Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oru Indian Pranayakatha review: "Fails to sustain the interest towards the latter half!!!"

The past week witnessed Xmas & a host of other personal commitments which explains the reason why I have delayed in uploading my reviews on "Oru Indian Pranayakatha" & "Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal". Among the both of them, I decided to check out the former one first primarily because the promos had caught my fancy with Fahad seeming to be on song yet again. Well did the actual film paint a different picture???


Aymanam Siddharthan (Fahad Fazil) was a law college dropout and the Youth Wing mandalam President of RDF party. He was a popular figure among the public and the sudden demise of the sitting MLA of his party, meant his political career was going to take a top flight or so, he believed. But the high command pulled the rug under his feet by choosing Dr. Vimala (Muthumani) as their preferred candidate. This naturally irks Siddharthan & decides to take time off from the political buzz. At this juncture, his mentor & Party President Uthup Vallikadan (Innocent) entrusts him the job of helping out his relative, Irene Gardner (Amala Paul), a Canadian Malayali with her documentary on orphanages. So how this working relation works out forms the crux of the film.


It wouldnt be prudent to accept the fact that Sathyan Anthikad's magic has been on the wane for quite some time. Things does look much better this time round with an entertaining first half which is in fact a sarcastic take on the political climate in our state. However, from there on Iqbal Kuttipuram's script takes a downward slide with a lack lustered screenplay & poorly etched characters. Even Vidyasagar's music was average at best except for "Nethavu" rendered by Sriram which was an absolute rib tickler. As for other technical aspects, Pradeep Nair has done a commendable job with the visuals. 

Fahad Fazil was fantastic and essays the character of a local politician with utmost ease. Amala Paul has done a decent job but she definitely struggles in the emotional scenes & the dubbing could have been way better. Innocent does bring a smile whenever he appears on screen, however the characters of both Lakshmi Gopalaswami & Prakash Bare were poorly etched which shows on screen as well.

Verdict: Though the brand value of Sathyan Anthikad has been on the wane, there is still a certain degree of anticipation whenever his films approaches release which is the case here as well. In addition, the promos were catchy & Fahad is one of the best among the present crop of youngsters. However, the film wont make the box office go bonkers thanks to a disappointing latter half. In short, you can give it a try for Fahad as the first half is really entertaining!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Friday, December 20, 2013

Drishyam review: "Jeethu unfolds an enthralling spectacle yet again!!!"

Just a week more for 2014 & we have got a handful of films hitting the screens during this period. Though the array of directors who has lined up for this Xmas is any movie lover's delight, the one that most will be looking forward to will be Jeethu Joseph's "Drishyam, who has been the toast of the industry ever since "Memories" hit the jackpot. With Jeethu collaborating with Lalettan for the first time, the expectations are nigh high. Can Jeethu create magic with the legend???


PLOT
Georgekutty (Lalettan) is a small time businessman running a cable network in the sleepy village of Rajakkad. Apart from this he is an ardent movie buff & usually takes cues from films to solve his own issues. Flanked by his loving family, they lead their life peacefully until ill fortune comes knocking on their door in the form of Varun (Roshan Basheer), the son of an IPS officer. What subsequently happens is how Georgekutty fiercely guards his family from all the brickbats that gets thrown in their direction. 


DIRECTION, SCRIPT & TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Living upto expectations is quite difficult & that is exactly what Jeethu has done with his latest venture. Though the film takes time to take off with a rather slow paced first half, all such doubts are dispelled off with an enthralling latter half which gets better by the minute before culminating in an impressive climax & a superlative closing scene. Ayoob Khan could have done a better job with a tighter first half while Sujith Vassudev's visuals was fine, though Anil Johnson's music was average at best.

PERFORMANCES
Lalettan was fantastic as always & thankfully here he got a good character which he portrayed with absolute conviction and naturality. Kalabhavan Shajon finally got to do something different apart from comedy and he deserves all the applause coming his way. As for the rest of the cast, Meena, Asha Sharath, Ansiba & Esther have all done their roles aptly.

Verdict: The film lives upto expectations & will have the audience thronging to the theatres. With a brilliantly scripted latter half, new releases will find it hard to make a dent in the box office. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 4.5/5

Regards...Ben

Dhoom 3 review: "Thrills are far & few!!!"

The franchise trend has been in vogue in the West for many years now, but it has been picking up in Bollywood in the past few years. Actually working on a sequel can be like a double edged sword as it could either work wonders or get bogged down by the expectations. Some of the prominent franchise films has been "Krrish" & "Dhoom" to name a few, and incidentally both have releases this year with "Krrish 3" smashing box office records. Can "Dhoom 3" replicate something similar???


PLOT
The film unfolds in 1990 in the Windy City where The Great Indian Circus is on the brink of  extinction. Iqbal (Jackie Shroff), the owner of the establishment owes a huge debt to the Western Chicago bank but all his efforts for an extension in repayment fell on deaf ears which entices him to suicide. Seeing his father breathe his last in front of his eyes, Sahir (Aamir Khan) vows to avenge his death & embarks on a mission to destroy the bank. The modus operandi flabbergasted the Chicago Police as they had no clue to the identity of the looter except for the image of a clown & a slanderous Hindi statement which prompts them to seek the help of ACP Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan) & Inspector Ali (Uday Chopra). So will they be able to nab the mastermind???


DIRECTION, SCRIPT & TECHNICAL ASPECTS
After having scripted the previous two prequels, Vijay Krishna Acharya is entrusted with the task of helming the new sequel. For a person who delivered an abysmal film like "Tashan", I frankly didn't have much expectations but he has definitely done better with respect to that. However, when compared with the previous films, 'Dhoom 3" disappoints big time as the thrills are far & few. The action sequences are excellently choreographed but it's pretty monotonous. Sudeep Chatterjee's visuals were impressive but Ritesh Soni should have done a better job with the editing as it's damn long. Vaibhavi Merchant has done a fantastic job with the choreography especially "Malang" touted as the most expensive dance sequence picturised exquisitely. Pritam's music was average at best while the BGM was fine. 

PERFORMANCES
Aamir Khan has done an impressive role as the protagonist along with Siddharth Nigam (young Aamir), though I feel Hrithik was undoubtedly the best villain the franchise had till now in all aspects. Uday Chopra provides the comic relief, Abhishek Bachchan puts on a scowl most of the times while Katrina barely had much to do except for some aerobics which she executed brilliantly.

Verdict:  As expected, the film will have a earth shattering initial & will have the box office records tumbling. The 100 crore mark is barely a benchmark now & it should saunter its way into the 200 crore club. For a movie like "Dhoom 3", we know what to expect & though it has been executed proficiently, I would still prefer "Dhoom 2" any day!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Silence review: "Silent at the box-office within a few shows!!!"

Ever since "Mumbai Police" & "Memories" released, the expectations associated with thrillers has quite literally sky rocketed as it emphasized the caliber of the new script writers in the industry. So when I first saw the trailer of Mammookka's "Silence", I was literally thrilled as it looked damn good. But did it actually deliver what it implied to promise???


PLOT
Aravind Chandrasekhar (Mammootty) is the best lawyer in town with an impeccable career record & that eventually led him to be bestowed with the honour of being the Judge of the Karnataka High Court. Prior to the sworn in ceremony, he undertakes a family trip to his home town & that's when he receives an anonymous phone call challenging him to a hide & seek game. Though he initially neglects it as a prank call, subsequent numerous tense moments in his family makes him sit up & pay heed. But who is he & why is he after Aravind???


DIRECTION & SCRIPT
V K Prakash is one of those directors for whom "Arabhashuratham" is the best word that describes him. Most of the times he starts off well & then it spirals downwards culminating in a mish-mashed climax which is pretty much the case here as well. But a significant portion of the blame here falls squarely on Y V Rajesh, whose screenplay lacked any sense of conviction or credibility very much like the mediocre stuff "3 Kings" which he cooked up before. The first half was engaging but that was about it as the latter half showcased nothing apart from Mammookka taking long walks & indulged in deep thought.

PERFORMANCES & TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Mammootty was impressive & looked awesome as the protagonist but with such a spineless latter half even he couldn't salvage it. Anoop Menon was fine while Pallavi Purohit as Mammookka's wife barely had anything to do. The rest of the cast like Joy Mathew, Aparna Nair, Basil etc. did their roles aptly. Mahesh Narayanan could have done a much better job with the editing as the latter half crawls at times inspite of a running time of less than 2 hours. Manoj Khatoi has done an impressive job with the cinematography while Ratheesh Vegha's music didnt have much to write about. 

Verdict:  Many a time I have noticed that when the makers talk about technical brilliance, stunts or visuals, it more or less implies that the film doesnt have anything more. The same happened here as well with the car chase & underwater stunts being highlighted prior to release, which wasn't great to be frank. As far as my opinion goes, the film disappoints big time after an engaging first half!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben






Sunday, December 8, 2013

Vishudhan review: "Cliched latter half dilutes the effect!!!"

Over the years, many films have courted controversy which can be at best claimed to be trivial most of the times. Invariably, either its the device of the makers to grab some extra eyeballs or at times due to the fickle mindedness of our fellow beings. The first look posters & trailers of Vysakh's "Vishudhan" did raise some eye brows, but thankfully it didn't evolve into anything serious & rightfully so. 


PLOT
Fr. Sunny (Chackochan) is the priest of a rural church where the natives were poor & easily gullible. The church runs a shelter home, Snehalayam with the financial support of Vavachan (Hareesh Peradi), the only rich individual in the locality. Fr. Sunny is actively involved in ensuring the smooth functioning of the establishment & is assisted in the process by Sr. Sophie (Mia George). However, certain suspicious deaths in Snehalayam makes them realise the fact that Vavachan's philanthropy had more to do with business than mere good will. But before they could raise the alarm, Vavachan starts a slanderous campaign against both of them which rips them off their clergy robes. So can Sunny & Sophie ever expose Vavachan after losing the trust of the natives???


DIRECTION, SCRIPT & TECHNICAL ASPECTS
After churning out blockbuster entertainers, Vysakh has decided to take a totally different route as far as the script is concerned. But the end result seems to be satisfactory as taking up a sensitive issue could have blown out of proportions if he had overdone it. The first half was fantastic especially the Bishop House sequence & laid the platform for an impactful second half. Unfortunately, from there the film takes a downward slide as the main thread becomes side tracked & eventually culminates into a cliched revenge saga. However, there are some hard hitting sequences in the latter half as well but it was far & few.  Gopi Sundar's music was average at best with "Oru Mezhuthiriyude" being the pick of the lot as it was stunningly picturised as well by Shenad Jalai. 

PERFORMANCE
Chackochan deserves praise on a job well done while Mia seemed fine though it could have been better. Both Nandu & Shaalin Zoya was fantastic & did utmost justice to their roles. However, Hareesh Peradi hams it big time  & seemed to be trapped in the character he essayed in "Left Right Left". Sasi Kumar is without doubt the most serene looking bishop that I had seen in Malayalam films & kudos to Vysakh for that.

Verdict: It's definitely worth watching especially for the impactful first half. Though the latter portion disappoints, it still does have it's moments. So in short, do check it out in case you havent!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben



Punyalan Agarbattis review: "Scent of this humorous satire vitalise our senses!!!"

Just a couple of weeks more & we would have come to the end of an eventful year for the Malayalam industry which witnessed numerous well made films. Jayasurya had a pretty mixed year with some hitting the bull's eye like "Philips & the Monkey Pen", "Mumbai Police" etc. while others like "English" failing to impress. He would be looking to finish the year on a high with Ranjith Sankar's "Punyalan Agarbattis". The signs seems promising but will it hit the jackpot???


PLOT
Joy Thakkolkaran (Jayasurya) is an educated Thrissur businessman who has been trying to make a mark in the world with his innovative ideas. The latest of his masterplans involves making agarbattis from elephant dung. However, his business venture "Punyalan Agarbattis" fails to take off as the Devaswom Board refuses to hand over the raw material to him for the simple reason that he is a Christian. Joy wages a legal battle & finally emerges victorious; only to see that this was just the beginning of his travails. Can his positive spirit see him through or will he succumb to the dirty politics???


DIRECTION & TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Frankly speaking, I have been a huge fan of Ranjith Sankar's films as it always projected problems & helplessness that a commoner feels on the face of adversity be it "Passenger", "Arjunan Sakshi" etc. Here also, he has judged the pulse of the audience & has produced an endearing yet humorous satire on the harthals that's been plaguing our state since years. I didnt feel any sense of lagging as it entertains throughout the whole period coming across as clean humor without ever resorting to double meaning which galore in movies nowadays. Sujith Vasudev has done a decent job with the cinematography while Bijibal's music was hummable & in sync with the mood of the film with "Aashichavan" rendered by Jayasurya being my personal favourite.

PERFORMANCES
The main aspect of Jayasurya which I find really commendable is his commitment to always experiment with his looks and roles, though inevitably most of the times it fails to impart the desired impact. But over here, Jayasurya was fantastic & will rate as one of his best ever performances landing him with an elusive solo hit. Sunil Sukhada was an absolute scream along with Sreejith Ravi but hope that the latter doesnt get typecasted like Baburaj.  Rachana, Aju Varghese & Nyla Usha all deserves a word of praise for their act. The rest of the cast have also all done their roles aptly.

Verdict: Already the reports are coming in that it's doing well in all the release centres.Whatever positive word of mouth that I have heard prior to watching it was totally justified. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3.75/5

Regards...Ben