Friday, August 29, 2014

Peruchazhi review: "Specially for Lalettan fans, but even they might struggle at times!!!"

Just a week more for Onam before our state gets decked up for family reunions & lip smacking Onasadya. So in such a festive mood, how can our film industry be behind; after all it's one of those times of the year where houseful boards becomes a common feature. Like every year, this year too we have a host of films lined up with Lalettan's "Peruchazhi" being the first one off the blocks. The promos promises it to be a laugh riot but will it actually make the people laugh so hard that their sides ache or groan at the idiocy ???


The State of California was going into elections & the early predictions indicated that the Republican candidate, John Kory didnt stand much of a chance who vents out his frustrations on Sunny Kurishingal (Vijay Babu), his campaign manager. In order to arrest Kory's nosediving popularity, he seeks the help of his friend & PWD Minister, Francis Kunjappan (Mukesh). This is when Francis suggests the name of Jagannathan (Lalettan), who had helped him in numerous political turmoils, though his ulterior aim was to get Jagannathan into trouble. Now Jagannathan apart from being a street smart political playmaker was a sports lover & nursed dreams to open up a sports academy in due time. Since the California assignment promised to be an insane amount of money in exchange for Jagannathan's services, he takes up the challenge & sets course to the US with his two aides. So how he manages to manipulate the American political machinery forms the crux of the movie.

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Being the festive season, Arun Vaidyanathan has planned his debut venture in such a manner that it takes full use of Lalettan's brand value. Since the film starts with the message requesting people to keep their logic at home, I am definitely not going to question Arun's wafer thin plot & the manner in which the protagonist goes about executing it. It is packaged as a political satire & does have genuine humourous sequences in the first half. But the major flaw of this movie is that it totally depends on Lalettan's yesteryear blockbusters to garner the audience's applause. I found it quite enjoyable for some time, but after a point it kinda got boring. The second half was depressing as it lagged quite a bit before eventually culminating in a damp climax. 

As for other technical aspects, Arora's music was mediocre & the VFX at the end was pathetic considering the amount of money they had invested. However, the visuals were rich & colorful for which Aravind Krishna needs to be commended.

Lalettan is the heart & soul of the movie as it is nothing more than an extravagant advertisement of "Brand Lalettan" with numerous spoofs being witness to that. He has done complete justice to the role & the look that he had used in this movie was damn good. Baburaj does score at numerous instances while Aju Varghese makes his presence felt in the Mission Impossible spoof. Vijay Babu was average while the Badai Bunglow duo, Mukesh & Ramesh Pisharody was fine. The female lead played by Ragini Nandwani had a beautiful face but seemed a misfit. 

Verdict: There is no doubt that the film will garner a humongous initial considering the number of release centers both in India & abroad. A significant portion of the first half will have the audience in splits, but repeated cliches dulls the experience. In short, for a film that states to keep our logic at home I expected an outright laugh riot which it fails to provide. Anywaz it wont hurt to give a try!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben

Munnariyippu review: "Climax does make sense of the title!!!"

It's been about a week since "Munnariyippu" had hit the screens but since I have been strapped for time, I wasn't able to pen down my thoughts about it. I am sure most of you would have heard by now that it's fantastic & quite distinct from the manner it has been treated as opposed to the ones that are being dished out. It's unique for sure but did it work for me...hmm, well not as much. So why was the experience not so awe inspiring for me???


 Anjali Arakkal (Aparna Gopinath) is a free lance journalist, who sustained herself as a competent ghost writer...but her ultimate aim was to make a name for herself in the journalism world as she had the talent & panache for it. On the behest of an eminent journalist, KK (Prathap Pothen) she was entrusted with the task of being the ghost writer for the Jail Superintendent, Rama Murthy (Nedumudi Venu). Her interactions with the Superintendent led her to get acquainted with C K Raghavan (Mammootty), a convict jailed for a double homicide. However, Raghavan's insistence that he was innocent & his philosophical comments, stirs the journalistic instincts in Anjali & she runs a feature on him in a leading magazine which wins her a great deal of accolades. But when a leading book firm offers her a handsome contract for Raghavan's autobiography, little did she realize as to what she has got herself into.

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Venu, is one name which doesn't need any introduction as he is a cinematographer par excellence & had been honoured with the National Award thrice. He has already tried his hand in direction with the interesting "Daya" which happened more than a decade back. So when he announced his second venture, it did generate a great deal of interest & expectations. The main highlight of the movie is Venu's script itself that is devoid of any kind of filmy gimmicks or masala, in short a stark depiction of life. Another aspect that I absolutely loved were the dialogues which were thought provoking at times. However, there are numerous instances where I kinda felt the film was sluggish as barely nothing happens for long periods of time. The climax was good & made sense of the previous scenes but still I would have preferred a more engaging screenplay.

Mammootty absolutely rocked as the protagonist as he breathed life into the character in a convincing manner. His constant admission of innocence, wry smile & insightful observations of life seemed absolutely realistic. After numerous pathetic scripts, he finally lands with one which does make use of his acting skills. Aparna Gopinath was equally impressive & stands toe to toe with Mammookka. The remaining cast was also aptly chosen be it Nedumudi Venu, Renji Panicker, Joy Mathew etc; but I felt Prithviraj's guest appearance didnt make much sense as it had no impact whatsoever.

Verdict: With the Onam releases hitting the screens from today, the collection of the film could get severely dented. It might not be palatable for some as the film does drag at times & requires the audience to assimilate many of the sequences. From a personal point of view, I absolutely loved the climax but would have preferred a more engaging buildup!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Apothecary review: "Realistic portrayal of how an unfortunate few becomes nothing more than guinea pigs!!!"

It's almost 3 weeks since "Apothecary" had hit the screens & I happened to hear quite good reviews about it which naturally increased my curiosity. Finally I got to watch it a week back & though writing a review now wont make much sense, I still feel that since the script is based on the Medical profession I need to enlighten my colleagues as to what I felt about it being from the same background. 


Dr. Vijay Nambiar (Suresh Gopi) is a renowned neurosurgeon of the multi-speciality Apothecary hospital, who had met with a fatal accident rendering him comatosed. As the doctors pondered over the bleak prognosis of his condition, one of his patients Subin Joseph (Jayasurya) pays him a visit. Though Dr. Vijay was oblivious to what was happening around him, Subin narrates his experience in the very same hospital when he was brought there to him for treatment. Dr. Vijay Nambiar had saved numerous lives in his career with his expertise which earned him a great deal of fame, prosperity & good will. But he was also forced to indulge in unethical medical practices at the behest of the hospital administration which proved to be a horrendous experience for the unfortunate few. Even Subin was a victim of this ordeal but will Dr. Vijay ever get an opportunity to rectify the mistakes that he had committed???

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After having impressed one & all with his debut venture "Melvilasam", Madhav Ramadasan is back with a bang with an absolute beauty. The film delves into the psyche of the doctor & is interspersed with images from the after life. Madhav provides us with a peek into the business world of the Medical profession where a set of lab tests & scans are a part of standard procedure rather than absolute necessity. The screenplay cohesively lays out the story & we cant help having a lump in the throat at numerous instances. Equally impressive were Hari Nair's visuals & Sheikh Elahi's background score which is both enchanting and encompasses the mood of the film.

It's true that the script is the backbone of any film, but in order for it to make a lasting effect on the audience it has to be enacted by an apt choice of artists & Madhav has hits the bull's eye on that. After maintaining a low profile on screen for the past few years, Suresh Gopi has made a supreme comeback in a performance which will rank as one of the best in his career & his dialogue delivery in the climax was fantastic. The same goes with Jayasurya for his dedication to get into the skin of the character both physically & emotionally. If "Spirit" recongnised the actor in Nandu, then this film has done the same for Indrans as it showcased how brilliant an actor he is. Asif Ali in an extended cameo role has also done a commendable job. As for the rest of the cast, all of them have done their roles aptly.

Verdict: The film is slowly turning out to be a hit & truly deserves so. This portrayal is in no way meant to demean the Medical Profession or to categorize all hospitals and doctors of belonging to the same flock. As Jayasurya says in the movie "We always bargain in markets but never in hospitals"; it's high time that we as doctors dont succumb to such heinous practices & spoil the name of our noble profession. In short, if any of my friends have missed it especially my Medicine batchmates, you guys definitely have to check it out!!!

Rating: 3.75/5

Regards...Ben


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Avatharam review: "Success likely to elude Joshy yet again!!!"

It might sound weird but whenever I see Dileep's films it kinda reminds me of Salman, for the simple reason that all their recent movies are box office blockbusters though it has been panned by the critics. Salman doesn't even have an ounce of Dileep's caliber but both of them know what the fan wants & they churn it out relentlessly. It's common knowledge that humour is Dileep's forte but his latest venture with Joshy in "Avatharam" has him in an action avatar. So can he replicate his success in this genre as well???


Madhavan (Dileep) is a native of Bison Valley who comes over to Cochin accompanying his sis in law and niece following the death of his brother and customs officer, Sudhakaran (Ganesh). As he runs from pillar to pillar to obtain the death claim, he soon realizes that his brother was the victim of foul play & not otherwise as the police had proclaimed. With the police hand in glove with the gangsters, Madhavan realizes that he has got his task cut out as one wrong move would jeopardize the lives of his dear & near ones. So how he goes about his plan forms the crux of the movie.

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So after reading the plot, many of you would be wondering what's so unique about this & that's exactly the problem with Vyasan Edavanakad's script. Neither does it offer anything refreshing nor is the treatment different, as it lacked any knock out moments which would grip our attention. Joshy has been a maestro in action thrillers for decades but in recent times, he has been severely let down by the quality of the scripts be it "Salaam Kashmir", "Lokpal" & now this. 

With a running time of close to 2.40 hrs, it does test the patience of the audience & I wish Shyam Sasidharan had done a better job at the editing table. As for other aspects, Deepak Dev's music was average while Rajasekhar's efforts behind the camera didnt have much to laud about. 

Dileep has done what was expected of him but with such a lack luster script there is a limit to how much he can offer. Lakshmi Menon, a known face in the Tamil industry was fine while Sijoy Varghese as ACP was fantastic and will be the one to look out for in the future. As for the rest, they merely made up the numbers as they had nothing more than smirk wickedly & get slashed in the end.

Verdict: This is by no means anywhere close to "Runway, borne out of the same Joshy-Dileep combo which I consider as the best Dileep action film. Frankly speaking, I was damn bored towards the end & I couldnt resist myself a couple of chuckles seeing the amateurish action choreography. Being Dileep's movie it might work at the box office but I doubt so this time around. Anywaz it didnt work for me !!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Vikramadithyan review: "Lal's magic turns an average script into a winner!!!"

It's been a hiatus since I have been active in my blog primarily due to my PhD thesis submission & secondly due to a dearth of films owing to Ramadan. Anywaz both have come to a pleasant conclusion & as always, my idea of relaxation was to check out some movie; after all the pressure of thesis submission had taken its toll on me. As I was contemplating which to watch, the one which took my fancy was Lal Jose's "Vikramadithyan" which had an impressive cast & crew. So will it emerge triumphant or run into rough weather like Lal Jose's world tour???


Vikraman (Unni Mukundan) & Adithyan (Dulquer) are childhood friends whose innate nature to outperform the other always took centre stage and more so, when their lives were intertwined well before their birth. Vikraman's father Vasudev (Anoop Menon) nurtured feelings for Adithyan's mother Lakshmi (Lena), but that relation never reached the altar as destiny had other plans. Another bonding factor between the two friends was Deepika (Namitha Pramod), whose love and supportive presence motivated Adi to strive harder as he competed for the SI selection. But things took a turn as Adi's name was found mysteriously missing from the selection list inspite of a commendable physical test. So was it just ill fortune or was there more than what meets the eye???

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The presence of Lal Jose & Dr. Iqbal Kuttipuram does raise expectations after all their track record boasts of "Arabikatha" & "Diamond Necklace". Unfortunately, this time around Iqbal's script flounders though the intention was noble as it culminates in a good climax. Lal Jose's ability to make something worthwhile from a mediocre script was evident in "Pullipulikalum Aatinkutiyum"& it's pretty much the same feeling that I got, though the script was relatively better here. The first half does have some humorous moments but overall it does make the audience feel a shade bored while the latter half picks up the tempo and interests the crowd.

On the technical side, the positioning of the songs was kinda weird as it felt more like a medley but Jomon's visuals more than made up for it as it was aptly shot.  Bijibal has done an average job with the music though "Mazhanila..." rendered by Najim & Soumya deserves praise.

With each passing film, Dulquer Salman is expanding his fan base with his endearing performances. He has done complete justice to the role as he essays the impulsive brooding under-dog character with elan. However, the person who really bowled me over was Unni Mukundan as I always considered him nothing more than a stone faced body builder; but he was fantastic as Vikraman & showed that in the hands of a good director he does have the skills to act. Namitha Pramod has done a decent job as well as she makes for a pleasing presence but she will have to work on the emotional scenes. Anoop Menon & Lena were both fantastic in their respective roles while Nivin Pauly continues his Midas's touch with a cameo.

Verdict: Though I got to watch the film just now, it has been released a week back and the reports suggests it has hit the bull's eye. Well I am not surprised as it makes for an entertaining watch especially the second half. Anywaz Lal Jose has got yet another hit!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben