Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Train review: "Mammootty's woes continues!!!"

As we almost reach the half way stage of 2011, it could be safely said  that this year has been pretty good for the Malayalam film industry. Within this span, there has been a host of movies with varying subjects making the box office bells ring to its tune. However, things hasn't been looking so bright for Mammootty who had enjoyed unparalleled success both critically & commercially the last couple of years. With two of his movies already drawing blanks, he is looking forward to break the jinx with Jayaraj, whose previous venture "Loudspeaker" was incidentally with Mammootty itself. So will this combination bring about a change in Mammootty's fortunes???


In addition to wielding the mike, Jayaraj has also taken upon the scripting task & has made the Mumbai train bombings of July 11th,2006 as the theme. The film tracks the happenings of the last 12 hours leading to the devastating blasts through the lives of four sets of people. Kedarnath (Mammootty) is a Commander of the Anti-Terrorist Squad, who stumbles upon a suspect whom he believes is planning a terrorist attack. In the meantime, the film depicts the changes in the lives of Karthik (Jayasurya),on his way to Chennai to audition for A.R Rahman, Meera (Sheena Chouhan) who embraces life following an anonymous call, Suhana (Sabitha Jayaraj) who runs from pillar to pillar trying to acquire her grandfather's long delayed pension for his Haj expenses & finally the relationship between a grandfather & his grandson.

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The biggest challenge in selecting a real event is how to make it all the more engrossing by intermingling fact with fiction. Unfortunately, Jayaraj has totally failed in his effort as he wasnt able to create any sense of anticipation in the audience. Inspite of being a shade under 2 hours, the film labours along so slowly making it appear much longer with hardly anything happening. The sequences itself seem so irrelevant & disjointed that you dont sympathise with what actually happens to the characters. The protagonist, Kedarnath seems to be the supercop who even goes to the extent of searching for a suspect in Mumbai CST which is like searching for a pin in a hay stack. Come on yaar!!! there has to be more officers in the force.

In the performance department, Mammootty has done a fine job as Kedarnath; but the lack of a credible script offers him very little opportunity to improvise. Jayasurya as usual has done a fine job while both Sabitha Jayaraj & Sheena Chouhan were conscious of the camera. As for the remaining cast, there is nothing much to write home about. Coming to the technical aspects, the music by Srinivas though fine was totally ill placed & at times unwanted as well. The editing by Vivek Harshan could have been tighter while the visuals by Seenu were decent.

Verdict: As I has mentioned earlier, the lack of an impressive script is going to be the bane of the movie. It seems that Mammootty has lost the Midas's touch for the time being & will have to wait until the next release for a hit. In short, "The Train" failed to reach the destination & gets derailed, the choice is now yours!!!

Regards...Ben


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Manikyakallu review : " A simple feel good movie!!!"

The North East monsoon should be hitting the coast of Kerala within a fortnight & that in turn will usher the beginning of yet another academic year. So keeping in mind of this fact, arrives a movie which focuses on the relationship between a teacher & his students. Incidentally, this venture is brought onto the silver screen by M.Mohanan whose debut effort was the block-buster "Kadha Parayumbol". In such a scenario, it goes without saying that there is a huge amount of anticipation surrounding his latest offering "Manikyakallu". So will it be live upto the success of its predecessor???


Among all the various courses, 10th standard results still holds the most pivotal position since its the first time that students are exposed to such a huge competition, not to forget that at times its the only qualification required for jobs. The film also unfolds with a similar scenario of the results being published but with a difference. As opposed to the numerous schools with cent percent results, Vannanmala Govt Model School has been the recipient of the dubious distinction of having cent percent failure since many years. The situation wasn't surprising as the teachers were more concerned about their side businesses rather than imparting wisdom to the pupils. Into this scum, enter Vinayachandran (Prithvi Raj) who makes it a point to turn around the mentality of the staff & students alike & in turn the fortunes of the school. So in short, "Manikyakaalu" talks about the efforts of Vinayachandran. How & what does he do to achieve his aim , is what remains to be seen.

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After the stupendous success of "Kadha Parayumbol", Mohanan bided his time before come up with this venture. Coming to look at it, "Manikyakallu", is a decent effort with hardly anything to point out that it's appalling. However, the script doesn't tread on any new territory & after a point of time we are made to wonder as to how comes things are falling in place so easily. The protagonist seems to be virtuosity personified who could do no wrong while all the other characters turn into a new leaf by his inspiring anecdotes without hardly a whimper. The first half was built up properly & when we do expect something in the latter half, the same trend continues yet again. Inspite of this there are a couple of genuine scenes which does tug at our heart cords though at times you might feel its inspired from the previous venture. 

Prithviraj has performed his part to perfection with a toned down performance as opposed to the imposing style that he usually imbibes. Samvritha Sunil as the smart & loud Chandni, was a refreshing change from her previous roles. As for the remaining cast, they neither had scope nor did they overdo their part. Coming to the technical crew, the music by Jayachandran was soothing & gelled with the mood of the movie while the other aspects were fine.

Verdict: "Manikyakallu" is without doubt Prithviraj's low budget movie in recent times both in terms of advertising & finance. Though there is nothing specific as such to tag it as bad, it doesnt offer anything out of the ordinary. In short, its a feel good movie where people dont have shades of grey. You can give it a try to soothen your stressed out mind or else give it a miss!!!

Regards...Ben



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seniors review: "Punning galore in this entertainer!!!"

With the summer vacation in full swing, its been party time for the movie buffs as movies has been flooding the theaters. Owing to the World Cup & elections, many of the films were delayed to the extent that every weekend is seeing 2-3 releases. However, due to this many of them are finding it to hard to even get release centers. Thankfully, the eagerly awaited "Seniors" managed to secure a decent release in around 70 centers owing to the impressive promos & a distinct star cast. Its been helmed by Vysakh who had a dream debut with "Pokkiri Raja" & scripted by the Sachi-Sethu duo who are coming on the back of the debacle "Doubles". So what will the combined duo produce at the box-office???


The opening sequence takes us 30 years back, where a boy is witness to his father's suicide after his mother walked out on him for her lover. Another 15 years later, its the College day of Maharaja's College, where a girl gets murdered. Finally its fast forwarded to the present day where Padmanabhan (Jayaram) is coming back from jail & is received with open arms by his three close friends namely Philip Idiculla (Biju Menon) a planter; Rasheed Munna (Manoj K Jayan), a ladies accessories shop owner & Rex Manuel (Chackochan), a painter. Without further adieu, we are made aware to the fact that Padmanabhan had served the jail term for his friends; but for which he had no regrets. But he nurses the dream of going back to the same college to do PG along with his friends. With much coaxing, his friends also agrees to join him to relive their college life. However, things doesnt go as smoothly as expected, as another girl meets with a near death experience under similar circumstances. Was history repeating itself or is there something more to it than coincidence???

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Vysakh has done a fine job in imparting suspense & comedy in adequate measure; without much of a drag  anywhere. It was expected that Sachi-Sethu who had hit a trough with "Doubles", couldnt do much worser. Frankly speaking, I do agree to that; but here too the plot isnt upto the mark with glaring loopholes & a very predictable climax. The first half breezes through with its share of comedies which though will instill laughs is in fact a case of pure punning. The latter half, gets us into the heart of the plot which is questionable but executed decently. As for other technical aspects, the visuals by Shaji were lively while the music by Alphonse, Alex Paul & Jassie Gift being decent. 

Coming to performances, Biju Menon absolutely rocked especially in his dynamics with his son. He has also been successful in serving up some hilarious one-liners which had the audience in splits. Jayaram has done an apt job while Chackochan seems side lined at times in the first half. Manoj K Jayan as the eternal flirt seemed to be a misfit, as he overacted his part; in my opinion Indrajith would have been the best choice. As for the remaining cast, Suraj does tickle the funny bone while the female leads seemed fine.

Verdict: The film is definitely going  to have a good opening & likely to get the bucks coming in without fail. As far as my opinion goes, I found the plot lacking clarity with an equally predictable climax. However it does have its hilarious moments which though thrives on double meaning makes it good enough for a one time watch!!!

Regards...Ben