Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kunjananthante Kada review: "Wish the script was as impressive as Mammookka"!!!

Call it good fortune or a conscious attempt to cash in, but it has been raining movies in Bangalore inspite of the decision of the Anti Piracy Cell a couple of months back to delay the release here. Anywaz among the deluge of films which released this week, the one which got my attention was Mammooka's "Kunjananthante Kada", after all the legend needs to get his act together after the disappointing "Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty". Mammooka has given himself a good chance considering the credentials of Salim Ahamed who was the toast of the industry for "Adaminte Makan Abu". So can Salim do it again???


Kunjananthan (Mammooka) is the owner of a small stationary shop in the serene bylanes of Vattipuram which was popular among one & all as a transit point for all kind of services. But what made the shop even more conspicuous was the upright nature of Kunjananthan who harboured an innate sense of duty to create awareness among his fellow beings to social issues through his posters, not to forget his guts to speak his mind & finicky nature to cleanliness. But all wasnt well with him, be it the frigid relationship he shared with his wife or the repeated requests by the land owner, Nambiar (Siddique) to vacate his shop, which was more like an embodiment of his father's spirit rather than a structure with bricks & stones. As if this wasnt enough, he was further burdened by the Goverment's decision to widen the roads which would effectively mean the destruction of his shop. So can Kunjananthan save his shop???
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After reaping awards by the bucketfuls for "Adaminte Makan Abu", Salim Ahamed is back with his latest venture which he has penned as well just as before. There is no doubt that the film has some worthy moments be it Kunjananthan's attachment to his shop or the relationship with his wife. But apart from this, the script doesnt have much to write home about & culminates in an average climax. As for other aspects, Jayachandran's music & rendition was fantastic, but it was too short. One funny mistake which I noticed was that there is a scene in which the song "Muthu Chippi" from "Thattathin Marayathu" is played but the song being shown on TV was "Kanninnullil Nee Kanmani" from "Trivandrum Lodge".

Even though the script has come short, Mammooka was spot on as the protagonist be it with his Kannur slang or body language, but it didnt pose much of a challenge for the legend. Nyla as Chithra was impressive & stands on an even footing with the legend. As for the rest of the cast, all of them have done justice to their roles be it Siddique, Balachandra Menon or Salim Kumar.

Verdict: Inspite of a plethora of releases, this will have an impressive opening thanks to the after effects of "Adaminte Makan Abu" & Mammooka. Even though, there is nothing to trash the movie about the script could have done much more justice considering the caliber of the cast it had on offer. In short, check it out!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Madras Cafe review: "Impressive concoction of fact & fiction!!!"

As any avid movie buff would have noticed, our film industry has pretty much dabbled with all sort of genres except for political thrillers which has been far & few. I wouldn't fault the makers for this, coz inevitably most of the time it has courted trouble as in the case of "Vishwaroopam", "Black Friday" etc ; thanks to some whimsical minded individuals & groups. The latest to join this bandwagon is Shoojit Sircar's "Madras Cafe", which has been banned in Tamil Nadu. Hmm... so let's see what's this hungama all about???


Until a couple of years back, Sri Lanka was embroiled in a bitter Civil War between the Government & LTTE (named as LTF in the movie). The film unfolds with the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord to enforce the disarmament of LTF & facilitate the process of regional council. As part of this pact, the Indian Government sent in their Peace Keeping Force but instead of reining in the violence, it gets blown out of proportions. At this juncture, the RAW chief, RD (Siddharth Basu) assigns a covert operation to his trusted military intelligence officer Vikram Singh (John Abraham) which was to weaken the stranglehold of LTF in the region. In the process, Vikram opens a can of worms which eventually culminates in the assassination of our ex-PM. 

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After having drawn praise from one & all, for his previous venture "Vicky Donor"; Shoojit Sircar has chosen a totally different topic which belongs to the not so oft used genre of political thrillers. There are no two words about it, as he has come up with one of the best ever political thriller made in Bollywood with the filming being kinda reminiscent of the Hollywood style. The best part of the film is that it doesn't take sides & leaves the judgement to the discretion of the audience. The credit also goes to the compelling script & screenplay by Somnath Dey & Shubendu Bhattacharya aided by the crisp editing & visuals by Chadrashekhar Prajapathi and Kamaljeet Negi respectively which keeps the audience hooked throughout. 

Frankly speaking, I don't think of John Abraham as much of an actor except for his excellent stunts but over here he was spot on as he gets into the skin of the character quite convincingly. In addition, John also have to be applauded for seeking to produce films which are distinct unlike the usual run of the mill. Siddhartha Basu was quite an interesting choice as the RAW Chief & he has done a good job along with Prakash Belawadi (as Bala). As opposed to her previous venture, Nargis Fakhri has improved which was aided to a certain extent that she had to mouth only English dialogues. The rest of the cast such as Ajay Bhaskaran (as Anna), Kannan Arunachalam (as Shri) etc., has done their parts aptly.

Verdict: With "Chennai Express" bull dozing forward, "Madras Cafe" would find the going tough. It's unlikely to cater to the single screens but thanks to the impressive content & execution it should have a decent run in the multiplexes. In short, delve into this without fail!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben





Saturday, August 24, 2013

Olipporu review: "Wonder what was the scripter smoking???"

Ramzan witnessed the release of a slew of films with some hitting the jackpot like "Memories", while "Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty" bit the dust. With a couple of weeks still left for Onam, there are quite a few lined up to hit the screens before the festive season begins & leading the pack is Fahad Fazil's "Olipporu". Though the promos seemed average, the presence of Fahad enticed me to check it out. So was it the right decision???


The film unfolds in Namma Bangalore where a group of avid bloggers plans to stage a grand show. But at this juncture, Ajayan (Fahad Fazil) known as Olipporali to his fellow bloggers & the brain behind the show meets with an accident. Being the reclusive person that he is, none of the rest had any clue as to what happened to him. What subsequently follows is a peek into the life of Ajayan & whether he would eventually walk back into life.

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As I had mentioned earlier, the sole reason for watching this film was Fahad Fazil as I have always liked his choices. But sorry to say, this was downright pathetic as the script by Gopikrishnan didn't seem to make even an iota of sense. In effect, A.V Sasidharan's directorial debut was quite an unforgettable ordeal as I was fidgeting in my seat hoping against hope for something interesting which never came. Equally pathetic was the music which had some of the most nonsensical lyrics that I have ever heard. The only thing that took my attention was the familiar places showcased in the film such as K.R Puram, Brigade Road & Majestic.

Fahad Fazil seems to be shooting in break neck speed as he seems to be churning out one movie per month on an average. But among the ones that he has done, this will easily qualify as the worst ever though he has done a decent job along with Kalabhavan Mani. As for the rest, no one deserves even a mention.

Verdict: The only attraction of the film is Fahad Fazil but with such a pathetic script, even his presence wont prevent the film from slipping into oblivion within today itself. In short, unless you want to make an ass out of someone dont suggest it to anyone!!!

Rating: 0.5/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty review: "Ranjith's magic on the wane!!!"

Ever since "Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty" has been announced, there has always been some news or the other related to it in the media. The hype is quite understandable considering the various personalities connected to it be it Ranjith-Mammooka's combo, Prithviraj's production & Lalettan's guest appearance. Already I have heard mixed to negative reactions to the film & with the satellite rights being sold to Asianet at an astronomical amount of 5.75 C, the question that everyone has is whether it was justified??? Hmm..well this is how I felt...


There's a popular saying that it's virtually impossible to find a place where Malayalis haven't inhabited, be it even the moon. Well, bearing testimony to this fact is an obscure place in Germany known as Mettmann where the Malayali Association is gearing up for their silver jubilee celebrations. So as part of their grand plans, the Association entrusts Mathukutty (Mammookka) to arrange a star nite led by Lalettan & troupe. Being a hen-pecked husband, Mathukutty was waiting for a chance to go to Kerala & grabs the opportunity with glee. In addition to this assignment, he also plans a trip to his hometown, Plankamon which he hasn't visited for years. Little did he realise that his sojourn was going to be like being from fire to frying pan.

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In the last few years, if the audience had to name one director whose films are eagerly awaited..then undoubtedly in majority of the cases the choice would be Ranjith. However, his latest venture has pretty much quashed all such expectations as the script is downright ordinary, with hardly any substance except for some gimmicks in the form of Lalettan & a couple of humorous scenes. Similarly, none of the technical aspects also deserves special mention.

There is a limit to which how much an actor can carry the movie on his shoulders especially when the script is below par. Inspite of that, Mammookka expectedly imparts an impressive performance as the timid hen pecked husband. As for the rest of the cast, apart from Tini Tom & Muthumani no one deserves special mention.

Verdict: Thanks to the hype the film would have garnered an impressive initial but from then on it is bound to be a downhill journey. The film offers neither anything new nor anything different, so you may as well check it on Asianet!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben






Memories review: "Prithvi on a roll!!!"

One of the greatest challenge for any actor is to live upto expectations & with Prithvi growing in stature with each passing movie, this is quite natural. Among the plethora of releases, one of the prominent ones to grace the screens for this Ramzan was Jeethu Joseph's Prithviraj starrer "Memories". Unfortunately, for movie lovers like me...the film was released in Bangalore just yesterday & by now, I have come across many people lavishing praises on the film. Hmm, naturally it has increased my expectations manifold...so will it satiate my anticipation???

The job of the police force can be quite unforgiving at times as the officer puts the life of even his family on the line & Sam Alex (Prithviraj), one of the best in the force was a living example of such a tragedy. The incident reduced him to a pale image of his former self & alcohol seems to be his only resort for solace. It was at this juncture that duty comes calling in the form of a series of random murders which has baffled everyone. But is Sam upto the challenge & is there more to the murders than what seems to the eye???

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Frankly speaking, I wasn't quite impressed with Jeethu Joseph's previous venture "My Boss" though it was a blockbuster. So my initial reaction when I heard about "Memories" was kinda circumspect, but after watching it I do have to admit he has proved me wrong fair & square. The plot & characterization was fantastic for which how much ever applause given is totally justified. At times, there are some fleeting glimpses of Sherlock Holmes & "Grandmaster", but the film has a soul of its own. Even the initial credits were shot impressively & reminded me of Tarantino's style. In a thriller like this, BGM & editing plays significant roles  & both Anil Johnson and John Kutty has to be appreciated on jobs well done. 

After many of his movies biting the dust, Prithviraj is well & truly back in his elements with all his recent films being both critically & commercially acclaimed. Over here as well, Prithviraj was absolutely brilliant as the heart broken alcoholic officer with angst & distress written on his face. Not even once does his body language goes over the top nor does it succumb to stereotypical cliches. As for the rest, they have done their jobs aptly including the villain whose name I'm not revealing as it will be a spoiler.

Verdict: Undoubtedly, one of the best thriller in recent times & Prithvi is in top notch form with Sam Alex being on par or even better than Antony Moses of "Mumbai Police". In short, don't think twice, do yourself a favour & watch it!!!

Rating: 4.75/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi review: "Kudos to the cast & crew for their sincere effort!!!"

Ever since the promos of "Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi" or NPCB has been beaming on the screens, there has been a great deal of anticipation after all it was touted as the first road movie to release in Malayalam. With Samir Tahir calling the shots along with the casting of the successful duo of Dulquer-Sunny Wayne, it should make for an interesting prospect. The question is whether Hashir's script can do justice to the hype???


 NPCB is basically the journey of two youngsters, Kazi (Dulquer) & Suni (Sunny Wayne) from "God's own Country" to "Switzerland of the East" (Nagaland), in search of Kazi's love, Assi (Surja Bala Hijam). The film tracks the happenings during the journey & the events which led to Kazi taking up this jaunt. Though he had initially decided on embarking alone, his long time confidant & close buddy Suni sticks onto him just as he had done over the years & so begins their adventure on their mean machines. 

 Samir Tahir's credentials as a cinematographer is well documented but with "Chappa Kurish", he has shown that he has it in him to don the role of the director with ease. First & foremost, he has to be commended for his guts to try something different rather than resorting to the same old cliches. Secondly, he has packaged it really well with breath taking visuals by Girish Gangadharan & equally apt music by Rex Vijayan, both of which conveys more than dialogues. Hashir Mohammad has come up with a decent script but I felt it could have been a much better second half as it lags quite a bit & doesnt quite do justice to their hard work.

With each passing movie, Dulquer is slowly & steadily cementing his place in the industry with his own efforts. Over here as well, he has done a good job along with Sunny Wayne, who brings in the light moments with his witty one liners. The soul of the film is undoubtedly, the sizzling chemistry that the two share with each other. Surja Bala Hijam is a well known Manipuri actress, who has done a decent job along with Dhirtiman Chatterjee, Joy Mathew etc.

Verdict: Among the films which has released for this Eid, this is least likely to cater to the families. The collections of this film will depend entirely on the young crowd, but from what I see it should be able to make a mark. It will definitely spruce a new crop of bikers just as "Classmates" inspired a lot of reunions. In short, give it a try after all such different efforts needs to be complimented!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben



Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum review: "Families will flock albeit an average script!!!"

After three hits on the trot, Lal Jose is back with his latest venture "Pullipulikalum Aattinkutiyum" for this festive season. Inspite of a plethora of releases, there is no doubt that Lal Jose's credentials will ensure that it will garner an impressive initial. The promos showcases it to be a fun filled romantic entertainer with an interesting array of actors led by Chakochan. So will Lal Jose continue his golden run???


Chakattutharayil Gopan aka Chakka Gopan (Chackochan) is the youngest among four brothers who earns his livelihood from the houseboat that he maintains in the serene backwaters of Kuttanad. In order to further flourish his business, he acquires the services of Kaniakari Jayasree (Namitha Pramod), a talented dancer & before long they fall in love. Unfortunately for Gopan, each & every day was compounded with problems thanks to his loafer brothers. If Gopan was the cynosure of the villagers, his brothers were the embodiment of public ridicule who reveled in creating mayhem, the brunt of which was eventually borne by him. If that wasn't enough, he happened to rub the local wealthy landlord Kavalykal Kuriyachan (Shammi Thilakan) the wrong way. In short, how Gopan deals with all these issues forms the crux of the movie. 

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Lal Jose is always known to make clean family entertainers & he doesnt disappoint this time as well. However, the same cannot be said about Sindhuraj's script which was average at best & if it wasnt for Lal Jose's execution...the film would have been a sitting duck. The film has a very predictable storyline with a reasonably humorous first half & a passable latter half. Though Vidyasagar's music wasn't quite upto the mark, S.Kumar deserves a pat on the back for his impressive visuals.

Chackochan has done a good job though I felt Dileep could have fared better maybe due to the uncanny similarity in the initial parts to "Marykundoru Kunjaadu". Namitha Pramod has done an impressive job along with Suraj, who finally got something different to perform. The pullipulikal essayed by Irshad, Joju & Shiju has done a decent job and was ably supported by Shammi Thilakan, Harisree Ashokan & the others.

Verdict:  Lal Jose's credentials & the fun filled promos will ensure that the film will garner a good initial. Actually in all probability, this will be the first choice for the families as it's a clean entertainer. From a personal point of view, the script is pretty average but Lal Jose's execution should render it to be a hit!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben


Friday, August 9, 2013

Chennai Express review: "Typical Rohit Shetty fare but with a sprinkling of EQ!!!"

Finally Eid is upon us & unlike the previous years, we have a SRK movie hitting the screens rather than Salman's. After the disappointing "Jab Tak Hai Jaan", SRK join hands with Rohit Shetty in the company of Deepika Padukone for "Chennai Express". The expectations are nigh high after all Rohit Shetty is the king of "no brainer entertainers" with an enviable track record. With the film already having an unprecedented wide release in 3500 screens in 10 different languages, it should have the records toppling left & right. Being not a great fan of Rohit's no brainers, I just hope it isnt the same old stuff. Hmm...let's see...


Rahul (Oh SRK, back to his favourite screen name for the umpteenth time) is entrusted to fulfill the last wishes of his grandfather to have his ashes immersed in Rameshwaram. Though he embarks on this journey with an alternate plan in mind, it all goes topsy turvy thanks to Meenamma (Deepika) who is being escorted back to her village in Tamil Nadu against her wishes for marriage by her cousin brothers. Meenamma hatches a get away plan with Rahul, but will they manage to escape from the clutches of her father??? 

Frankly speaking, I have never been a fan of Rohit Shetty films except for "Singham" which I enjoyed even more than the original. It's common knowledge that his brand of film making involves gravity defying stunts & brainless comedies...in short, a complete masala entertainer, which has a lot of takers as evidenced by the number of blockbusters he has to his name. Over here as well, the story isn't much different except that it's far more sensible than his other ventures. There are some genuinely hilarious scenes but quite a few were repeated which gets irritating after a point like the conversation conveyed through songs or the oft repeated "Dont underestimate..." dialogue. 

SRK has done an impressive job especially in the parts he makes mockery of himself, though there are quite a couple of scenes where he overacts. Deepika has done total justice to her role & stays toe to toe with the superstar. As opposed to Rohit's other films, the action sequences are quite minimal with the climax stunt being well choreographed. Vishal Shekhar's music rocked with "Titli" &"1234" being my personal favourites while Dudley's visuals were breathtaking at times.

Verdict: Pre-release hype, catchy music & unprecedented number of release centres will ensure that the film takes an earth shattering initial. In all probability, it will break all existing records & will be marching its way towards 200C in the long run. From a personal point of view, it's just about average but definitely better than the usual buffonery of Rohit's films!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben