Sunday, March 24, 2013

Red Wine review: "Pretty bland tasted wine!!!"

It's been quite some time since we had a lead actor having two releases on the same day & this time around that honour is bestowed upon the supremely talented Fahad Fazil. After having watched the exquisitely  crafted "Amen" on Friday, I wouldnt deny that my curiosity has been aroused to see to how he will perform alongside the legend, Lalettan in Salam Bappu's directorial debut "Red Wine". Will it be a double whammy for Fahad???


Anoop (Fahad Fazil) is the multi faceted, dashing young turk and local committee secretary who is the darling of the masses. But his upright manner has caused him to rub shoulders with quite a few in the wrong manner which eventually leads to his mysterious murder. In comes ACP Ratheesh Vasudevan (Mohanlal) with the intention of nabbing the culprit but soon realises that it has been orchestrated by some big fishes rather than a mere political rivalry. 

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It goes without saying that the main factor which keeps the audience glued in a thriller is the suspense element. Unfortunately, that's where Salam Bappu has been hard done since Noufal Blathur's script doesn't offer anything new except for touching upon some prevalent issues of which we are pretty well versed. Bijibal's music was average though I found the BGM and Ranjan Abraham's editing to be good.

Inspite of the presence of Lalettan, Fahad was projected more as the lead actor & he has done his role brilliantly as always. Frankly speaking, the role barely challenged Lalettan's acting skills and it was as simple as a walk in the park for him. After having done scores of forgettable films, Asif Ali has come up with a credible performance. As for the rest of the cast, each one of them has done their roles well be it T.G Ravi, Saijal Kurup, Mia George etc.

Verdict:  The film will have a fantastic initial but it wont sustain it as it barely offers any credible thrills or suspense.It's definitely not a debacle & wont burn the fingers of the producers. In short, watch it if you have time or else check it out later!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben




Friday, March 22, 2013

Amen review: "Quirky divine satire!!!"

Just a couple of days back, the 60th National Film Awards were announced & deservedly our Malayalam film industry stood out by the plethora of awards coming its way. It's a testament to the influx of new talent into the industry who has been bold enough to venture into untrodden paths. Fahad has already become the craze of the industry coz of this & Lijo Jose Pallissery has already proved his directorial credentials with "Nayakan" & "City of God". So when both of them come together along with the talented Indrajith in "Amen", the expectations are bound to be sky high!!!

 

Kumaragiri Church was believed to be set up at the behest of St. George's spiritual appearance. Over the years, the church was known not only for being a divine pilgrimage site but also for its talented "Geevarghese" band troupe. But all this famed glory had gathered dust after an accident deprived Kumaragiri of their ace clarinetist Estappan & the band was reduced to a pale image of its former self. Estappan's son Solomon (Fahad Fazal) was a talented clarinetist himself, but whose fingers quivered and voice shivered in front of others. He was in love with Sosanna (Swati Reddy), much to the displeasure of her wealthy household. Amidst all this turmoil happening in Kumaragiri, lands Father Vincent Vattoli (Indrajith) who tries to seek an amicable solution, but could he???

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Just as with his previous ventures, Lijo Jose Palissery has come up with an impressive product which thrills & engages us in many sequences while doing quite the opposite in quite a few as well. Rafeeque's script needs to be applauded for its experimental take on normal sequence of events which has been assisted to a large extent by the humorous screenplay. Prashant Pillai's music is a major highlight of the film considering its unique choice of songs & not to forget the visuals of Abhinandan Ramanujam. The major flaw of the film is its intermittent slow tempo & length, which could test the patience of some. 

Both Indrajith & Fahad Fazil are awesome as always & they have been handsomely supported by Kalabhavan Mani, Joy Mathew and Co. Equally impressive were the female casts essayed by Swati, Rachana & Sandra Thomas. All in all, each and every member of the cast has performed to what has been expected of them.

Verdict: Already the impressive promos has caught the imagination of the audience. When you add Fahad along with Indrajith to the concoction, it should be able to garner a decent opening though it could be impacted by the opening of "Red Wine". The film is definitely experimental & might not be palatable for some primarily owing to the drawbacks I have mentioned earlier. However, I would surely suggest that you guys got to check it out!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben




Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns review: "Not as thrilling as the prequel!!!"

Sequels has been the flavour of the industry in the past few years, but invariably most of the times the sequel barely has any connection with the prequel except for the star cast. However, the sequel of critically acclaimed "Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster", promises to be different & paints a whole new sage of love, power & betrayal. The question now is can the sequel match the lofty standards of its prequel???


The film kicks off from where it has left off in the prequel with Aditya Pratap Singh (Jimmy Shergill) confined to the wheel chair after being paralysed by the gun shot. His relation with his wife, Madhavi Devi (Mahie Gill) was on the rocks as he tries to overcome the infidelity & betrayal she had inflicted on him, while Madhavi who is a MLA seeks solace in alcohol. Seeking to revive the days of yore, Aditya seeks the support of the other royals to ensure that political power rests in their arms. However, in this battle for power adversaries emerges even among trusted lieutenants. Prominent among the foes was Indrajith Singh (Irrfan Khan) who himself was of royal lineage but whose royality has bit the dust with the ill times. As Aditya manipulates for power, Indrajith plots for vengeance & who eventually truimphs forms the crux of the film.

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Tigmanshu Dhulia has definitely come up with an impressive script, but certainly not on par with the prequel. Though the first half does build the tempo, the latter half fails to land the knockout punch & fizzles out in a rather predictable manner. Just as in the prequel, the dialogues are spot on & Tigmanshu has to be applauded for it. Sandeep Chowta's background score was good while the music was average at best. 

Undoubtedly the biggest plus point of the film is the brilliant performances essayed by Jimmy Shergill & Irrfan Khan. Both of them virtually got into the skin of the character & delivers with panache. Equally impressive were the rest of the cast be it Mahie Gill, though she did seem repetitive towards the latter half, Soha Khan who seemed to be an apt choice for the delicate princess, Raj Babbar and the rest.

Verdict: The film is bound to have an impressive opening considering the positive comments it had garnered from its prequel. Though it was kinda predictable towards the latter half & lacks the flair of the prequel, it still makes for a very good one time watch. So do check it out!!!


Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Friday, March 8, 2013

Shutter review: "No surprises for garnering applause!!!"

"Shutter" came into the news for the first time when it won the Silver Crow Pheasant Award at the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala. Then later on when the State Awards were announced, I did come across a news video of the director, Joy Mathew in FB where he seemed arrogant & proclaimed foul play when his movie was denied the best film award. Hmm...is there any iota of truth to what he said???


Kozhikode is well known for its honest auto drivers & Sura (Vinay Fort) seemed to be one among the famed lot when he happens to come across the bag of Manoharan (Sreenivasan), a talented yet unlucky director. Manoharan has been running from pillar to pillar to obtain the dates of the superstar & the backing of a producer; but when he finally gets that he loses the bag which contained his script. Rasheed (Lal) was back from the Middle East to enjoy his holidays with his family & friends, which includes Sura as well. However, during one of his binging nights, his testosterone goes for a toss which ultimately lands him with a sex worker (Sajitha Madathil) in his shuttered property. But things goes horribly wrong when Sura gets arrested for drunken driving leaving Rasheed & the sex worker locked within the confines of the shuttered room. Will Rasheed be able to escape from the room with his reputation intact???

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Joy Mathew is a noted theatre actor, play wright & political activist who is well known for his lead role in John Abraham's "Amma Ariyan" way back in 1986. About a quarter of a century has passed & this time around he has donned the director's cap for the first time & deserves to be applauded on a well scripted thriller which posts questions on our morals & principles. Though the first half doesnt impart much of an impact, the latter half packs a punch primarily due to the impressive performances of the characters. The other technical aspects seemed fine though nothing deserves special mention.

All the characters have essayed their roles impressively especially Vinay Fort & Sajitha Madathil. Both of them were an absolute natural in their respective roles while Lal & Sreenivasan performed their parts in a manner which was expected of them. 

Verdict: Thanks to the award it won at the IFFK, it has garnered a great deal of curiosity and expectations which to a certain extent is totally justified. It's definitely a well crafted film which ought to be seen by the audience. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben






Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kai Po Che review: "Hits the bulls eye in all aspects!!!"

The first thing which struck me about this movie was its unique title "Kai Po Che" which sounded more like Chinese to me. Anywaz in due time, I was told that it was actually a Gujarati phrase used in kite competition for proclaiming victory. With Abhishek Kapoor calling the shots after his critically & commercially acclaimed "Rock On", the expectations has been nigh high. So will the public verdict be similar to the title???


Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput), Omi (Amit Sadh) & Govind (Rajkumar Yadav) were the best of buddies who sets about starting a business related to sports equipment & a cricket coaching academy. Inspite of being a gifted player, Ishaan was the victim of cricketing politics which spurred him into coaching talented youngsters & the one that caught his eye was a localite, Ali who he believed had the makings of a future Indian player. Omi was into religion politics at the behest of his uncle who finances their business while Govind was the entrepreneur in their venture. The film tracks the ups & downs of their lives over the years through various incidents like the Gujarat earthquake, the epic 2nd test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy of 2000-01 & the Godhra train massacre.

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Just as in "Rock On", this film also speaks about friendship but in a manner which relates to each & every individual. Based on "the 3 Mistakes of my Life" by Chetan Bhagat, Abhishek Kapoor has captured the essence of the book & replicated it in a much more heart warming format. Equally impressive was the music by Amit Trivedi which was in sync with the situation & mood of the film. 

All the three protagonists have done an impressive job but my favourite is undoubtedly Sushant who has a commanding screen presence backed by some impressive silver screen performances in the past & seems more than likely to be the one to look out for in the future. Rajkumar Yadav has already been part of some critically acclaimed films like "GOW", "Shaitan", "LSD" etc. while Amit has done some decent work in the silver screen. 

Verdict: Inspite of being a film with relatively new faces, the content will ensure that it will garner good collections. With hardly any other credible films in the vicinity presently, it should be looking on to becoming a super hit by its standards. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben

Celluloid review: "Rightfully deserves all the applause!!!"

Finally after a hiatus of more than a month, I am back to writing reviews. It's been a pretty eventful month both personally & in the cine world as well. The biggest news of them all being Kamal's "Celluloid", sweeping the State Awards. Though it's been more than a fortnight since the film has released, I felt this is the right movie to get back into the groove of things.So the first query that I have is whether all these accolades garnered by "Celluloid" really justified???


Dr. J.C Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema went though a hell of pain before he was rightfully given the honour that he truly deserved. In a way, this was Kamal's tribute to this esteemed personality & the person he chose to breathe life into the protagonist was Prithviraj. It was 1928, more than a decade since Dadasaheb Phalke has introduced our nation to the magical world of cinema which was followed suit by the Tamilians but Kerala still considered it as an art form beyond its capability until J.C Daniel (Prithvi) thought otherwise. Spurred on with the wisdom & valuable tidbits that he received from his brief meeting with Dadasaheb, Daniel embarks on his mission to making the first Malayalam film. His path was bereft with obstacles be it with the casting or the economic issues, but he believed all this was worth the effort to realise his dream. Hmm...little did he realise that things were going to be horribly wrong henceforth for all those involved in that film.

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Kamal has to be applauded on a well crafted film with all the factors working in its favour be it Venu's brilliant cinematography, Pattanam Rasheed's make up & Suresh Kollam's authentic art direction. Based on Vinu Abraham's "Nashta Nayika", Kamal has remained faithful to the basic storyline coupled with an impressive screenplay. Though I did come across comments that it gets dragging after a point of time, I tend to differ & absolutely loved the climax which will certainly moisten many eyes as it did mine. Even Jayachandran's music was spot on & it's not a surprise that it has become a chart buster.

Prithviraj was absolutely brilliant & it's not a surprise that he won the State Award. Actually I felt that he is unlucky to have been considered for 2012's awards as it was likely that even otherwise he would have won it for "Ayalum Njaanum Thammil". Mamtha, Srinivas & all the rest have done their roles absolute justice but the pick of the lot for me is debutant Chandni of Indian Voice fame as it seemed that the role was tailor made for her.

Verdict:  Without doubt, the film is marching on to become a blockbuster & rightfully deserved all the awards that has come its way. It might sound a bit preposterous, but I have a feeling that Prithvi might be in consideration for the Bharat Award. The film might feel a bit slow & dragging for some but it's a film that each one of us ought to watch.

Rating: 4/5

Regards...Ben