Saturday, February 8, 2014

Balyakalasakhi review: "Director could have achieved much more but fails to!!!"

The Malayalam literary world has been blessed over the years by the presence of numerous iconic writers & one of the most esteemed among this distinguished lot was the "Beypore Sultan", Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. Some of his novels & short stories have already been immortalized on celluloid such as "Mathilukal" and "Bhargavi Nilayam". The latest to join the bandwagon is Pramod Payyannur with his version of "Balyakalasakhi". So did he take on something which is more than what he can chew???


PLOT
Even though many of you would have already read the novel, I have still written a brief outline for the benefit of those who haven't. The film talks about the relationship of Majeed & Suhra right from their childhood days which eventually blossoms into romance through their formative years. Majeed belonged to an affluent family, with his father being a tough taskmaster (both the roles essayed by Mammookka) while their neighbours were Suhra's folks (Isha Talwar) who struggled to make ends meet. With time, his father's riches turns into dust & seeking to make money, Majeed travels across the country before eventually ending up in Kolkata as an aide to Ameen Sahib (Sasikumar) in his press. So will Majeed & Suhra's love ever be solemnized, as both of them struggles to wade through the tough times that life throws at them.

DIRECTION
First & foremost, I would like to congratulate the guts shown by the debutant, Pramod Payannur though a familiar name in the drama arena; for taking up such a huge challenge. The risk is always immense when you lay your hands on some literary masterpiece & this belongs to none other than Basheer. The first half was entertaining and lives upto expectations as Pramod showcases the child hood & adolescence in an impressive manner. However, all the good will he garnered goes south as the second half lacked finesse and appeared haphazard culminating in a hurried climax. 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS & MUSIC
Hats off to Santhosh Raman for his eye for detail in the art department & Hari Nair for his exquisite visuals. The same cannot however be said for Manoj Kannoth's editing which left a lot to be desired for in the latter half. The song "Thamarapoomkanavil" composed by Late Raghavan Master & rendered by Yesudas along with "Aa Nammelu..." composed by Bijibal were my personal choices. 

PERFORMANCES
Mammookka has done an impressive job especially as Majeed's father, but I would count this as an missed opportunity since Pramod Payyanur fails to utilize the caliber of Mammookka to good effect. Seema Biswas was undoubtedly the best in the film while Meena has done a good job as well. Isha Talwar's appearance seemed fine for the role but she struggles with the expressions  & even the combo scenes with Mammookka though sparse didnt quite gel. As for the rest of the cast, Sasi Kumar & Kavitha Nair seemed ok, while Sunil Sukhadsa reminded me of Rohit Sharma i.e numerous attempts but strikes form only once in a while & the logic behind casting Atlas Ramachandran baffled me.

Verdict: All those who have read the novel would be eagerly looking forward to check it out but the initial looks of it will not quite attract the young crowd & they might be looking for some positive feedback before making a plunge into it. The lack lustered latter half is definitely going to be the bane of the film. Alas..with a more focused & earnest effort, Pramod could have made this into a worthy rendition of the novel. Anywaz, it wont hurt to give it a try!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben


Friday, February 7, 2014

Om Shanti Oshaana review: "Feel good rom comedy!!!"

Finally some good news for the movie lovers in Bangalore as both "Om Shanti Oshaana" & "Balyakalasakhi" are releasing here on the same day as Kerala. So among the two, I decided to check out the former one first as the promos & songs did seem to be like an ideal choice for some relaxation. With the lead pair being the current hottest property in the industry, not to forget their previous venture together "Neram" was a blockbuster, the interest in the film was understandable.


Pooja (Nazriya Nazim) is the daughter of Dr.Mathew (Renji Panicker), who was more like a tomboy after all her traits and characteristics resembled one. The film kicks off in earnest when Pooja is in her 10th Std & she falls for the hard working Giri (Nivin Pauly), a farmer by profession but also an active participant in all the humanitarian activities in their locality. After repeated attempts to attract his attention, she finally decides to confront him & confide her feelings to him. but Giri politely brushes aside her proposal much to her dismay. Both of them get along with their respective lives as Pooja enters into medical profession & meets up with new people like Dr. Prasad (Vineeth Srinivasan) who takes a keen interest in her. So was Dr. Prasad the soul mate she was searching for???


Yet another debutant marks his entry into the industry in the form of Jude Anthany Joseph & I do have to accept that I do appreciate his efforts. Though the script by Midhun Manuel Thomas was predictable, the screenplay & dialogues are the ones which sets it apart as it was humorous without resorting to any sort of vulgarity or sentiments. They also kept tab of the time period by fleeting mentions of the films, songs & programmes of that period. The music & BGM by Shaan Rehman was fine with most of them on top of the charts with "Kaatumooliyo" rendered by Vineeth Srinivasan being my pick among the lot. Vinod Illampally's visuals also deserves mention on a job aptly done.

Nazriya Nazim is the main highlight of the film after all she had the scope for it & she has delivered a pretty decent act, with her second half performance being better. Nivin Pauly didnt have much to do & does whatever is required.As for the rest of the cast, Vineeth Srinivasan was average while Aju Varghese & Renji Panicker seemed ok.

Verdict: The promos, songs & the cast will ensure that the young crowd throng to the theatres. The film is predictable, but offers what it promises and that is a feel good romantic comedy. In short, check it out for some laughs!!!

Rating: 3/5


Regards...Ben

Sunday, February 2, 2014

London Bridge review: "Just as in the nursery rhyme, London Bridge likely to fall down!!!"

Without a shadow of a doubt, 2013 belonged well & truly to Prithviraj, though the award shows prove otherwise (after all most of them are just fixed & handed to every big shot who attends the function like Asianet Awards). Each one of his films apart from being unique were critically & commercially viable. So ever since the promos of "London Bridge" were showcased, there was a sense of anticipation as to whether this one will hit the bull's eye as well??? 


Vijay Das (Prithviraj), is a young, vibrant and successful businessman in London who had steadily climbed the stairs of success due to his hard work & money minded mentality. On the pretext of a financial settlement, he gets called up by Mr. C S Nambiar (Prathap Pothen), one of the wealthiest business magnate in UK. Being impressed with Vijay, Nambiar asks him to date his daughter Pavithra (Andrea Jeremiah), whose humanitarian services & weird boyfriends had Nambiar at his wit's end. Vijay realizing the avenues that could open up for him if he marries Pavithra, tries to woo her but realizes it's easier said than done. Things take a turn when his car rams into Merin (Nandita Raj), who had just landed that day to join as a nurse under the NHS scheme. So will Vijay finally win over Pavithra as he tries to impress her by taking care of Merin???


After a hiatus of three years, Anil C Menon is back with his latest venture & though his track record doesnt speak high of him, I was still hopeful since Prithvi was in the lead. However, except for some pristine locales & songs which has been exquisitely presented by Jithu Damodar, the script by Jinu Abraham was nothing more than a predictable romantic melodrama. Both the halves were pretty dragging & doesnt offer anything that the audience havent seen before or atleast packaged in a different manner. The music was average at best with Rahul Raj's "Kannadi Vaathil" rendered by Haricharan being my pick among the lot; however, Gopi Sundar has done an impressive job with the BGM. 

With such a trite script, there wasn't much Prithvi could do about it; as the role didn't pose any sort of challenge to him. Nandita Raj seemed to be a good choice from a physical point of view as she was really cute, but her expressions failed to convey the same emotions as the dialogues. Andrea has done a decent job while Prathap Pothen & Mukesh has done justice to their roles. As for the rest of the cast, nothing worthy enough to mention. 

Verdict: Prithvi's presence will ensure an impressive initial & that will be what the producers will be banking on, as the film doesn't offer much hope. I would have to admit that the title reminds me of the nursery rhyme "London Bridge is falling down" & this is most likely what is going to happen. In short, maybe the fans can give it a try while the others can give it a pass!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, February 1, 2014

1983 review: "Something to cheer about Cricket after India's shambolic performance in NZ!!!"

Yet another overseas series has come to an end & India has been decimated in every sense of the word by the Kiwis. After having watched India succumb to a woeful 87 run loss in the last ODI in the morning, I was kinda skeptical whether I should be going to the theatre considering how pissed I was. Anywaz I decided to check out "1983" & hoped it would elevate my mood. The promos seemed interesting after all it was about Cricket & the songs were already chartbusters, but did the film actually deliver the goods???


The movie opened with the visuals of my idol & the legend, Sachin Tendulkar delivering his famous retirement speech. The protagonist, Rameshan (Nivin Pauly) who was a hard core cricket lover & a die hard Sachin fan, has been following the game keenly ever since Kapil Dev & his devils lifted the World Cup in 1983. That scene got hooked onto him & since then Cricket has been part & parcel of his life much to the displeasure of his father (Joy Mathew), who wanted to make him into an engineer. Even his love, Manjula (Nikki Galarani) tried to grill sense into him requesting him to be more serious about his life but Rameshan remained the same & eventually she gets married off to someone else. Subsequently, he gets married to Susheela (Srinda) & what stumped him was her ignorance about Cricket as she didnt even know who was Sachin. So will marriage bring any significant change to Rameshan's outlook towards life???

There is no doubt that the film was like a breath of fresh air & the debutant director, Abrid Shine has to be applauded for it. The film focuses on how Indian Cricket has fared over the years & how it relates to the protagonist, something like "Kai Po Che". The biggest plus is definitely the screenplay by Abrid & Bipin Chandra as the sequences and dialogues were damn realistic, pretty much how we used to react when we played the matches. Another major plus was Gopi Sundar's music & BGM with "Olanjali Kuruvi" rendered by Jayachandran & Vani Jayaram being the pick of the lot. On the down side, I wish Manoj did a better job in the editing as the first half seemed to lag quite a bit but it was made up with an engaging latter half. However, Pradeesh Varma has done a fine job with the cinematography. 

Nivin Pauly has given a praise worthy performance & fitted the bill pretty well, though he didnt seem so convincing as a 40 yr old father. Joy Mathew has to be applauded on a job well done along with Srinda though Nikki Galarani was average. Gregory who essays a cameo was an absolute scream while the rest of the cast of  Anoop Menon, Saiju Kurup, Sanju,  Kalabhavan Shajon etc. have all done their roles aptly.

Verdict: Though the first day collections might be low, it will gradually build up from tomorrow as it will garner positive word of mouth. Any person who is an ardent lover of Cricket will relate with the movie, just like I did. Being a hard core Cricket fan & a even greater Sachin fan, many of my friends might think I am being biased, but believe me guys...you got to give this a try!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben