &  though it might not be palatable to many, I feel that you guys should give this a try!!!

Regards...Ben



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Patiala House review: "Return to Namastey London days!!!"

Akki is one of those stars who used to command a grand initial..however since "Chandni Chowk to China" to the very recent "Tees Maar Khan", things has been going horribly wrong for him. Well the main reason for such a slump in his box office form is undoubtedly his choice of movies which thrives on slap stick comedy. His latest release "Patiala House" promises to break him free of that mold & he would be hoping for some divine help as his movies nowadays hardly creates a whimper even on the initial days. So will this be a comeback of Akki & will some of the box office luck of Anushka Sharma rub off on him???


The film unfolds with Gattu (Akki) bowling his heart out in the nets after having closed his stationary shop for the day. With time, we are introduced to the fact that Gattu was once a promising fast bowler who almost made it to the England squad only to have his dreams torn down by his father. It happened in those days when racism was at an all time high in Southall, London & one of such events eventually led to the death of Bauji's dear ones. This incident changed Bauji so much, that he was adamant his family wont have anything to do with the English, which in turn meant Gattu had to forget playing for England & settle for the shop set up by Bauji. This rule applied to all the members of his family & they all hold Gattu responsible for their predicament as he never raised his voice in retaliation. Seventeen years has passed & the England squad is in a crisis owing to the lack of a menacing fast bowler. As expected, oppurtunity comes knocking on the door of Gattu...but the question is will he able to convince himself to go against his father??? 

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It was a refreshing change to see Akki try something different rather than the usual stupid slap stick stuff. Gattu's character involved portraying a great deal of restrainment while wearing a cheerful smile & Akshay has pulled it off convincingly. Anushka as the bubbly,effervescent Simran was spot on with her characterization & plays an integral role. Rishi Kapoor as Bauji may not have the threatening look of Amrish Puri but he had carried off the role in his own unique style & deserves a word of praise. As for other numerous characters, they were more or else for filling the numbers rather than doing anything significant.

Coming to the script & other technical aspects, Nikhil Advani is responsible for the screenplay & seems to have redeemed himself to a certain extent with this venture. After having won accolades for "Kal Ho Na Ho", he had a hit a trough with "Salaam E Ishq" & "Chandi Chowk to China", this time around he has come with something different but the script is like old wine in new bottle. There are a couple of touching moments in the movie along with some gaping loop holes. The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is average & doesnt have much to write about while the cinematography by Santhosh Thundiyil was worth mentioning.

Verdict: As opposed to his recent releases, "Patiala House" is definitely one of his best since "Namastey London". The biggest drawback of the movie is that its too melodramatic with a premise which is not at all new for the audience. The cricket sequences has been shot aesthetically but it doesnt impart any sort of thrill since the climax is very predictable. In short, watch it if melodrama is your cup of tea or else forget it!!!

Regards...Ben

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Makeup man review : "Shafi fails to recreate Kunjaadu magic!!!"

With the World Cup just round the corner,this fortnight should witness the release of a couple of movies so as to cash in  before the mega event kicks off. So this week, witnessed the release of the much delayed Jayaram starrer "Makeup Man",which incidentally turned out to be his 2nd release this year. Being directed by Shafi who is presently basking in the glory of the superhit "Marykkundoru Kunjaadu" & penned by Sachi-Sethu duo, the film promises to be an entertainer & provide a much needed boost to Jayaram. Will it actually deliver at the box office remains to be seen.


Balu (Jayaram) is a MBA graduate who is presently in debt owing to the failure of his event management programme. Being on the run to escape from the grasp of people to whom he owes money,his problems gets compounded when his lover Soorya (Sheela) leaves her home on the eve of her wedding to be with him. Having no other option, he seeks the help of his friend Kichu (Suraj),who is a production controller for a movie directed by ace director Siddharth (Siddique). A couple of interesting events issues & it eventually leads to Soorya attaining the heroine's role with Balu taking up the job of her makeup man.Things however doesnt pan out as smoothly as they had expected with various issues taking a toll on their relationship. So what were these problems & will they be able to overcome it???

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Sachi-Sethu has definitely tackled an interesting topic but the biggest bane of the movie is that its just too dragging especially in the second half. There is no denying the fact that it had the scope to be a good entertainer but the director fails to take stock of it,especially since the script is very predictable. The music by Vidyasagar is another huge letdown. However the colourfulness that we associate with Shafi's movies is still very much there thanks to the cinematography by Alagappan.

Coming to performances, Jayaram has delivered sincerely in a role that suits him well; however there is nothing to rave about as we have seen him in this avatar time & again. Sheela has done a decent job & though her pairing Jayaram didnt exactly create sparks, it looked fine. Suraj as usual delivers his wares which at times fails to evoke any response from the audience while Siddique does manage to grab eyeballs in a role that I felt he was wasted. Prithviraj & Chackochan in guest appearances playing as themselves didnt have much of a role to impart anything significant.

Verdict: With not much of a competition brewing in the box office & no big releases in the near future, this movie should be able to recover its costs with the possibility of even being a silent hit. As far as my opinion goes, when compared to recent Jayaram movies,this is much better.In short, since there isnt much of an option in variety of films currently running, watch this for some time pass or else forget it!!!

Regards...Ben

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Yeh Saali Zindagi review: "Make sure you take your brains to watch this entertainer!!!"

The last few years witnessed the release of many off beat movies which incidentally did well at the box office. The USP of such movies are undoubtedly the mileage that it gains by word of mouth as was in the case of  "Phas Gaya Re Obama", "Tere Bin Laden" etc. To add to this genre comes "Yeh Saali Zindagi", directed by the adroit, Sudhir Mishra recipient of many National Awards & maker of "Chameli", Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" etc to name a few. So lets check out whether his latest offering also lives upto this billing.


The interesting thing about this movie is that though there are so many plots & sub-plots going on,all of them finally converge logically rather than appearing as unwanted appendages. Arun (Irfaan Khan) is a banker sort of guy involved in real estate,money laundering etc working for Mehta (Saurabh Shukla). Its in the process of one of the business transactions that he meets Priti (Chitrangda Singh) & falls for her. However it turns out she is in a relationship with Shyam, a future son in law of the Home Minister. In the meantime, Kuldeep (Arunoday Singh) is a gangster who had just been released from jail & is on his way to redemption before he forced to take up one last mission. At this juncture, Priti gets kidnapped by mistake along with Shyam & in order to save her Arun gets involved. So will Arun  risk everything to save her inspite of knowing she loves someone else & will Kuldeep ever come out of the murky world???

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If Irfaan Khan is involved in any movie, we can rest assured that he will definitely do his job whether the movie does well or not. The trend hasnt changed here as well, as he has delivered a top notch performance. Chitrangda Singh has given a decent performance along with Arunoday Singh who has been gracing the sidelines in "Aisha" & "Mirch".In movies where sub plots play a crucial role, the supporting crew are supposed to put their weight on to impart the necessary impact & this scenario has been taken care of really well by the trusted arms of Saurabh Shukla, Sushant, Yashpal Sharma & Prashant Narayanan

It goes without saying that Sudhir Mishra's script has been successful in capturing the attention of the audience. Though the movie does take a while before actually getting into the groove, but it still doesnt take a toll on us. One of the highlights of the movie are the dialogues penned by Mishra & Manu Rishi which has been spot on with the colloquial slangs garnished with liberal expletives. Finally the music by Nishat Khan merges well with the mood of the movie especially the title track.

Verdict: The lack of big stars will cause it to be a slow starter but it definitely has the potential to do well. As far as my opinion goes, though it might appear dragging  initially, later on the tempo builds up once we get into the groove of the movie. So in short, do watch it !!!

Regards...Ben

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kudumbasree Travels review: "Roller coaster in terms of script & quality!!!"

This week witnessed the entry of Mythri Visuals into the cinema arena, who are one of the collosial names in the silver screen. They are famous for being makers of the hit serial "Daya", which swept all the State awards including Best Serial & Best Director. Their premiere venture "Kudumbasree Travels", is helmed by another debutant,Kiran who has already proved his credentials with the hit comedy serial "Ettu Sundarikalum Njaanum". Hmm..so will these veterans of the idiot box strike gold in 70mm also???


Chithirapuram, a village where even mobile connection has just started to find its feet forms the premise of the protagonist Aravindan (Jayaram). He is a well known Chakyarkoothu artiste who has been looking for marriage proposals with the condition that his better half should be a Nangiyarkoothu artiste. With time, such a proposal comes up in the form of Ashwathy (Bhavana); much to the displeasure of Chachu (Jagathy), Aravindan's uncle who has been hoping that his nephew will tie the knot with his daughter. Finally the marriage date is finalised & everyone who are near and dear to Aravindan (which even includes a goat as well) leave for the bride's place Kochi on Kudumbasree Travels. Things however doesnt pan out as smoothly as expected with obstacles putting its head up at every nook & corner. These impending twists & turns forms the framework of the movie.

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With such a weak script, the only thing that could salvage it to atleast deem it watchable are the performances of the cast. Jayaram does manage to instill laughs but it goes without saying that he has been wasted owing to a poor script. Bhavana just had to look gorgeous, which she was; as she hardly had any dialogues. The pick for me from among the huge star cast was undoubtedly Maniyanpillai Raju essaying the role of an astrologer. It was an absolute mystery as to why there were so many characters with hardly anything to do; I guess that answer could be given only by the director.

Before concluding, its imperative that I mention that this movie had definitely one of the worst music compositions I have listened to in recent times.The lyrics of the opening track was appalling with an equally abysmal tune. Did Vayalar Sharathchandra Verma & Bijibal do this crime in their sleep or was this a show of vengeance???? God knows!!!!

Verdict: The movie does manage to tickle the funny bone at times, with a Priyan style helter skelter rush in the latter half. Its unlikely to trouble the cash counters much, with the possibility of even breaking par being too optimistic. In short, its watchable provided you dont have much expectations & have time to spare!!!

Regards...Ben