Saturday, February 21, 2015

Haram review: "Viewing the film didnt provide much haram!!!"

Along with "Fireman", another movie that had hit the screens was Fahad's "Haram" which seemed like that he was back to his trademark "bermuda & coffee mug" style. Thanks to the Windies as they wrapped up Pakistan in quick time meant I could make it to the theater for the noon show. From the trailer it seemed like a take on modern relationships, but the question was whether it had anything new to offer or will it be as abysmal as Pakistan's performance???


Balu (Fahad Fazil) & Isha (Radhika Apte) were colleagues in a leading BPO firm based in Bangalore. The latter was recovering from a broken affair & she found solace in Balu as his logical ideologies appealed to her bruised feelings. But no sooner had they tied the knot they start to wonder whether it was a decision that was taken in haste as Isha realizes that she found it hard to adjust to Balu's convictions. So will they be able to rekindle their romance or is divorce the only option???

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After showcasing his skills as an editor, Vinod Sukumaran tries his hand in direction & for a start, he shows promise but with a much more compelling script unlike the one he has scripted here. His take on modern day relationships was pretty realistic & some of the intellectual statements made by Fahad showed Vinod's insight in the topic. The major flaw of the movie is the sluggish pace as virtually nothing worthwhile happens throughout & in order to spruce up proceedings, Vinod included a parallel track as well which made it even more irksome. Satheesh Kurup needs to be commended for the striking visuals & choice of locales. In the music department, Thaikuddam Bridge's effort didn't quite appeal to my senses while the additional responsibilities on Vinod meant his editing faltered.

Both Fahad & Radhika has done fine jobs with the roles entrusted to them & even their chemistry worked quite well. However, the lack of substance in the script meant they were kinda handicapped, anywaz I wont be surprised to see Radhika pretty soon in an other Malayalam flick. As for the rest, Rajshri Deshpande, Sreekumar & Sagarika were aptly chosen.

Verdict: The manner in which the film has been marketed will imply that it would appeal only to a niche audience. This effectively reduces its chances at the box office & with a script which meanders along at a sluggish pace, it's probably doomed in all likelihood. In short, the lead pair has delivered but the script fails to !!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben


Fireman review: "Decent tribute but could have been a whole lot better!!!"

After numerous postponements, Mammookka's "Fireman" has finally released this weekend just as the World Cup fever is slowly catching up. With the board exams also in the next few weeks, it was imperative that it was released as soon as possible if it harboured any hopes of making some collection at the box office. The film's USP is surely the Kerala Fire Force, which incidentally hasn't been made the central theme in our movies as far as I know. So was this movie a worthy tribute for for our fire brigade???


Life was as usual at the fire force but this was a special day for them as their senior officer, Lakshmanan Pillai (P Sreekumar)  after having served 30 years had come in to take charge for one last time. Elsewhere in the city, a father (Salim Kumar) in visible distress was frantically searching for his missing daughter. The lukewarm reception that he received from the Police made him hysterical which eventually led him to an accident with a LPG tanker that overturns with dire consequences. The fire brigade is called in but their initial efforts to secure the tanker backfires & it claims the life of Pillai. As the Police Force also makes their presence felt, a  clash of egos issues but better sense prevails as the commanding officer of the fire brigade, Vijay (Mammookka) is made in charge of the mission. So can Vijay save the day before it claimed more lives as the situation worsened by the second???

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This venture was helmed by Deepu Karunakaran whose past track record hasn't been particularly impressive with movies like "Winter", "Crazy Gopalan" etc. However, the subject that he has chosen for this movie deserves praise & to a certain extent he has done justice to it as well. Though the basic plot seems fine, it's the manner in which it is being resolved that juts out clumsily. But credit to Deepu that inspite of amateurishness in many frames of the rescue mission; it still doesn't bore the audience completely. As for the technical aspects, the special effects showcased in the movie was downright pathetic & one cant help wonder as to why more attention wasn't paid to it. Saajan has done a credible job with the editing while Rahul Raj's BGM was fine.

Mammookka has done a decent job as the protagonist but it couldnt be deemed challenging apart from maybe lifting the weights. Both Nyla Usha & Siddique has done justice to their roles while Unni Mukundan could have been better. Salim Kumar who handles an important role looks quite emancipated & doesnt quite deliver the goods that we know he is capable of. 

Verdict: Mammookka hasn't had a major release since "Varsham" & so there is bound to be a sense of expectation apart from the fact that the theme is pretty novel. Deepu has done a decent job in the direction but there are some serious lapses in the script which will hamper its chances at the box office. It's surely not a tribute of the highest quality that the fire brigade richly deserves for their selfless service, but it's still worth a watch for its noble intentions!!!

Rating: 2.25/5

Regards...Ben


Monday, February 16, 2015

Mili review: "Hits the right notes!!!"

The quadrennial cricket tournament got off to a roaring start & with Team India prevailing over the arch rivals yet again to make it 6-0 in World Cups, it meant films will have to take a back seat for the next few weeks. However, this weekend saw the release of "Mili" in Bangalore almost a fortnight after it was released (only God knows as to why the distributors had released it so late here). Well since the movie had already garnered positive responses it naturally coaxed me to check it out.


Mili (Amala Paul) was a person who suffered from low self esteem which stemmed from the fact that she lacked confidence in whatever she pursued. It wasn't as if this happened over night but rather it was the culmination of years of frustration due to her inability to shine & rise upto the expectations of her father. Being an introvert & submissive, Mili failed to gel with her hostel mates & before long she also lost her job as a kindergarten teacher. As always, she sought the help of Nancy (Praveena), a family friend & former student of Mili's father, to help her out of the mess. Things take a turn when Nancy's brother, Naveen (Nivin Pauly), a HR trainer instills in Mili the confidence to sort out her problems & take on the life's challenges by the scruff. But did she have it in her to practically execute his advice???

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It's been almost 4 years since Rajeev Pillai's "Traffic" had released, a movie which started the trend of the so called "new generation" movies (both good & bad) or more appropriately movies with fresh creative scripts. So when "Mili" was announced, there was a palpable sense of hype & all the more so, thanks to the catchy promotional video. As expected, he has come up with an impressive movie which was scripted by Mahesh Narayanan, who deserves the accolades coming his way. Though the film concludes in a predictable manner with a sermon by the protagonist, the build up towards it had the audience interested. Gopi Sundar deserves credit for some soothing numbers with Manppathamey rendered by Shaan Rehman being my personal favourite. As for other technical aspects, it seemed apt.

Amala Paul has done a brilliant job as the protagonist & this will surely rank as one of the best in her career along with "Myna". Nivin Pauly has done a fine job in a supporting role without going over the top & belongs to those rare category of actors who seems at ease (& also acceptable for the audience) be it as the lead or as the supporting cast. As for the rest, all of them have done a fine job be it Saikumar (who as always rocks), Praveena, Ambika, Sanuja etc.

Verdict: There is no surprise as to why this movie is still racking in decent numbers at the box office as it endears to the audience. It doesnt have a "wow' factor, but there is something about the script which keeps us entertained. So in case you have missed it, dont hesitate to check it out!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben




Monday, February 9, 2015

Yennai Arindhaal review: "Entertaining albeit with an unmistakable sense of dejavu!!!"

Among the various Indian cop films that I had watched, the ones that had really impressed me were "Kaakha Kaakha" & "Vettayadu Vilayadu" both of which were directed by Gautham Menon. So when he had announced his latest venture & that too with the charismatic "Thala" Ajith in the lead; the expectations had sky rocketed. Well it's kinda hard to always live upto expectations but the initial signs has been more than promising with some captivating promos & posters. Hmm, seems like he has hit the bull's eye or has he???


Satyadev (Ajith) is an upright tough cop who had gone through a lot in his life & though his losses made him question his choices, there was no denying that it strengthened his resolve to bring the outlaws to justice. It all began with the death of his father by a gangster, who meant the world to him. Though he sought to seek revenge, he decided to do so by being part of the law. His latest mission involved protecting Thenmozhi (Anushka Shetty), a co-passenger he had met on a flight. As Satyadev tries to crack the case, it becomes evident that it was linked to his past as well. So who were they & what were they after???

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It's been quite some time since Gautham Menon had a serious hit & so it was imperative that "Yennai Arindhaal" bring his hey days back. There is no doubt that the film is engaging as it takes a look into the life of the protagonist right from his formative years as opposed to just an episode from his life. However, there are unmistakable resemblances with his other cops movies with regard to his love life, the significance of his father & how that portion eventually pans out. So in effect, it gives you a sense of dejavu & makes you impatiently move around in your seat. But inspite of that we still feel entertained & the whole credit for that goes to "Thala" & the antagonist essayed by Arun Vijay. As for other technical aspects, Harris Jayaraj doesn't quite rediscover his form with an average sound track though the BGM was damn good. The stunt choreography was well executed while Dan Macarthur has done a fine job with the visuals; however, Antony ought to have done a better job with his editing as it lags at many sequences.

The presence of "Thala" has taken the film to a whole new level, coz if it wasn't for him, Gautham would have really struggled at the box office. Ajith was brilliant in the all the different avatars that he appears be it the lover, father, cop or gangster & he seemed at ease projecting the emotions, keeping the star in him at check. Standing upto a charismatic star like Ajith is no mean task, but Arun Vijay has done a wonderful job & leaves a lasting impression. Even though Trisha had a limited screen space lasting maybe 10 mins or so, she really made it count with an impressive performance while Anushka Shetty's role didnt quite have the depth for her to shine. As for the rest, all of them have done an apt job.

Verdict: "Thala" is known to be the king of initials & the story will be the same here as well as the box-office bells are bound to ring like crazy for some time. The performances has been brilliant from both Ajith & Arun, however the script doesnt quite provide the twists that we were accustomed to in Gautham's other flicks. In short, it's definitely entertaining but as the title says "If you know Gautham"...you know what's going to happen!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shamitabh review: "Impressive performances let down by a mediocre latter half!!!"

Big B's appearance on the 70 mm screen has been far & few, so it was quite natural that there is a tremendous deal of hype & anticipation surrounding his latest release "Shamitabh". The promos has been awesome as the Amitabh-Danush combo seemed quite interesting & with Balki calling the shots, it seemed like a recipe for success. So were the promos a true reflection of the final product???


The film unfolds with the premiere of "Lifebuoy", the debut release of Shamitabh alias Daanish (Danush) the latest sensation in Bollywood. So how did a bus conductor from a small village manage to make his mark in the film industry??? If that was astonishing enough, Daanish had a much bigger secret which the media didn't know & that he was mute. Daanish's obsession for films began right from his childhood & his dreams landed him in Mumbai, but as expected his handicap proved to be his stumbling block. One of his altercations with the studio people caught the eye of the assistant director, Akshara (Akshara Hasan) who seeing the potential in him, promises to help him out. With the help of medical technology, Daanish was able to speak but it required the help of another individual. Eventually their search for an apt voice led them to Amitabh Sinha (Big B), an irritable drunkard with a formidable baritone who lived in a cemetery. Their combination was an absolute winner as the audience lapped it up, but their bloated egos was getting in the way of their success. So will they be able to keep their egos in check???

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R Balki had enthralled the audience with his previous ventures be it "Cheeni Kum" or "Paa", the latter even winning Big B his 3rd National Award (which I felt Lalettan deserved more for "Thanmatra"). Even in his latest endeavour, the film starts off in a promising manner with the master stroke being the interactions between Danush & Big B which were hilarious. However after that initial buildup, the script just meanders along aimlessly offering nothing new before culminating in a rather predictable climax. The legend, Illayaraja had composed the music which interestingly happened to be his 999th album & to be frank, it wasn't great though I absolutely loved the title track rendered by Caralisa Monteiro. P. C Sreeram has done a fine job with the visuals while Hemanti Sarkar could have done a better job with the editing.

The legend, Big B has done a brilliant job & will be in pole position to sweep all the awards once this year comes to an end. Danush has done a fine job as he has been really effective in conveying his emotions without his voice. Add to that, it's quite difficult to match upto a doyen like AB & he has done that with elan. Inspite of being a debutant, Akshara Hasan has done a decent job & augurs well for the future. 

Verdict: With no major releases in the horizon, "Shamitabh" should be able to rake in a decent amount of moolah. The film does have its share of flaws with a rather mediocre & repetitive latter half, which will surely hamper the viewing experience. However, it is still worth a watch for Big B's performance!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben