Monday, December 31, 2012

Da Thadiya review: "Aashiq Abu strikes gold yet again!!!"

Just a couple of hours more to herald 2013 & it just crossed my mind that I had forgotten to upload my review on Aashiq Abu's X'mas offering "Da Thadiya". Actually I have been attending a host of functions & munching on the goodies in the past one week, that I was strapped for time. Call it coincidence but my over-indulgence on pastries have got me struggling with a bulging waist line which has made my Mom to state that unless I diet I will be a thadiyan soon. Hmm...I better start having some diet control but I wonder how the protagonist of the film managed???


Luka John Prakash (Shekhar Menon) is the scion of a small time political party headed by his father, John Prakash (Maniyanpilla Raju) & uncle, Jose Prakash (Edavela Babu). Since childhood, Luka had an intense craving for food which made him swell up into a 120 kg giant. But he was a gentle giant at heart & loved by all as he harboured a helping mentality towards his fellow beings. His cousin, Sunny aka Shaddi (Sreenath Bhasi) absolutely adored him & knew that the only thing which made Luka weak in his knees was his soft corner for Ann Marie (Ann Augustine). Due to her insistence, Luka agrees to enroll into an Ayurvedic slimming programme run by the dashing, magnetic young guru Rahul Vaidyar (Nivin Pauly). So will Luka be able to resist the craving pangs???

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The reason why Aashiq Abu clicked in "Salt N Pepper" was due to his treatment of the subject in sync with the mannerisms & thought process of the present generation without resorting to superhuman stuff. That's exactly what he has replicated in his latest venture as well. Though the script wasn't anything out of the ordinary but the screenplay & dialogues works big time. However, the second half had a couple of sequences which did hamper the tempo. I do agree that "Enthanu bhai" is quite a hit in social network, but frankly speaking I didnt quite enjoy it as it seemed they were trying hard to portray it as being hip but Bijibal's "Allah allah..." was a treat for the senses. 

Shekhar Menon is a well known face in the party circuit as he is an established DJ in Cochin. There is no doubt that the role has been tailor made for him & he has done total justice to it. Inspite of being a debutant, he seemed quite at ease facing the camera & mouthing the lines. But when it comes to getting the best lines, that credit goes to Sreenath and he was damn impressive. Nivin Pauly have made a name for himself by being the good guy many a time, but if you ask me he is even better & a natural when essaying characters with shades of grey. As for the rest of the cast, they have done their parts aptly.

Verdict: Among the Xmas releases, "Da Thadiya" & "Bavutty" are the ones that have actually garnered positive responses. So in short, eat, drink & make merry watching this enjoyable film!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Friday, December 28, 2012

Karmayodha review: "Relevant subject but average execution!!!"

Among all the films that has released this Xmas, if there is one person who would be having a laid back confident smirk on the face then it has to be Lalettan. Both Dileep & him are the only two stars who has been having box office success by the bucketfuls in the past 2 years. Seeking to round off this successful year, Lalettan has collaborated with Major Ravi in his latest venture "Karmayodha". The question now is whether it's gonna be yet another drag like "Kandahar" or does Major Ravi has something new to offer???


Madhavan Menon aka Mad Maddy (Mohanlal) is a ruthless encounter specialist with the Mumbai Police. His modus operandi was to eliminate the enemy after extracting the necessary info & he prefers getting it done alone. The latest assignment that has been entrusted upon Mad Maddy was the abduction of a young girl  the clues of which eventually leads him to Kerala. Very soon he stumbles upon disturbing facts about a flourishing sex racket in the region headed by Khais Khanna (Murali Sharma). Naturally as one would expect, Mad Maddy prevails in the end.

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Finally Major Ravi has emerged from the barracks & gathered courage to pen a script not related to the Armed Forces, Frankly speaking, his choice of subject is praise worthy as its relevant to the present times but it meanders to a very predictable & loud climax. The film does have its moments with Lalettan playing to the gallery in full earnest with his style & nonchalant attitude. Coming to the music, neither did it have scope nor does M.G Sreekumar has the talent; he should rather stick on with playback singing. 

If it wasnt for Lalettan, this film wouldnt have survived the opening weekend. Lalettan was brilliant as Mad Maddy & virtually carries the movie on his shoulders trying to make up for the flaws in the script. Murali Sharma as the psychic villain was mediocre & was a pain for the senses. As for the rest, I dont remember anyone having much of a role as it was a one-man show.

Verdict: Among all the Xmas films, this will have the best initial collections over the opening weekend which will go a long way in ensuring that the film is a viable venture. With reviews likely to hover from average to bad, the film wont have much of a run unlike other Lalettan films of this year. In short, its average & predictable, so you can afford to give it a miss!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bavuttiyude Namathil review: "Mammooka heaves a sigh of relief!!!"

Failure can be a dirty habit if one gets used to it & to shake off its ill effects does requires a good deal of self confidence and will power to introspect and who knows it better than Mammooka & the Indian Cricket team. Inspite of impressive performances in quite a few of those flop ventures, his choice of subjects has been way off target which denied him an outright solo hit in the past 2 years. This time around he has joined hands with Ranjith for "Bavuttiyude Namathil" who is personally going through a purple patch to provide him with a new lease of life. So can the duo recreate the Pranchi magic???


Bavutti (Mammootty) is the trusted chauffeur of a wealthy household who was considered more as part of the family than a lesser individual. He was like a friend to his boss, Sethu (Shankar Ramakrishnan) helping him out in dodgy business scenarios as well, while he was a brother to Sethu's wife Vanaja (Kavya Madhavan). On the other hand, Bavutti never misused his freedom & took it upon himself to protect the family from any ill fortune. But life can be a tricky proposition as a potential family crisis emerged with the arrival of Vanaja's ex-lover. Will Bavutti save the day yet again???

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After a hiatus of 12 years, G.S Vijayan is back with his directorial skills & he has been backed to the hilt by Ranjith's script. The story doesn't boast of anything out of the ordinary, the screenplay & humorous dialogues imparts a spark to the film. Though it does seem to get a bit lax towards the latter half but all in all it was a pretty good effort. Coming to music, "Allahoo" composed by Shahbaz Aman was impressive & the BGM score especially the one played for Harisree Asokan was good.

Being the brilliant actor that Mammooka is, he lives the role of Bavutti with unflinching ease that you cant help admire his skills in diction mouthing the humorous lines in Malabar accent. Kaniha was brilliant as the house maid Mariam as I have never seen her in as much ease & finesse in any of her previous films. Kavya & Shankar were fine while Vineeth & Harisree rocked in their brief roles.

Verdict: The film will have a slow opening considering the competition on offer especially with Lalettan on an awesome run. However, positive word of mouth will ensure that Bavutti has a sustained run thereby earning a much needed hit for Mammooka. In short, dont miss this feel good movie!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben




Matinee review: "Deserves more matinee shows!!!"

Last few years has witnessed an exodus of films with its core themes focusing on the hardships faced by the starry eyed film aspirants trying to make it big on the 70mm screen be it "Best Actor", "Cinema Company" etc. However majority of the films spoke about the protagonists achieving their aim by the end of the film.So it was naturally a pleasant surprise when the debutant director Aneesh Upasana proclaimed that his venture "Matinee" will lay bare the reality of many such aspirants condemned to obscurity after their dreams got shattered.


Najeeb (Maqbool Salman) is the heir apparent to a reputed orthodox Muslim household who believes he was destined to don the grease rather than confining himself behind the desk of his father's flourishing business. Finally luck bestows him with the opportunity to play the lead for a flick titled "Puthuvasantham" with Savithri rechristened as Nisha (Mythili) slated to play the female lead. Nisha's life was quite the opposite  of Najeeb as she had to put up with the tortures inflicted on her by her wayward father. However,both their lives changed for the worse after the release when it became evident that their film has been splattered with soft porn to woo in the audience. Both of them gets banished from their households & lands up in Chennai seeking a solution to their woes but to no avail. Though Najeeb seeks redemption, Nisha realizes that the only way forward was to continue her career in soft porn films. 

This is without doubt one of the best subjects that has come out this year. Penned by Anil Narayanan, the script looks into an aspect of tinsel land that many of us aren't aware of. Being a debutant, Aneesh is lucky that he had the backing of a credible script which he executed pretty well. Another curious feature that I observed that this might be the film which has thanked the maximum no. of persons towards its making as it kept scrolling for a pretty long time. Ratheesh Vega's music was average though the item song "Ayalathe Veetile" was a rage in youtube. 

After Dulquer's dream debut, now it's time for his cousin Maqbool to live upto the name of his legendary uncle, Mammooka. Though he played a brief role in "Asuravithu", this is truly his launch pad & he has done an impressive job as he seemed an apt choice for the role. Mythili unleashes an even better performance rendering out her frustrations mouthing obscenities. As for the rest of the cast, they have done a decent job as well.

Verdict: With Xmas films ruling the roost now, the film has more or less left the screens, However, with a better release startegy it should have raked in more revenue. Anywaz, I would suggest that you guys should definitely give it a try as & when you get a chance!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Talaash review: "Aamir impresses as expected!!!"

Ever since 2012 started one of the most awaited films was "Talaash", which wasn't surprising at all considering the quality of work Aamir Khan churns out every time he appears on the big screen. Almost three years have flown by since he last appeared in a commercial venture with "3 Idiots", which to date still holds the record of being the highest Bollywood grosser ever. As always the expectations are sky high & the intriguing promos has just increased it further. So can the film replicate the success of "3 Idiots"???


"Talaash" unfolds with the death of young superstar, Armaan Kapoor (Vivan Bhatena) as he drives his car onto the pavement & plunges into the icy sea. Inspector Suraj Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) gets entrusted with the investigation, but little did he realise that it was just the beginning of a labyrinthine scenario. The more he searched, the murkier it became & having to fight with his inner demons over his son's death, his life became a living hell. His son's death sucked out the life & spirit of his married life with Roshni (Rani Mukherjee) & the only emotional solace that he obtained was from Rosy (Kareena Kapoor), a sex worker whom he had met during the investigation. So will Shekhawat's search for the truth & inner peace bear fruit???

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After a mediocre directorial debut with "Honeymoon Travels", Reema Kagti is back behind the camera with this latest offering. Along with Zoya Akhtar, she has weaved an impressive script which blends together various emotional & suspense elements. From a personal point of view, I found the first half & a major portion of the latter half brilliant; but the climax wasn't quite upto my expectations. However, Reema Kagti has to be applauded for executing this genre of film so impressively. Equally praise worthy were Mohanan's visuals which captured the stark under belly of Mumbai realistically & Ram Sampath's music which was in sync with the mood of the movie.

There are no words to describe Aamir Khan who as always comes up with a power packed performance portraying Shekhawat with elan as a person who is brooding over his loss & getting suffocated fighting his inner demons. Both Kareena & Rani were impressive in their respective roles & contributes to the film without being over shadowed by Aamir. Actually the casting of the film was spot on with hardly any weak links; however a couple of them deserves special mention like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who was brilliant & Rajkumar Yadav, who deserves a pat on the back.

Verdict: Being an Aamir Khan film the box office bells are likely to ring like crazy in the first couple of days. It will be a hit for sure as it will have a wonderful run in the metros & overseas, however the single screens are unlikely to relive the magic of "3 Idiots". The primary reason for that being many of the audience wont be able to relate with the climax but still it's a praise worthy effort to tackle this genre. In short, definitely give it a try!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Face 2 Face review: "Leaner patch than Sachin!!!"

Whenever Lady Luck is smiling, she does so with such luminosity that we are blinded with happiness. But once that period phases out, then it seems like nothing in this world could make things work in our favour which is exactly what Mammooka has been experiencing since the past 2 years. All his movies during this period has been duds thanks to an outrageous choice of films that questions has been raised over his continued presence in films. Pushed against a wall, Mammookka is now counting on V.M Vinu's "Face 2 Face", to provide him with some breathing space. So is there any scope of hope??? Hmm... signs are quite bleak.


CI Balachandran (Mammootty) has been under constant suspensions as he had rubbed quite a number of big shots on the wrong side owing to his fierce honesty to his uniform. Sick with the treatment meted out to him by the political honchos, he makes a living striking gold in the real estate business. At around this time, the state is rocked by the brutal murder of Thomas Punchakadan, son of political king-pin Varghese Punchakadan (Vijayaraghavan) who happened to be responsible for the latest suspension of Balachandran. So was it divine justice or did Balachandran have a hand in this planned murder???

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V.M Vinu's efforts to make an enthralling thriller has fallen flat owing to an absolute non-existent second half. I wonder what Manoj Payanoor was smoking as he seems to have gone absolute bonkers in the latter half after a pretty decent first half. The only thing which is worth mentioning is the sly dialogues along with some engaging investigative anecdotes in the first half. Lesser said about the music by Alphonse the better as it did nothing than irritating the ear drums & disrupt the flow of the film, while the other technical aspects were average at best.

What do I say about Mammooka??? As always he has done a decent job but reduced to an on-looker towards the end. There is no doubt that he seems to have lost all sense of logic or else how do you explain his crappy choice of films in the past 2 years. As for the rest of the cast, none of them deserves even a mention.

Verdict: Considering Mammooka's recent track record, the film will open to very low expectations which should have done the film a world of good. But so pathetic was the second half that it was able to breach even such low expectations. In short, dont watch it or leave after watching upto interval!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Theevram review: "Oscillating between good & amateurish!!!"

2012 kicked off with the launch of Dulquer Salman, one of the most anticipated personalities into the film world. Being the scion of the legendary Mammukka, expectations were bound to be sky high & in all fairness it wont be prudent to accept the fact that Dulquer has done his father proud with impressive performances in his previous two ventures. So the question now is whether he can complete a hat-trick with debutant Roopesh Peethambaran's "Theevram"???


Alexander (Sreenivasan) is one of the most brilliant police officers in the department as is evident by his knack to solve the queerest of murder mysteries as showcased in the initial sequences by his ability to think with a logical mind & patience like piecing together a jigsaw. At around the same time, Harshvardhan (Dulquer Salman), a musician makes an entry into the scene & before long it becomes evident that he is a man on a mission as he kidnaps a person & religiously slices him into pieces with as much finesse as a forensic surgeon. As expected. Alexander takes up the case but can he out-think the criminal genius of Harsh???

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This is for sure one of the most gruesome murder mysteries shot in Malayalam & Roopesh Peethambaran deserves praise for treading a path not frequented by the others. His unconventional treatment of the subject captures the attention of the audience especially in the first half. However all along there were sequences which showed the shakiness of a debutant as it oscillates from being fantastic to amateurish. But there is no doubt that he is one director to look out for in the future. The music by Roby Abraham was quite average with Ennariyathe being the noticeable one while the visuals by Hari Nair was praise worthy especially for the grey tone which imparted a cold ghastly feeling to the reels.

Dulquer Salman has again come up with an impressive performance & deserves kudos for his choice of films. Sreenivasan was brilliant portraying the characteristics of Alexander with panache be it his intelligence, philosophical discourses or non-violent nature. Vinay Fort who essays the role of Ramachandran (Sreenivasan's assistant) was as impressive as the other two. As for the rest of the cast, they have done a decent job as well.

Verdict: There is no doubt that the second half fails to live upto the expectations built up initially. However, inspite of these flaws the unorthodox treatment of the subject makes it for an interesting watch. In short, it's worth a try!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jab Tak Hai Jaan review: "Yashji will be remembered forever but not for this film!!!"

It's almost a month since Yash Chopra, the "King of Romance" has left for his heavenly abode leaving Bollywood a much poorer place. So vast has his contribution to the Hindi film industry been that's its impossible to mention about Bollywood without a reference to his legacy. After having reached the ripe old age of 80 a month back, Yashji had announced that "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" will be his last directorial venture & with SRK back in the romantic avatar, the hype surrounding the film had gone through the roof. So will it be a befitting swansong???


Major Samar Anand (Shahrukh) is the daredevil of the bomb defusing squad of the Indian Army having disarmed scores of bombs, 98 to be precise with as much insouciant attitude as licking a lollypop earning him the nickname "the man who cannot die". His sobre demeanour attracts the attention of Akira (Anoushka Sharma), an aspiring documentary film maker of the Discovery Channel. Having obtained the permission of the authorities she joins Samar & his team to film them for her project. In due time, she stumbles across Samar's diary which lays bare the person behind the Aviators. So who was actually Major Samar & what made him treat death with disdain???

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Yash Chopra has given us scores of memorable films through the decades be it "Deewaar", "Silsila" or "Darr" to name a few. His latest venture "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" was meant to be the perfect swansong to draw curtains on a glittering career. However, the film has come short of expectations mainly owing to a inconsistent script revolving around the character of Meera (Katrina Kaif). Her role seemed so immature & illogical that it failed to create any sense of emotional chord with the audience.The romantic sequences between SRK & Katrna seemed quite a drag at many places which could have been edited to impart a more telling effect.

SRK was fantastic as Major Samar but seemed quite a misfit in many of the sequences as the younger lover boy. He uses his charm to good effect to convey his romantic side but his age kept showing thanks to a botchy make up pretty much like Aamir's lover boy image in "Ghajini". Anushka was equally impressive while Katrina Kaif's role lacked sense & she lacked the capability to enact the emotional scenes with conviction. Another surprising aspect is that the collaboration of Yashji, Gulzar & Rahman turned out to be a damp squid. The music album as such was commendable with impressive tracks like Jiya Re, Challa & Ishq Shava but it failed to gel with the picturisation except for Jiya Re & stuck out like a sore thumb throughout the whole film which is quite unlike Rahman's music. 

Verdict:  The film will be a blockbuster in the overseas market while in the domestic circuit it will do well in Multiplexes but not so in single screens owing to an inconsistent romantic track. I believe it will earn a lifetime collection of 200 crores but wont threaten the records of  "3 Idiots" or "Ek Tha Tiger". In short, there are individual brilliances but the film fails as a cohesive unit!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Boss review: "Better than usual Dileep flicks!!!"

Deepavali is traditionally celebrated all over our nation but the fervour is played to the hilt by the Tamilians & Bollywood as is evident by the plethora of big budget films which hits the screens during this time every year. Though our industry does usually take a back seat, this time around we have Dileep's "My Boss" trying to carve up a share of its own in this festive season. The promos promises to be a fun filled venture but the question is will it able to withstand the onslaught of the biggies like "Thuppaki" & "Jab Tak Hai Jaan"???


Manu Verma (Dileep) is an IT professional who always dreams of migrating to the West & as the first steps to the fulfillment of his wishes, he lands up with an impressive job in a top notch firm in Mumbai. But little did he realize that he was to play second fiddle to Priya, (Mamtha Mohandas) one of the most haughtiest bosses that a sub-ordinate could wish for. Despite his best efforts, Manu fails to make much of an impression on his boss. But fate had other plans, as Priya finds herself in a soup with some visa formalities & she had no option but to resort to her assistant to help her out. So will this deal work out in a mutually beneficial manner???

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After a hiatus of two years since "Mummy & Me", Jeethu Joseph is back with his latest venture "My Boss"; which is a rip off of the Hollywood flick "The Proposal". Though I wont hold it against the film being a copy but the director should be capable of incorporating his own elements into the premise. Unfortunately, that's where Jeethu has failed since it wasn't as entertaining as the original especially in the second half. Anil Nair has done an impressive job of capturing the beauty of Kuttanad while the music by Sejo & M.Jayachandran were average with Enthinnennariyilla being the pick among the lot. V. Saajan could have trimmed a good portion of the second half as it gets a tad tiresome.

Dileep has done a decent job considering the fact that it was a welcome relief from the slap stick crap that he has dished out in "Mayamohini" & "Mr.Marumakan". As always his comic timing was spot on especially in his conversations with Kalabhavan Shajun, who deserves a pat as well. Mamtha was apt as the fiery boss though she didnt seem at ease in sequences where she has to play it over the top.

Verdict: It will surely have a decent opening & considering the overall packaging of the film, East Coast Vijayan wont burn his fingers. The film doesn't offer anything new, though the lighter moments are way cleaner than the usual Dileep flicks. In short, watch it without expectations!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chakravyuh review: "Glimpses of reality but predictable plot"

Whenever political genre films are thought of, the first name which fleets into any cineaste's mind is Prakash Jha. His brand of film making are for the thinking audience giving them a slice of reality which remains shrouded from public view. His films may not have exactly set the box office on fire but the blunt reality showcased interspersed with cinematic liberties are undeniable be it "Gangaajal", "Rajneeti" or Aarakshan". This time around he has touched upon the ever prevalent issue of Naxalism through "Chakravyuh". So can he reap box office rewards with critical acclaim???


Nandighat has been in the news for quite some time as it was the stronghold of the Naxals led by their charismatic leader Rajan (Manoj Bajpai). Seeking to eradicate the Naxal influence, SP Adil Khan (Arjun Rampal) takes up the challenge but his plans fails to materialise thanks to the lack of support among the villagers owing to the atrocities meted out to them on a regular basis by the Government & police force. Seeing Adil's plight, his close buddy Kabir (Abhay Deol) comes up with the idea of infiltrating into the Naxal camp & being an informer. In due time, their combined efforts starts to bear fruit but Kabir starts to realise that the principles of Naxalism does make sense. So will Kabir have a change of heart & if so, does it change his equation with Adil???

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Once again Prakash Jha has come up with an interesting subject as there are a lot of mixed opinions as to what the Naxals does is justifiable or not. Well I wont delve into that aspect, but Jha has definitely given us a brief insight into the ground reality. However, the treatment of the story wasn't impressive as it takes up a predictable route & fails to strike any kind of emotional chord with the audience barring a few sequences. If it wasnt for the riveting performances by quite a few, it would have been a lack lustre experience over all. 

Though not one of the protagonists, the first person whom I would like to mention is Anjali Patil as the fiery Naxal Juhi. She was a revelation & breathed fire into her character with utmost naturality. Abhay Deol is always known to select off beat films & emerges a winner. Arjun Rampal is fine while Manoj Bajpai & Om Puri comes up with intense impressive performances. 

Verdict: The rustic packaging of the film wont attract the masala lovers & the lack of a interesting plot wont have the critics singing praises. At the most it might break-even if its lucky though I doubt it. In short, check it out for the performances but that also do so when it comes on TV!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jawan of Vellimala review: "Mammooka's wait for an elusive hit continues!!!"

Before proceeding into the review, I would like to express my gratitude to all my well wishers & blog readers for their support as this is my 151st review with a cumulative readership which just crossed 50K. Pretty similarly, Anoop Kannan was indebted to his guru Lal Jose on his maiden venture "Jawan of Vellimala". What made it all the more fascinating was the fact that both of them were locking horns on the same weekend. With Lal Jose creating a gem with "Ayalum Njanum Thammil", the question now is can Anoop Kannan size up to his guru???


Vellimala dam was an architecture of pride for the villagers as it was a testament to the struggles & hardships that they suffered to make it into a reality. Gopi Krishnan (Mammootty), one of the caretakers of the dam was an ex-army personnel who was forced to retire following a mishap to his eye. However, his claims of having struck terror in the enemies in his heydays evoked laughter as Gopi was scared of the dark since he saw ghosts of people who had plunged to their deaths from the dam. So was it just a figment of his imagination or was there an iota of truth???

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After having being the associate to the maestro Lal Jose for quite some time, Anoop Kannan has finally conjured up courage to call the shots.With Mammooka's Playhouse production house pumping in the money & not to forget, Mammooka's lean patch; the pressure on Anoop would naturally be much more than a normal debutant. Considering the execution of the movie, there is no doubt that he has honed his skills pretty well under his guru. However, he has been massively led down by James Albert's script who struggles to create an engaging thriller. The premise & basic storyline had the promise of something interesting, but it turned out to be a damp squid. Satheesh Kurup has done a decent job with his visuals while Bijibal's music was average with "Pora neranjoru pathira" going to be a hot favourite for booze parties.

Now what do I say about Mammooka, for more than a year now no matter what he does his films have been  barely able to have queues reminiscent of the beverages corporation atleast for the opening weekend. Even here, he makes a decent effort along with Sreenivasan but with a flawed script there is nothing much that they can salvage. As for the rest of the cast, they were average at best with none of them deserving a special mention. 

Verdict: The film will have an encouraging opening thanks to the promos & hype surrounding the clash between the heavyweights. But in this battle, the guru & heir apparent wins it hands down as the script is bereft of an engaging tale. In short, if lucky it might break even nothing more!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben





Ayalum Njanum Thammil review: "Script not on par with the stunning visuals!!!"

After a month of quiet, the Malayalam film industry is brimming with activity with two big movies going head to head at the box office. What makes it all the more delightful is the caliber of the cast & crew on display with Lal Jose & Prithvi facing off against Mammooka & Anoop Kannan. Being a movie buff, I just couldn't choose between the two & so ended up watching both. After the resounding success of "Diamond Necklace", Lal Jose is back with his latest venture "Ayalum Njanum Thammil" which sees Prithvi in the lead for the first time since "Classmates". Already the promos has been the talk of the town but the question now remains is whether it could live upto expectations.


Being from the Medical profession, I totally agree to the fact that it's a noble line of work after all a man's life is in our hands. Though there are quite a few in the society who has made it into a money spinning prospect, there are scores of true professionals who renders selfless service. However, the public memory can be really short & this is what Dr. Ravi Tharakan (Prithviraj) experienced when his efforts to save a child's life at his own expense drew blank. On the insistence of his colleagues, Ravi flees the hospital only to meet with an accident. Was this what Dr. Ravi had bargained for after all there is a limit to what a doctor could do??? What then follows is the formative years of Ravi from a happy go lucky dude to the respected doctor that he had become.

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After the awesome "Diamond Necklace", Lal Jose continues his magic with his latest venture. Though the protagonists of both the films were doctors, there is a sea of difference as this was more of a biographic take on a doctor's life. Bobby Sanjay has well & truly bounced back from the debacle of "Casanova", but their script lacked the depth considering the fact that direction & the actors performance were brilliant. They had taken a very superficial path on the formative years at the Medical College with hardly anything substantial being shown. The drama picturised on the present day could have been more gripping & the coming of age of the protagonist lacked the impact like Hrithik's transformation in "Lakshya". Apart from Lal Jose, Jomon's visuals were absolutely scintillating while Ousepacchan's music was fine.

Time & again, I have always maintained that Prithviraj is a good actor but his blunt interactions with the media and suspect choice of films has earned him quite a no. of detractors. But whenever he has chosen a right script, he has scored big time & this is one such occasion as he was fantastic as the protagonist. Prathap Pothen's films in the past weren't my cup of tea but his second coming has just blown me off be it in "22FK" or as Dr. Samuel in this venture. Naren, Reema Kallingal, Salim Kumar & Kalabhavan Mani has done a commendable job while Samvrita Sunil & Remya Nambeesan was wasted & average respectively.

Verdict: The film will have a roaring opening at the box office considering the brand value of Lal Jose & Prithvi, not to forget the impressive promos. This will definitely go onto be a hit as it will surely appeal to the audience though I cant help saying that with a bit more effort from Bobby Sanjay this could have been as memorable as "Classmates". In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Aiyyaa review: "Even an AXE effect wont attract the audience!!!"

Over the years, the Tamil & Telugu film industry has been coming up by leaps & bounds to match the scripting excellence of Malayalam. But unfortunately the way Bollywood looked at the South hasn't changed much as its still the pelvic thrusts and buxom heaves that appeals to them. This is quite evident since "Dabaang" released as there has been flooding of films with South Indian masala considered as an integral ingredient for success. This week we have National Award winning director, Sachin Kundalkar's "Aiyaa" which treads a similar path albeit in a different manner. The promos were loud & over the top, but will the film finds its feet???


Meenakshi Deshpande (Rani Mukherjee) belongs to a middle class cranky Marathi household which could said to be a desi version of the Adam's family. Actually Meenakshi herself is a drama queen with her melodramatic screeches & frequent escapades into her fantasy filmi world. After having landed the job of a librarian, she falls for the handsome South Indian hunk, Surya (Prithviraj) as he smells good. Now was it the pheromones or AXE??? I seriously have no idea but she starts following him everywhere like Mary's lamb in the nursery rhyme. At the same time, her parents fixes her alliance with Madhav (Subodh Bhave) & she is now torn between the two choices. So will she follow her heart or brain???
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Sachin Kundalkar's ingress into Bollywood has attracted quite a lot of attention considering that he is one of the most respected names in the Marathi film industry. However, it hasnt been all smooth sailing for Sachin as the film doesnt come across as a cohesive piece of art. There are definitely many sequences which evokes laughter but those are far & few with a wafer thin plot which drags along for much of the second half. The saving grace however is the cast who does an impressive job but then without a credible script there is a limit to how much the cast can augur the fate of the film. Amit Trivedi's music is already on top of the charts with "Dreamsum Wakepum" & "Aga Bhai" ruling the roost. However, I dont quite endorse the lyrics & Vaibhavi's choreography of the former though she has done an impressive job in the latter. 

Just as I had mentioned previously all the actors have done their parts well & it all starts with the protagonist, Rani Mukherjee. She has done total justice to her role which required her to be quirky & loud. It's really unfortunate that Prithviraj hardly had any dialogues until the climax but when he does he exudes confidence & gives a praise worthy performance, not to forget the hard work he has put into chiseling his torso. As for the rest, each of them deserves a pat especially Nirmiti Sawant (Meenakshi's mother).

Verdict: 2012 has been the year of heroine centric films & "Aiyaa" is no different with the hero reduced to an object of lust & fantasy. However, Rani hasnt been hot property for quite some time & to add to that the wafer thin plot with some quirky characters wont quite appeal to the audience as it seems more like an extended version of AXE advertisement. So in all likelihood it is going to sink without much of a trace. In short, the producers & the audience will be saying "Iooooo..." for the same reason!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben


Saturday, October 6, 2012

English Vinglish review: "Sridevi is brilliant as ever!!!"

Over the decades our Indian film industry has been blessed with proficient actors who has essayed characters with such flair & finesse that at times we gasp with disbelief as to whether it's fact or fiction. I have been watching Bollywood movies since the past two decades, during which time there has been a host of good performers but very few of the caliber of Sridevi. After having started acting at the tender age of four, she has been rightful termed as "The First Female Superstar of Indian Cinema", before she retired into domestic life 15 years back  following the blockbuster "Judaai". However, ever since her comeback venture "English Vinglish" has been announced, the hype & expectations has been going through the roof . The promos surely looked promising but was such a long wait justified???


Shashi (Sridevi), is a typical middle class Indian wife whose life revolves around the welfare & happiness of her family. She goes about her household work selflessly & even runs a small but successful catering business of ladoos. But her inability to converse in English always stung her as she was the object of numerous callous jibes by her husband & daughter. Things take a turn when she travels to New York to help out with her niece's wedding. After being humiliated at a cafe, she enrolls into a four week English speaking course without informing her kin. So will she able to keep it a secret & conquer English which has constantly hurted her self respect???

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Gaurav Shinde is a noted ad film director & though a debutant film maker she already had her brush with the industry courtesy of her husband, R. Balki assisting him in "Cheeni Kum" & "Paa". Call it coincidence or her husband's effect but "English Vinglish" also oozes the same sense of freshness & appeal as "Cheeni Kum". Her screenplay is simple & has clarity which makes us instantly relate with the psyche of the protagonist. There is no denying the fact that certain sequences has been inspired from the popular British comedy series "Mind Your Language", but that doesn't belittle the film at all. On the whole, there is hardly any blemishes & by the time it culminates in a predictable yet moving climax you cant help having a smile on your face. Amit Trivedi deserves praise for his lively numbers especially the title track rendered by Shilpa Rao.

What do I say about Sridevi??? I am virtually speechless as she is as brilliant as she always was. I wont be surprised if audience asks whether she was actually away for more than a decade coz she is at ease as ever. Priya Anand who essays the role of Radha is quite a familiar name in the South & before long will be seen in more Hindi films courtesy of her impressive act. Mehdi Nebbou as Laurent is a French actor who gives an equally impressive performance through his expressions which speaks volumes about what he wants to convey though he converses in his native dialect. All the rest have done their parts well starting from Adil Hussain to her colleagues in the English class. Even Big B delivers a beaming performance with his comic timing in his brief role. 

Verdict: The film has already created a buzz considering it's Sridevi's comeback, so it should definitely have an encouraging opening. Thanks to brilliant performances & a simple yet endearing storyline, it should go on to be a superhit. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Trivandrum Lodge review: "Carnal instincts galore!!!"

Gone are the days when sex was talked behind closed doors & that could very much be due to the changing attitudes owing to Westernisation. This trend has been very much evident in the so called conservative Malayali community since the last few years. Taking a cue from that, our film industry has also been dishing out films with bold themes such as "Chappa Kurish". The latest to join this genre is V.K Prakash's "Trivandrum Lodge", which brings back the successful trio of "Beautiful"; V.K, Jayasurya & Anoop Menon together again. So can this venture on promiscuity replicate the success???


Dhwani (Honey Rose) has recently divorced & wants to enjoy her newly attained freedom to the fullest which even involves fornicating with abandon. Her wish to pen a novel based on the underbelly of Kochi brings her to a dilapidated lodge called "Trivandrum Lodge" which harbours various types of individuals; Abdu (Jayasurya), an unkempt sex starved individual, Shibu Vellayani (Saiju Kurup), reporter of a sleazy film magazine, Kora (Balachadran), a retired clerk who boasts of having experienced ecstasy with 999 ladies & many more. However, all of them had one thing in common & that is their conversations and thoughts invariably revolved around matters under the waist. So how each of these individuals strives for the satisfaction of their carnal instincts which could be either getting laid or maintaining celibacy forms the crux of the film.
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Riding on the high of "Beautiful" & critically acclaimed "Karmayogi", V.K Prakash has taken up a rather bold theme which will definitely wont have much of a taking among the family audience. However, the youth which forms the target audience will lap it up gleefully. Anoop Menon who has penned the script hasn't held back what he intended to convey but at times I do feel he has taken it a bit too far. It's definitely a credible & bold effort, however it is quite weird that all the characters seems to have their limbic brain on an overdrive.

Jayasurya is always known to make a conscious effort to experiment with his looks & appearance in every film that he does. Coupled with an impressive performance, his efforts has paid off well. Actually, each & every member of the cast have done total justice to their roles be it Honey Rose, Anoop Menon or Thesni Khan. Similarly, Jayachandran's music was fine especially the track Kanninnullil Nee Kanmani rendered by Najeem while Pradeep Nair's visuals deserves praise for its rustic feel imparted by the mellow brown schemes.

Verdict: Families are likely to stay away from this one while the youth & bachelors will make it a viable prospect for the producers. The film surely makes for an interesting watch though it will make a few of us to cringe & squirm in our seats at certain sequences. In short, an overdosage of carnal talk but it's worth a try!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Puthiya Theerangal review: "Nothing new except for the actress!!!"

