Thursday, April 23, 2015

OK Kanmani review: " Saying just ok would be an understatement!!!"

Amid much hype & expectations, Mani Ratnam's "O Kadhal Kanmani" aka "OK Kanmani" has hit the screens. The hoopla might sound a bit over the top, but it's kinda justified after all the maestro has given us gems in the past though his recent track record hasn't done justice to his caliber. With Rahman's music topping the charts, it has been in the wishlist of most of the movie lovers. So was it vintage Mani Ratnam on offer???


Adhi (Dulquer Salmaan), a game programmer has relocated to Mumbai & as he awaited his buddies to pick him up; he happened to lay his eyes on Tara (Nithya Menen), an architect who seemed to be in a rather weird situation. They meet again at a common friend's wedding & hit off famously right from the word go. Both of them shared similar views with regard to the institution of marriage & decides to take their relation to the next level by opting for a live in relationship. Incidentally, Adhi resided in his brother's ex-colleague's apartment, Ganapathy (Prakash Raj) who sternly disapproved of Tara shifting in with Adhi. However, he gives in eventually as his wife Bhavani (Leela Samson), a carnatic singer but presently an Alzheimer's patient takes a liking for Tara. So will Adhi & Tara be able to remain aloof of their feelings or will they realise that a relationship like the one which Ganapathy & Bhavani shares is what makes life worthwhile???


Mani Ratnam is well & truly back with a bang after a string of low key ventures like "Kadal", "Raavan"etc.  What makes this movie click is the manner in which he has captured both the relationships be it the one within the institution of marriage or the "live in" relationship. He hasn't taken sides & leaves it to the audience as to who they would actually root for...but believe me, you cant help feeling for the older couple. Both the halves proceeds in a rather leisurely manner & culminates in a predictable climax, but it doesn't actually make us look at our watches . Apart from Mani, there are two other individuals from the technical side who has made this movie such a pleasurable experience. P. C Sreeram's visuals was brilliant & adds to the feel of the movie while AR Rahman as always comes up with catchy tracks for Mani, with "Mental Manadhil" likely to be in loop in many of the music systems.

Dulquer was fantastic as the uber cool dude & seemed an absolute natural in the role. As for Nithya Menen, she was awesome as she exudes oomph & confidence in ample measure. Just as it has been in "Usthad Hotel" & "100 Days of Life", their sizzling chemistry works wonders for the movie. Prakash Raj as always acted as if he owned the character which very few actors manage to do while Leela Samson was also equally impressive. The rest of the cast, have also done a fine job.

Verdict: The brand value of Mani Ratnam, the catchy promos & sound tracks guaranteed a crunching initial for the movie. Well the content & the manner in which it has been executed in all departments, will make it an absolute favourite among the audience for the next few weeks. In short, dont try to compare it with other Mani Ratnam movies & you would surely enjoy it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben




Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ivan Maryadaraman review: "Makers had no maryada for the audience's patience!!!"

After a hiatus, I finally got to check out a Malayalam movie first day first show in my hometown. It happened to be Dileep's gift for this holiday season in the form of "Ivan Maryadaraman". Surprisingly, it was far from being houseful even though it was a weekend & also keeping in mind of the fact that the family audiences traditionally flock to the theaters whenever his film hit the screens. Frankly speaking, I have been kinda apprehensive of Dileep's movies in the past few years as it has been invariably mediocre. So was this any different or the usual run of the mill???


The film unfolds about 30 years back in Ramapuram & Ravanapuram, two villages which was involved in a serious tussle over the ownership of a temple in their locality. When discussions failed to break the deadlock, both the parties resorted to violence which eventually saw the death of Rudurasimhan, brother of Ravanapuram's village head Narasimhan & Veerabhadran, the village head of Ramapuram. This incites Narasimhan who pledges to take the life of Veerabhadran's son if he ever laid foot on the land. In the present day, Veera's son Ramu (Dileep) is working in a rice mill in Pune & being oblivious of the past, he sets off to Ramapuram to claim the money that his father had deposited on his behalf in the post office. So will Ramu ever make it back alive from this forsaken land???

This venture has been helmed by a debutant, Suresh Divakar who have resorted to remake the Telugu film "Maryada Ramanna" which in itself was inspired from the silent film "Our Hospitality". Though I havent seen the original I had the misfortune of watching its Hindi remake "Son of Sardar" which was pathetic to say the least. Actually the manner in which this has been made (with regard to the customs, costumes, songs etc) made me feel as to why they even bothered to make it in Malayalam as a dubbed version of the Telugu film would have imparted the same effect. The screenplay by the Uday-Siby duo was pedestrian as they fail to make it interesting apart from a couple of humorous sequences in the train. None of the technical aspects deserves special mention, as Gopi Sundar's music was average while Johnkutty ought to have used his scissors to good effect as it lags at many places & the length of the movie does test our patience.

In the performance department, I fail to understand as to why Dileep wants to keep repeating his stereotypical roles. Unless he tries out something different, I wont be surprised if I see more empty seats in the theaters. The chemistry with Nikki Galrani does work but she needs to work on her acting skills as it seemed artificial at times. As for the rest of the cast, they have done a decent job be it the person who portrayed Narasimhan, Kailash, Saju Navodaya etc.

Verdict: Among the Vishu-Easter releases that has hit the screens in the past fortnight, it wouldnt be prudent to accept the fact that this is the weakest among the lot. Well Dileep has always proved his critics wrong as his movies have amassed collections that defied expectations, maybe it might happen again. However, I would rather suggest to check it out on TV & that too, only if you have time!!!

Rating: 1.75/5

Regards...Ben





Friday, April 3, 2015

100 days of love review: "Even the target audience wont find it appealing enough!!!"

Among the Vishu-Easter releases, the first one that had hit the screens was "100 Days of Love", however due to reasons which I mentioned earlier, I got to check it out only y'day. Being Good Friday, the church service was till evening which rounded up with the sumptuous "kanji & payar" & so it was only now that I found time to write the review. Though many of my friends have already seen it, I just wanted to convey as to what I felt about the directorial debut of Jenuse (or more prominently known as the son of the veteran director, Kamal). So will he be able to emerge from the shadow of his illustrious father???


Balan K Nair aka BKN (Dulquer Salman) is a feature writer of a prominent tabloid in Bangalore, who was recently dumped by his girlfriend. Just as he was coming to terms with it, he bumps into a beautiful damsel on a rainy night & Cupid strikes him yet again. But as fate would have it, he barely got an opportunity to talk to her as she vanishes as soon as she appeared. Along with the help of his buddy, Ummar (Sekhar Menon), a gaming buff; he sets out in search for her. After numerous failed attempts, Balan eventually gets to meet Sheela (Nithya Menen); but there were a couple of unsavory twists that awaited him. So will Balan be unlucky yet again???

Jenuse Mohammed had burst into the scene as a breath of fresh air as evidenced by the manner in which he has executed the movie.  However, I feel he should have paid more attention to the script as it doesnt quite have the "wow" factor which would have hooked us onto it. But the frames, locales & influence of Western classics on him has been given careful thought which makes it kinda unique for the Malayali audience. The film is likely to cater to only an urban niche audience though I feel even they wont be fully satisfied. From a technical point of view, the visuals by Pratheesh Varma was fantastic with the lighting, sepia & halo effect imparting the right feel; Govind Menon's music was fine & equally impressive was its picturisation though it seemed like a music video rather than part of the film. Sandeep Kumar should have made the film crispier especially since much matter wasn't showcased in the 150 mins. Last but not the least, hats off to Riaz Whitemarker for the excellent media designs.

Dulquer Salman seems to be a natural when it comes to roles like these & he has once again aced it. Nitya Menen was a perfect choice for the character & she has done utmost justice to her role. As in "Ustaad Hotel", their chemistry sizzles here as well which is the primary reason why this film works. Sekhar Menon has done a decent job along with Vineeth, Praveena & Rahul Madhav.

Verdict: A significant portion of the collection would be coming from the cities as it's unlikely to appeal to one & all. Since it was the first to hit the screens, I presume it would have recovered its cost by now. However, from a personal point of view Jenuse surely exhibits that he has got what it takes to be among the top tier but his debut venture doesnt quite floor me!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben

Thursday, April 2, 2015

You Too Brutus review: "Posters & promos can be deceiving!!!"

On the auspicious occasion of Maundy Thursday, I would like to wish all my fellow beings a blessed Pesaha. As many of you would be aware, it was on this fateful night that Judas had betrayed our Lord, Jesus Christ. So it's kind of ironic that the subject that the movie "You Too Brutus" focused on was also betrayal. Even though it's been almost a fortnight since it had hit the screens, I got to check it out just y'day as it didn't release in Bangalore. Actually the promos & the posters was damn impressive, so it naturally increased my expectations. So did those gimmicks betray my faith???


Hari (Sreenivasan) was at loggerheads with his brother Abhi (Asif Ali) as the latter had married against his wishes to Aparna (Rachana Narayanankutty). Though Abhi & Aparna were on the same page in most matters, her strong disapproval of smokers (occasionally bordering on obsession) at times strained their relation. To make matters worse, Abhi gets into an extra marital affair with Shirly (Honey Rose), a model & aspiring singer. In the meantime, Hari shared his abode with a host of other individuals each one unique in their own manner & with their own share of problems. Vicky (Anu Mohan), a fashion photographer dreams of settling down with his girl friend, while Arun (Ahmed Siddiqui), an IT professional coaxes his North Indian minor girlfriend to elope with him. Then we have Tovino (Tovino Thomas), a gym instructor who advises their cook, Unni (Sudhi Koppa) on ways as to how to get laid. So does each one manage to resolve their problems??? Well that forms the crux of the movie.

It's been quite some since Roopesh Peethambaran's debut venture "Theevram" had hit the screens & I do have to say it was quite an engaging dark thriller though it failed to create ripples at the box office. His latest offing, takes on the subject of deceit & betrayal and showcases as to how it has become an inevitable part in many relations. Well to be fair to him, the idea was good but he failed to execute it in a cohesive manner. The film seemed disjointed & somehow the novelty fails to make its presence felt. Coming to the technical aspects, adequate attention was paid to it be it Abhinav's editing & Swaroop's visuals while Roby Abraham's music was mediocre and seemed like appendages rather than being blended. A special mention for the brilliant poster designs which catches the eye.

Among the huge cast, the one that had impressed me the most was Tovino who was hilarious to the core with his antics as it emphasized that he was more of brawn than brains. Sreenivasan seemed more like his old self while Sudhi Koppa was an apt choice as the cook. As for the rest, Asif Ali, Anu Mohan, Rachana, Honey Rose etc., have all done a decent job.

Verdict: Incidentally it turned out that yday was the last day that it was screened in Kollam. So I guess it provides more than ample proof that it didn't quite get the response that the makers would have hoped for. To be frank, I wasn't surprised since Roopesh wasn't able to execute his idea in an engaging manner. In short, the humor does work at a number of sequences but apart from that it doesn't offer anything!!!

Rating: 2/5

Regards...Ben

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ennum Eppozhum review: "Falls well short of expectations!!!"

Last couple of days has been hectic for me as I was busy wrapping up my commitments in IISc & so barely got time to write the review for Lalettan's "Ennum Eppozhum" though I had watched it on Saturday. Anywaz finally I have reached the comfort of my home & decided to type down what I felt about the movie after all there was immense expectations about it. To be frank, even I had harbored hopes after all it saw the coming together of the hit pair of Lalettan & Manju Warrier. So was it worth the wait???


Vineeth M Pillai (Lalettan) is a talented & seasoned reporter of a leading women's magazine, who had the gift of penmanship but lacked professionalism. This irked his new boss Kalyani (Reenu Mathews) which naturally led to a couple of tiffs between the two. In a bid to cash in on the anniversary issue of the magazine, Kalyani assigns Vineeth to interview Adv, Deepa (Manju Warrier), an independent single mother who has been in the news for pulling up the authorities on the sorry state of the roads in the city. Well it was much easier said than done as Deepa wasn't keen to be interviewed. So how will Vineeth convince her for the interview as his reputation was on the line???

Over the years, Sathyan Anthikad has given the audience some brilliant movies but things hasnt been quite promising in the recent past. It's pretty much a similar scenario here as well with the story by Raveendran (actor) barely having anything worthwhile. Even Ranjan Pramod fails to weave an engaging screenplay like the ones that he had created for Sathyan in "Achuvinte Amma" or "Manassinakkare". This in effect took away the sheen of the much expected pairing of Lalettan & Manju. However, the humorous exchanges between Lalettan & Gregory does manage to evoke laughs though Renji Paniker's so called "antagonistic" character was nothing short of pathetic. As for other technical aspects, it seemed fine but not worth mentioning specifically.

Lalettan has done a fantastic job as the protagonist & carries the film even when the script doesnt offer anything interesting. Manju Warrier has done a fine job as well with the character that was given to her. As for the supporting cast most of them have done justice to their roles be it Lena, Innocent, Gregory or Minon. 

Verdict: There is no doubt that the pairing of Lalettan & Manju, would have evoked memories of "Kanmadhan", "Aaram Thamburan" etc & entice the audience to barge in. However, this is a venture which is nowhere in that league. In short, it's a decent one time but definitely falls well short of expectations!!!

Rating: 2.5/5

Regards...Ben