Sunday, September 11, 2011

Doctor Love review: "Doctor's prescription works in spurts!!!"

If at all this Onam has thrown in surprises, one of them has definitely got to be Chakochan due to the simple fact he found himself to be the lead star in 2 of the 5 movies to have released in this festive occasion. It's been more than a decade since "Aniyathipravu" catapulted Chakochan to be the embodiment of modern Malayali romance. Anywaz there is no denying the fact that he has been a lucky charm since the past two years as none of his movies had bombed making him an inevitable safe bet in multi starrers. This time around he dons the apron of a romance consultant in K. Biju's  "Doctor Love". So will his treatment pacify the nerves of the producer???


Vinayachandran (Chakochan) is a struggling writer who makes a living selling his novels in bus terminals. However, he possessed a knack for resolving romantic issues which was gauged by Satyasheelan Sir (Innocent), who arranges a job for Vinayan in the college canteen in exchange for helping him out in his romantic advances towards a colleague. With time, Vinayan becomes the most sought after person in the campus earning him the title "Doctor Love" as many of his patients gets cured successfully. This brings him face to face with the biggest challenge that he had ever faced in the form of Ebin (Bhavana), for whom his friend Roy had gone nuts. So will Vinayan crack the hardest code of all or will Ebin's arrogance prevail???

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Biju who has handled the script has come up with a very amateurish effort. It just seemed a mish mash of several events reminiscent of a whimsical plot but thankfully sprinkled with some genuinely hilarious moments. It would be wrong to categorise the movie as being a test of our patience but still it fails to come up with anything worthy of praise. Being a campus movie, one would naturally expect some rocking music which unfortunately Vinu Thomas failed to produce; however the BGM was quite catchy at times which had a vague similarity to that of "Om Shanti Om". 

Chakochan has delivered a decent performance for a role which hardly tested his acting prowess. The same goes to Bhavana, Ananya, Manikuttan & the rest, all of whom have performed their roles aptly. Innocent deserves a word of praise as his antics did bring the roof down.

Verdict: The festive season will ensure a decent initial owing to its extensive marketing & focus on youth. The film definitely has several hilarious moments but the plot is a huge letdown. In short, you may check it out when it comes on TV or DVD!!!

Regards...Ben

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sevenes review: "Youngsters make their presence felt !!!"

The Uthradam rushes are over & we are just a couple of hours away from the dawn of Thiruvonam. As one would expect, the streets & shops were jam packed with people making their last minute purchases. To add to the flavour of the season arrives Joshiy's latest flick "Sevenes". After having been at the helm of two high profile blockbusters "Twenty 20" & "Christian Brothers", Joshiy has now focussed his attention on the young turks of Malayalam industry. So can he conjure up a winner now without the mega stars???


It's a well known fact that apart from Bengal, Kerala is the only other state especially in the Malabar region where football still holds an upper hand as opposed to cricket. Joshiy has touched upon this very topic but half an hour into the movie, it takes an altogether different route. Shyam (Chackochan), Surej (Asif Ali), Shaukath (Nivin Pauly) & 4 others are a band of friends who made up one of the most impressive football lineups of Kozhikode strikers club. A case of mistaken identity leads them to assault an opponent player Aravindan (Vineeth Kumar), who eventually ends up with a severe life threatening concussion. Realising their folly & overcome with regret, they try to arrange the necessary amount for his surgery by taking up a quotation. But little did they realise, that it was just the beginning of a maze of problems!!!

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Joshiy has surely come up with a decent movie which has its share of positives & negatives. Iqbal Kuttipuram who is credited with the script does manage to engage the audience, with the highlight being the interval session. Though the initial part of post interval, does manage to maintain the tempo; it however slackens of after a point of time. However I wont say that it bored the audience but it traced a very predictable climax. Another technical aspect which was impressive was the background score, which managed to create a sense of enthrallment at times. The music by Bijibal didnt have much to write home about while the visuals by Ajayan Vincent was fine.

In the performance department, all the youngsters have delivered an apt act. Chackochan being the senior most, naturally hogs the limelight more along with Asif Ali who happened to garner much of the audience's appreciation. Bhama & Rima Kallingal didnt have a role of substance other than lighten up the screen with their innocent smiles. Nadia Moidu was quite a class act while Maniyanpilla Raju was fine.

Verdict: The film should be able to break even owing to a decent story, lack of competition, absence of huge stars & Joshiy's reputation. In short, inspite of a predictable climax it doesnt hurt to give it a try!!!

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bodyguard review: "Salman's purple patch continues!!!"

Yet another Eid & as expected, it inevitably ushers in the release of Salman's "Bodyguard". Well it wouldn't be prudent to accept the fact that Salman's movie will never bite the dust if it's released on the auspicious day of Eid, as the past two Eids has witnessed the release of the biggest grossers in Bollywood history in the form of "Wanted" & "Dabaang". Interestingly, "Bodyguard" is being helmed by veteran Malayali director, Siddique who has already made it in Malayalam & Tamil with reasonable success. So does this mean it would be a hat-trick of sorts for Salman & Siddique???


The basic plot remains the same sans some minor changes to suit the persona of Salman & though many of us have already seen the Malayalam or Tamil version, I will just give a gist of the events. Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar) is a well respected landlord of Jaisinghpur, who naturally has a lot of enemies plotting his downfall. In such a scenario, Sartaj makes arrangements for a bodyguard for his daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Lovely Singh (Salman Khan) is entrusted with this task, who is willing to lay his life for Rana since his father was the bodyguard of Rana in yesteryears. Lovely's uptight manner & intrusive nature compels Divya to hatch a prank which eventually spirals out of control. All these & more forms the basic premise.

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Siddique has more or less,maintained the basic concept though a couple of changes has been introduced to suit the taste of the Northies. Frankly speaking, the script of the movie doesnt have much substance to go gaga; but neither does it deserve to be deemed as worthless especially when the market as witnessed hits for far worser crappy stuff. Dileep's antics in the original did bring the roof down while Vijay in Tamil also delivered a decent performance which effectively revived his career. Similarly, Salman showcases his wares in his own inimitable style which will have the audience lapping it up. Another highlight of the movie is the music by Himesh Reshammiya & Pritam especially the title track & Teri Meri rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Similarly, Vijayan's action sequences has been shot stylishly.

Salman is more or less stereotyped with his torso waiting to burst out of his shirt, however he has been given a character which is endowed with virtues such as honesty, loyalty etc., which makes him lovable & reminds us of his romantic flicks of his initial years. Kareena Kapoor has delivered a decent performance & it's to her credit that she gets noticed in a Salman flick. Inspite of being an integral part of the plot, Hazel Keech hasnt been able to attain the attention of the audience as Mitra Kurian managed to in the other two versions.

Verdict: The film is definitely gonna be an awesome hit as it's definitely much better than "Ready" , which in itself was a smash hit. In effect, it's Salman's fourth blockbuster on the trot & his fairytale association with Eid continues. As far as my opinion goes, it doesnt offer anything new if you have seen the original & frankly speaking wasnt as touching as well. In short, you may give it a miss unless you are a Salman fan!!!

Regards...Ben

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mankatha review: "Thala celebrates his half century in style!!!"

Whenever a festival season approaches, it's happy days for the film fraternity & if at all it coincides with the landmark of one of the biggest stars; then it's party time for the producers especially in the Tamil industry. Incidentally, this week marked the release of  "Thala" Ajith's 50th movie "Mankatha" on the occasion of Eid. With Venkat Prabhu known for his humorous yet engaging films such as "Saroja", "Goa" etc., calling the shots, there's a sense of deja vu that this is gonna be a smash hit. So was this feeling the creation of a delusional mind or will it rack in the good times???


Mumbai is chosen as the backdrop for this thriller with betting on the IPL matches being the core subject. Arumugam Chettiar (Jayaprakash), is part of the betting syndicate who routes the money to the tune of 500 crores from all the major investors through his dilapidated theatre  At this point, Arumugam's henchman Sumanth (Vaibhav) hatches a conspiracy to flick the moolah in the company of his friends which includes police officer Ganesh (Ashwin), bar owner Mahanth (Mahanth) & IIT graduate Prem (Premgi). But before they could implement the plan, suspended cop Vinayak Mahadevan (Ajith) gets a whiff of it & barges into the group with the intention of getting a share of the money pie. In the meantime, Special Task Force ACP Pritvi (Arjun) is hot on the the heels of the betting mafia which eventually leads him to the trail of Vinayak & the rest. Things take an unexpected turn with Mahanth & Prem pulling off a fast one on the rest of the gang. So will Vinayak & co. have their vengeance or will ACP Prithvi draw the iron curtains on the gang???

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Just as in his previous ventures, Venkat attempts a liberal sprinkling of humorous one liners which though at times fails to live up to expectations. The script is written keeping in mind to make use of the aura of Ajith to the hilt & there's no doubt that he has succeeded that on all fronts. The biggest plus point is undoubtedly breaking off from the stereotypical mass hero style, as Ajith is shown more with shades of grey along with getting blows as well, which would have been unthinkable in normal circumstances. However, there are a couple of major pitfalls, as it stretches a tad too long & moves along predictable lines. As a matter of fact, inspite of having a thrilling climax; it doesnt tread into any unchartered territory as the audience will more or less guess the ending.

Coming to performances, it's an out & out Ajith movie as he unleashes his dark side with panache. His lazy gaze, sarcastic laughs & his unbridled greed for money just makes the audience asking for more. Arjun plays the supporting role with authority with ample scope to showcase as to why he is called Action King. The remaining cast does their part aptly, but more or less gets lost in the aura of Thala. As for other technical aspects, Yuvan Shankar Raja's music was definitely a highlight especially the title track while the visuals by Sakthi Saravanan was enthralling. Though the editing by Praveen & Srikanth were crisp, it could have been better.

Verdict: Ajith couldnt have hoped for a better half century as the film will garner a thunderous opening at the box office. It will definitely whet the appetite of Thala's fans & it should be the talking point for the next couple of weeks. In short, though the storyline is predictable; Ajith's mannerisms & grey shades makes it for an interesting watch. So if you do have some time to spare, it wont hurt to check it out!!!

Regards...Ben

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pranayam review: "Exhibition of brilliant performances!!!"

Blessy, the name that is synonymous with touching meaningful cinema has been the favourite of the public & critics ever since he burst into the scene with "Kazcha". Since then it has been the good fortune of Malayali audience, that each one of his films has been a unique experience in itself interlaced with a well conceived script & brilliant performances. So it was inevitable that the audience has been waiting with bated breath ever since it was announced that Blessy's "Pranayam" would be gracing the screens for this Onam. So does he manage to weave magic yet again ???


This time around Blessy has touched upon the topic of love that extends beyond the barriers of age emphasizing that love isnt just about physical attraction but something that transcends way beyond that. Achutha Menon (Anupam Kher) has just survived an attack & presently living with his son's family in the city. It's during one of these days he meets up with Grace (Jayaprada), whom he had divorced 40 years back. Grace in the meantime was happily married to Mathews (Mohanlal), who was confined to the wheel chair owing to stroke rendering him paralysed on the right side. Achutha Menon yearns for her company but their acquaintance is detested by their children. So will they succumb to their children's pressure or live their lives on their own terms???

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As opposed to his previous films, Blessy hasnt been able to engage the audience totally as there has been many sequences were it seems dragged or lacks the adequate depth. Inspite of these flaws I still feel that it does manage to touch the chords with some inspired philosophical dialogues. There has been a host of technical aspects which does require mention with the first definitely being the art direction followed by the misty visuals by Satheesh Kurup who delivers a whole different touch. Finally the music by Jayachandran was soulful & touching with some heart warming lyrics by the legendary O.N.V.

There are three protagonists in the movie who has delivered outstanding performances, but if I had to select one; it would definitely have to be the awesome Mohanlal. He essays the role with so much conviction & effortlessly that you can just marvel the brilliance of this actor. His mannerisms & diction were spot on, that you can just hope that other directors also gives meaty roles to Mohanlal to unleash his arsenal. Jayaprada's performance was praise worthy & her beauty can still give the young starlets a run for their money. Anupam Kher, also digs in gleefully into his role as he emotes perfectly the longing he still nurses for his wife. However his dubbing artist wasnt able to impart a similar effect on the audience.

Verdict: The movie is definitely off beat but Blessy's name along with an impressive star cast should ensure a decent opening. I dont believe that it's gonna make as much noise at the box office as compared to his previous ones. As far as my opinion goes, though the film fails to maintain the momentum; the brilliant performances by the veterans makes it a joyful experience. In short, dont miss it!!!

Regards...Ben

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teja bhai & family review: "Prithvi fails to make it his dream Onam!!!"

Finally, Onam is upon us & interestingly with Eid also falling a week prior to it; naturally a lot of money & expectations has been invested by the film industry this time around. One of the eagerly awaited movie among the Onam releases is undoubtedly, the Prithvi starrer "Teja bhai & family". After having handled serious genres with relative maturity, Prithvi has never actually lived upto the billing as the next big thing after the two big M's. So in order to prove his versatility & credentials as a worthy successor, he has picked upon the comic genre. The question what remains is whether the audience & producers be laughing or groaning???


"The truly Asia" nation, Malaysia is chosen as the backdrop for the initial half where Teja bhai's name (Prithvi) sents a shiver down the spine of one & all, as the dreaded underworld don. But there was someone who made Teja bhai's heart skip a beat as well & that was Vedhika (Akhila), a social worker. In due course of time, they fall in love only to realise that Vedhika's father, Damodarji (Thalaivasal Vijay) was adamant that his future son-in law should be the descendant of a credible lineage with an impeccable background. This forces Teja bhai to assume the name of Roshan Verma & with the help of Rajaguru Vashyavashassu (Suraj), plans to line up a set of paid artists as his relatives. So will it work out smoothly or is it the beginning of turmoil???

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After having helmed Dileep's "Crazy Gopalan", Deepu Karunakaran is back with his latest venture where he multi-tasks between direction, story & screenplay. However, I have no qualms in admitting that Deepu has totally failed in his efforts as many of the comic sequences were in bad taste & fell flat. With a wafer thin plot, it was imperative that the screenplay be taut enough to sustain the interest of the audience but sadly to no avail. The only technical aspect which did impress me was Deepak Dev's compositions especially the remix version of "Oru Madhurakinavin" & "Pranayanilavan".

Prithvi can't be totally faulted for such a flawed performance as the character just didnt have the flesh & spirit. He ended up playing out the same expressions that he has been essaying day in & day out. Akhila had nothing to do other than look good & groove to the music. There is no doubt that Suraj's jokes are turning out to be too monotonous & stale; but he does manage to infuse a few laughs. As for the remaining cast, all of them just sleep walked through their roles.

Verdict: The lack of other big banners except for "Pranayam" & the promos featuring the retro classic, will ensure that the movie will have a good opening. But if at all, Prithvi is expecting for an Onam bonanza; I am sure he is going to be pretty disappointed. In short, if at all you dont mind puns & slap stick comedy, you may give it a shot; or else dont bother!!!

Regards...Ben