The name "Sathyan Anthikad" always evokes a sense of being one with nature as his movies invariably deals with situations & scenarios to which we are quite acquainted. All his movies has the backing of the family audience which explains his enviable track record, though of late he seems to have lost his Midas touch with his previous venture "Snehaveedu" not being quite upto the mark. With the Malayalam industry paving way for the so called "New wave films", it is upto legends like Sathyan to prove that their brand of film making still have takers & curiously enough, his latest venture is titled "Puthiya Theerangal". So will this offer anything different???


Thamara (Namitha Pramod) is the pride of the coastal area as she goes fishing in the sea with as much dexterity & deftness as her male counterparts. Having lost her parents in her childhood itself, the light to her loneliness were her three companions of which Mohanan (Nivin Pauly) nurtured a soft corner for her. However, she always wished for a fatherly figure in her life which she was granted with when she saves an old man, K P (Nedumudi Venu) from the waters. She treats K.P with as much care & affection as her late father, but the question always lingered as to who K.P actually was???

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Having proclaimed after "Snehaveedu" that the writer in him will be taking a back seat, Sathyan has handed over that responsibility to Benny Nayarambalam this time around. However, Benny's script was as pathetic as his previous effort in "Spanish Masala" as there is hardly any credible story line. The film unfolds in a leisurely pace introducing the various characters & though the question as to who is K.P pops up in the latter half, the audience is least bothered by then as it neither had any impact nor any significant twist. In short, hardly nothing happens during the entire time period except for a couple of situational light moments. Illayaraja's music was average at best while Venu's visuals deserves praise.

The film marks the launch of yet another actress into the industry in the form of Namitha Pramod. She has done a decent job keeping in mind of the fact that her role lacked the sting thanks to Benny's flawed screenplay. Nivin Pauly basking in the glory of "Thattathin Marayathu" barely had a substantial role except for a couple of songs. Nedumudi Venu who actually plays the protagonist essays a role that he has done time & again. As for the rest, the old lady (not aware of her name) who waits for her long lost lover from Sri Lanka does an apt job in tickling the funny bone.

Verdict: The brand name "Sathyan Anthikkad" will naturally make families flock to the theatres but that will last only for the first few days owing to the lack of a credible script. It's definitely a clean movie but what's the point when it offers nothing new except for a new actress & the absence of Mammukoya & K.P.A.C Lalitha. In short, don't bother!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben





Saturday, September 22, 2012

Heroine review: "Kareena rocks but the film doesnt!!!"

Just a couple of months more before we herald in 2013 & if there is one thing that stands out this year other than the blockbusters then it has to be the plethora of films with strong female characters. Starting from Vidya Balan's "Kahaani" to Priyanka's "Barfi", the list promises to get longer with an interesting array of films lined up for the coming months. The latest that promises to join the list is Kareena Kapoor courtesy Madhur Bhandarkar's "Heroine", which had been in the news right from the onset with Aishwarya Rai who was slated to play the protagonist having to make way for Kareena owing to her impending pregnancy. So can she live upto the hype???


The world of glitz & glamour has always made the public look at it with awe & bewilderment, but everything isn't as rosy as it appears is what Madhur Bhandarkar tries to convey through his latest venture.Mahi (Kareena) was the numero uno of the industry & she had it all, be it beauty, wealth or success. But just as the saying goes, 'it's lonely at the top" & that was exactly what Mahi felt. She always felt insecure due to the non-commital nature of her lover & superstar, Aryan (Arjun Rampal), which finally leads her to the brink of self destruction. Her mood swings & unpredictable nature made her market value come down with hardly anyone willing to cast her in their projects. Sensing the need to get back to the front of the pack, she hires a ruthless PR (Divya Dutta) who carefully plans & manipulates her career moves. But will it be wrecked yet again by her impulsive nature???

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Madhur Bhandarkar has always been synonymous with hard hitting reality films touching upon various aspects of society be it the dance bars, corporates or the fashion world. In his latest venture, he has chosen his own field, Bollywood; which he is bound to know better than any other sector. However, his celluloid version comes across as being quite lame as it treads a pretty predictable path with stereotypes like gays, bitching actresses, kitty parties etc & ingredients thrown in from real life situations which though failed to evoke the wow factor. It's true that I dont know much about the inside of the industry but still what we get to understand is that all actresses are sluts who have to compromise to stay on top. I feel that aspect should have had more clarity rather than generalising it for the sake of sensationalization. As for other technical aspects, it seemed fine with the styling by Manish Malhotra deserving praise.

What actually makes this film work is undoubtedly the brilliant performance by Kareena Kapoor. She has put her heart & soul into the character & makes Mahi believable be it her mood swings, unpredictable nature or violent rage. Arjun Rampal seemed fine while Randeep Hooda has done an impressive job along with Divya Dutta. The rest of the cast seemed apt with Shahana Goswami, Ranveer Shorey & Helen standing out from the pack.

Verdict: The film will definitely have a good opening but it wont be able to make much inroads especially with "Barfi" running strong which is ironically also UTV production. However, it should be able to hold its own in the coming days & should be a viable venture. In short, though the film lacks the sizzle of "Fashion", Kareena absolutes rocks. So, it wont hurt giving it a try!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben