Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vettaikaran: Same old story, retold!

Once upon a time there was a small town boy named Ravi. Friends call him Police Ravi as he is a hardcore worshipper of Devaraj, a courageous police officer. Ravi dreams to become an IPS officer and after successfully completing +2 (after 4 tries), he joins the same college where his hero had studied. During his journey from hometown to college, he meets a beautiful girl named Susheela and manages to be the pet of her family. Thanks to duet songs at beautiful locations, he was able to convince the girl to be his love mate. But good time always has to end. A local gunda named Chella lays eye on Ravi’s friend Uma and Ravi has to fight against him. Furious Ravi sends Chella to hospital and there comes Vedanayagam, Chella’s father, to the front run. Vedanayagam, so-called owner of Chennai city, tells Ravi that it is “fear of Vedanayagam” which made him to win the power and money. Ravi decides to fight against Vedanayagam exploiting the same fear factor. Things become gripping when Devaraj, who has lost his family and eyes – thanks to same goon, also joins Ravi in the fight.

How many movies have told us the same story? I could not count…! AVM Productions’ Vettaikaran, directed by debundant B. Babusivan and starred by Ilaya Dalapati Vijay, also tells the same story, with nothing new to offer in terms of narration.

Vettaikaran is out and out a Vijay movie. And he is the only sparkling element of this movie and thanks to him, the movie doesn’t slips to the boredom mode. Vijay looks the same as in his old movies and delivers the same level of performance. No doubt, Police Ravi will not be remembered for a long time.

Anushka looks okay but lacks on screen chemistry with Vijay. She manages the navel show with numerous other junior artists during the song sequences and, in the end, delivers an unimpressive performance.

Ravishankar is loud and overreactive as the baddie Chella, so is Srihari as Devaraj. Salim Ghouse is good as Vedanayagam. In the midst of deafening characters, his half-smiley face is a relief.

Sayaji Shinde as the good turned bad cop Kattabomman delivers some funny moments. Manobala as the journalist, Sukumari as the grand mother, Sanchitha Padukone as Uma, Srinath and Sathyan as Ravi’s friends makes no impression in this hero centric movie.

Babusivan’s screenplay with many loose ends and cliché’s is fortunately seamless and along with V. T. Vijayan’s editing and Gopinath’s camera lives up to the requirements. Vijay Antony’s scores leave no mark except for 'Puli Urumbudhu' which is an inevitable fast number for the star’s fans.

In a nut shell, Babusivan has made a movie which has marked his arrival as a director and would satisfy bare minimum requirements for Vijay fans, but for a movie lover this one does not deliver anything new or entertaining.

Recommendation: Wait for Vettaikaran’s TV premiere.

Labels: Vettaikaran, Vijay, Cinema, ദൃശ്യന്‍, വേട്ടക്കാരന്‍, വിജയ്, തമിഴ് സിനിമ

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Neelathamara - നീലത്താമര

Saw Neelathamara teaser today in Asianet News. A short interview with al Jose was also there.
The Yousafali Kecheri version of Neelathamara was never in the favorite movies list. I personally feel that the screenplay will be placed in the bottom of list of scripts written by the maestro M T. Naturally, the remaking of Neelathamara made my eyebrows rise.

When I heard that the director is Lal Jose and MT will make relevant changes in the script and characterization, I became curious. When I heard the song “Neelavilochananaayi” and saw its sequences, I felt the charm. The song has few beautiful reactions of Archana. Even the posters are also looking impressive. Anyways, let us wait till 27th to see the native girl who prays to see the blossom which is believed to answer the questions from a worried mind – hope Bangalore release is there.

While searching through channels, NDTV Good times gave me a surprise. The program “Picture Perfect” was showing the shooting techniques. The discussions were happening in the sets of “Vaamanan”, a tamil movie directed by I Ahmed. The director and Cameraman Arvind Krishna were discussing on the cinematic challenges, techniques and other related information which I found very useful. For any thorough movie observer or person interested in film making, this program will be a great watch! Looking forward to see much more episodes of the program….

That’s all for the day… good night.

Labels: Neelathamara, Drishyan, Cinema, ദൃശ്യന്‍, നീലത്താമര

Song of Sparrows - In search of hope

Yesterday I reached home late ... I was feeling full, so managed with a sandwich which i took as parcel from office... Home is a bad place without your family... I cannot think it without books or movies either....

Coming to the point... while browsing through channels, I caught up with 'Song of Sparrows' in UTV World movies at 10:30 PM. I'd heard about the movie earlier, but could not manage to watch it. Rarely i get opportunity to watch Iranian movies, the struggle and passion with which they make movies has always fascinated me.... 'The Apple' is one such movie which I’d loved so much, even its screen play has been kept in my personal drive.

The story of “Song of sparrows” is about Karim, a worker in an Ostrich farm. Bad time, one of the Ostriches manages to escape from the farm, making Karim responsible. He searches the bird in deserts, farm lands, vacant lands and where not. Failing in his attempt, Karim gets fired from his job. With his old bike, he goes to the nearby city. In a city where common man use bike taxies for commutation, Karim finds a new way of living. The later part of the story gives glimpses of Karim’s role as a husband and father, and the relationships in and around his family.

The movie directed by Majid Majidi doesn’t have a great story, but it has moments... it has the power to drag you into the mind of the main characters and feel for them... The movie has been filmed beautifully, realistically and the characterization is the winning point. Karim, played by Naji , is the USP of the movie. His eyes and expressions have Karim written all over. See one scene where he dresses like an ostrich and searches for the missed one. And the other scene where he goes to a home to gets back the blue painted door which his wife Narges has donated. One another impressive scene is where Karim's son and other kids tries to put the fishes (which they were longing to posses - their hope) back into a broken bucket.

The movie has several symbols of hope. The ostrich comes out as a symbol of his hope – the hope that Karim can meet his family’s needs… And that is what the movie communicates – search for your hope… one day it will find you! It should be noted that the most of the symbols of hope are related to nature, which gives another layer of hope on man's survival with care for nature.

Worth many watches… given a chance, don’t miss the “Song of sparrows” – I’m sure that it will enchant and embrace you with a smile.

Labels: Song of Sparrows, Drishyan, Cinema, ദൃശ്യന്‍, സോംഗ് ഓഫ് സ്പാരോസ്

Friday, November 13, 2009

Iruttinte Aathmaavu and other movies

It has been long time since I've written in Cinemaoutlook. Earam was the last movie... My views on Pazhassiraja and Swa Le was expressed in Cinemakazhcha. Both were impressive in its own ways.

My brother saw Seethakalyanam last day... Due to his less tolerance levels he could not watch it completely, he has to follow his friends' way to exit. Rajeevkumar was really promising, but last few attempts have been disappointing...

Watched 'Iruttinte Aathmavu' yesterday. I'd read the short story earlier, but the silver screen adpatation was really good. Considering the period it was taken and the facilities available that time, P Bhaskaran and team had done a wonderful Job. Mooladhanam was one film which made me impressed about P Bhaskaran's directorial skills. One shot which i still remember was one panned over a small window of the jail cell where the activists were locked. Now when people exclaims about 'innovative' camera angles Amal neerad and Ram Gopal Varma follows, i use to remember that shot...
'Iruttinte Aathmavu' also has glimpses of such technical brilliance... the unconventional camera angles (at that time), realistic lighting and non-dramatic performaces (especially from Prem Nazeer, who was never considered to be a good actor), all adds up to the pros...

more movies to watch....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eeram: Where horror meets thrill

Even though his commercially flavoured social movies were all time hits in box office it was since his debut production Muthalvan in 1999 that Sankar become a brand in the film industry. His film production company S Pictures has made many movies, mostly within a moderate budget, which gave importance to ‘cinema’ than ‘stars’. May it be the whacky spoof satire ‘Imsai arasan 23 pulikesi’ or emotionally captivating ‘Veyil’ or well packed nostalgia called ‘Kalloori’ or romantic agony ‘Kathal’, all S Prictures’ movies successfully blended art with commerce. The background for Eeram, the latest venture from S pictures, is different from all these previous movies. For movie lovers who believe that cinema is all about visuals, this film is a treat. But for those who are more interested in the story novelty and the sleek presentation, this film could be a disappointment. Anyways, after Vikram Kumar’s well accepted ‘Yaavarum Nalam’ (13B in Hindi), this is one movie which fairly lacks the horror movie clichés. Despite the similarities with Dark Water (first made in Japanese and then in English) and narrative distractions, Eeram is a very good effort from a debundant director.

The story
At 2:30AM security guard of one of the upper middle class apartments in Chennai finds an unexpected flow from the water outlet. It leads him to a flooded floor and the source - flat of Balakrishnan (Nanda) and Ramya (Sindhu Menon). Balakrishnan is away from home for official reasons and Ramya is found dead in the bath tub from where the water is over flown. Vasudevan (Aadhi) has been approached by his friend/colleague to ensure that it is the same Ramya with who Vasu was in love during college days. There after the narration is interwoven with the past college day romance and the present investigation. When the file was about to get closed as a suicide case, Vasu requests for a thorough investigation. Later what he faces are more deaths in the apartment. Slowly he realizes that all murders have a common factor involved – water! The visible presence of water makes him feel the invisible presence of Ramya. From here onwards Eeram handles the encounter of Vasu’s investigation with fearful logics and illogics on the existence of life after death.

In Front of the Camera
Mrigam had shown us what Aadhi can deliver, Eeram shows another side of this actor. As a lover boy and tough police office he has done justice to his character. But more than the looks and movements he doesn’t leave any mark in our mind with his acting skills. Sindhu Menon is apt as Ramya. Even though she seems to overreact in the scene where Ramya departs with Vasu, Sindhu has the charm and innocence required for Vasu’s lover girl and Balakrishnan’s wife. Moreover she looks simple and beautiful and we can feel why Vasu, after 4 years since her rejection, still feels for her.

Read the 'Eeram' review in Malayalam

Nanda has successfully delivered the emotions and intensity required for a man of multiple faces. His performance is cool, subtle and straight-forward. Saranya Mohan comes as Divya, Ramya’s sister, is perfect. Sreenath (as Vicky, Balakrishnan’s friend) and all others who have come in small roles are flawless.

Behind the Camera
Taman’s tunes to Viveka’s lyrics are blended with the scenes but doesn’t travel with us after the show. The real attraction of Eeram is the technically brilliant shots by manoj Paramahamsa and cuts by Kishor. The presence of water – the cold but warm presence of water – is made felt all through the movie. The proper usage of quality graphics adds to the impact. I really hope if debundant director Arivazhakan would have spent little more time with the paperwork and in front of the editing table. Undoubtedly the movie is 30minutes lengthier than what would have been ideal. The climax, which can be easily guessed, drags drastically. Only the shots which are artistically blended with darkness, with few moments where faces are masked with darkness, keeps us awake; otherwise the last 15-20 minutes made me yawn. Anyways, even with the lack of high-thrill moments or chilling horror sequences or nerve-racking scare sounds, movies like Eeram are commendable as this is not a horror flick where ghosts sings around in white dress or zombies
with bleeding faces wander around . Kudos to the debundant director Arivazhakan for making the movie the way he believed in, making us feel the frostiness and warmth of rain, and Sankar to support the creative imagination.

+ Narration style in the first half
+ Technical wing: adequate usage of VFX, cinematography which senses the story pulse, accurate editing

- Predictable narration
- Long drawn out climax

'ഈറം' മലയാളം റിവ്യൂ ഇവിടെ വായിക്കാം

Labels: Eeram, ഈറം, സിനിമാനിരൂപണം, സിനിമ, Movie Review, Tamil Movie, Cinema, Drishyan

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thoovana Thumbikal: A Movie that reciprocates your ecstasy

What makes a movie your favorite?
The subject, narrative style, your favorite star’s presence, commercial values or is it something else which cannot be expressed by words?

I’m not talking about why a movie is being treated as a classic or a masterpiece. Neither I’m referring to the academic value of a movie. I’m referring only to those movies which are close to our hearts, because it has the ability to reciprocate your thoughts and its premises.

Like any one of you, I too can pick up many movies – each could be entirely different from each other, but has the ability to reciprocate myself depending on my mood.

My favorite screen writer – no second thoughts to take Padmarajan’s name (I’m conveniently forgetting Pasolini, Giuseppe Tornatore, Quentin Tarantino, Makhmalbaf, Adoor and many others here). My wife always wonders why I repeatedly watch Thoovanathumpikal? She has never liked the movie. Sometimes even I use to wonder why I love this movie so much.

I’m a fan of no star. So Mohanlal’s presence – may be his acting - is not the reason. It is obviously the characters what attracted me so much. Jayakrishnan and Clara are unforgettably romantic. Each time I watch the movie I wonder what sort of a relation they have in between. It has to be an invisible communication which was inevitable for their initial circumstances. It is a relationship – unethical, unwelcomed by any society and unbelievable to a common audient - which any film maker will think twice before filming. Padmarajan relied on the romantic side of that relationship. His unimaginably gifted pen had the ability to conceive that relationship and reproduce that in poetic language and visuals.

If Jayakrishnan’s character amazes us with his duality, Clara baffles us with mystery all around her. She is neither willing to detach or attach with Jayakrishnan. Even in the last scene where she willingly gives Jayakrishnan to Radha, the vibrants of her strong love for the protagonist can be felt.

Even though I got somewhat satisfying answers for queries regarding other characters and their inter-woven relationships, what kept me wondering was the practicability of the relation between Clara and Moni Joseph (M G Soman). Clara who has been leading a ‘wrong’ life has told Moni everything about her and her relationship with Jayakrishnan. The decision may be Clara’s but it is evident that Moni willingly allows Clara to see Jayakrishnan for their so called last acquaintance. That talks a lot about this brief, unnoticed and untalked character. Very recently I met another 2 characters of Padmarajan who clarified my doubts to an extent.

The characters are from his movie ‘Kochu Kochu Thettukal’. Sukumaran, Sathyakala, Shubha and Ummer are starred in this 1979 movie directed by Mohan. The characters played by Shubha and Ummer (Mrs & Mr. Panicker) are distantly similar to those of Clara and Moni – difference being Mrs. Panicker is not the wife of Mr. Panicker – she is only a ‘keep’. Panicker wants the lady in his protection but cannot marry her due to his social circumstances. But there is always a breeze of understanding, care and love present between them. They both need the partner to be with them and are not reluctant to make their relationship public. No matter what route their relationship take at the end, the earlier hours of the movie diminutively portrays the silent but vibrant affection between them – analogous to what Clara and Jayakrishnan had made us feel.

Anyways these movies are incomparable, by all means ThoovanaThumbikal being far ahead of the other. Like many of you, I too love to watch Thoovana Thumbikal in my solitude – it reciprocates my mood of ecstasy!!! And now another Padmarajan movie has given me a different dimension to the relationship of Clara and Moni, which makes ThoovanaThumbikal an entirely different watch...!


Moods are many and so are movies. Many movies match with other moods like Depression, Disappointment, Frustration, Affection, Anger, Boredom, Happiness and Love.
Let me know which all are your favorite movies which gave you a feeling of reciprocating your different moods … I’ll also let you know mine….

Labels: തൂവാനത്തുമ്പികള്‍, പത്മരാജന്‍, മോഹന്‍ലാല്‍, ThoovanaThumbikal, P Padmarajan, Drishyan

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Passenger (Movie) - Heart in the right place

Ranjith Sankar’s ‘Passenger’ has finally reached Bangalore on 26th June 2009 – a long wait for Bangalore malayalees since its journey started in Kerala on 7th May 2009. For me, one who prefers to watch movies which I’ve good hopes from Kerala than waiting it to come to Bangalore, the wait was too long. As always, I’ve tried to watch Passenger from one of the theaters in Kerala.

It seems that the habit of going to theaters with family (includes a group of mother, wife, father, cheriyamma etc etc) has come to a pause since my son’s birth. We may have to wait for another year to pursue the habit, and make my son a part of the family of movie buffs. So this time I’ve to go for it all alone, without telling my wife, as she always wanted to go together. It was first at Kairali @ Kozhikkode I went to watch Passenger without telling anyone. But unfortunately I missed the show due to a traffic pile. I reached the theater 5 minutes after the commencement of the show. Even though there were tickets I opted not to watch the movie, as always.

I tried my luck at SreeKrishna Theater @ Manjeri. This time we managed to convince my in-laws to look after the son for couple of hours. When I and my wife reached the theater, we were welcomed by the poster of ‘Zakhmi Nagin’!!! I don’t know what reason the theatres had to change the movie on a Thursday. The days after confronted me with the pirated DVDs of Passenger at commercial street and Koramangala. But, like any other pirated DVD, this also never fascinated me. I’ll still on with my choices against pirated movies.

Finally, when the movie has reached Bangalore, the chances looked gloomy as I had to travel to Kerala on Friday to bring my family back to Bangalore. And once they are in Bangalore, it is unlikely to watch the movie in next 2-3 weeks. By then the movie may be off from Bangalore theaters and I may end up watching it post DVD release – sure, I was not going to wait till then!

The movie is released in 3 theaters in Bangalore, I opted Sangeeth @ Sivaji nagar as it was near to Kalasipalayam (place from which the private buses to Kerala starts from) which facilitates me to watch the 6:15pm show and reach the bus stand on time. Sangeeth was one theater which I’d stopped going due to bad condition. But, thanks to UFO, the theater was better in projection and sound. Since UFO status, I’d watched many movies from there. Anyways I was pretty sure Passenger would be projected in Film. I packed my bag in the morning, went to office and left early. When I reached the theater at 6:00PM, there was a fairly good crowd. I fetched the ticket and dropped myself into seat which is in the 7th from the back row, so that I could get a good feel of sound. I waited with anxious mind, and I had my own reasons for the same.

I’ve been avoiding anything which media reported about the movie, except the director’s blog. This is something I follow for any movie which I plan not to miss. I’ve glanced through the ratings given to Passenger by multiple reviewers including Chithravishesham, rediff and Indulekha. And it had happened many times that despite rave reviews about some movies I felt them unexciting or average. I never wanted to happen that with this movie. I’d gone through the director’s blog well before the release of the movie and was thoroughly following the director’s journey. Like many other in blog world, I too had compared the director’s passion with that of mine. I remember one of the serials, Nizhalukal, penned by Ranjith Sankar had attracted me in my school days. Honestly, I never remembered the screenwriter’s name then, but when I saw the reference in director’s blog, somehow, I felt happy. None of his other screenplays had come across my attention. Still I felt for the director and could not stop praying for his success. It could sound selfish, but somewhere I started to believe that his success could stimulate my aspirations of becoming a film maker. So, In the darkness of Sangeeth, when the film started rolling and titles started showing up, I said to – “here am I, anxiously waiting for the passenger to start its journey, hoping for the movie to satisfy my expectations!”.

I liked the titles and the starting scenes. Very rarely you will see scenes shot in a public place with no spectators extending their curious faces into the frame. Minutes after the movie somehow I started feeling more nervous. It is not going the way I expected. I was looking forward to experience a sleek stylish racy thriller – from start to end. This one, even though not sluggish, was medium paced. Intend was evident – director was taking his own time to build the characters, their characteristics and premises. They came one-by-one constructing their space. Part of the spaces build was interesting; few had déjà-view feel, few novel; and few inspiring (for new film makers). With in minutes from title I got introduced to Sathyanathan (Sreenivasan), his friends folk (Harisree Asokan, Anoop Chandran and Kochu Preman), the young couple Adv. Nandan Menon (Dileep) and TV journalist wife Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas) and community fighting for their survival against Karimanal (Beach-Sand) mafia supported by Thomas Chako (Jagathy Sreekumar).

I felt that this base-building exercise took little more time than required. But when it reaches its threshold, cards are opened up one by one in adequate pace. I got glued to my seat till the end with rare occasions thinking whether these are the places the director overlooked his sharpness. Mainly happened in the below occasions.

• Anuradha’s interview with Thomas Chacko which Sathyan and Nandan are watching lacks the normal TV news format with no scrolling headline or feel and look. Latter, news from the same news channel (which comes in climax as live) is intact with proper news format

• Sathya tries calling Right TV to inform on Nandan’s ill-fate, but no-one seemed to there in office to pickup the phone. Very unlikely in an office which brodcasts 24/7

• What was the necessity for the company representative to show the animated illustration of the plot to minister? From the movie we understand that it is a recent master plan came from minister. No one needs to create such a detailed animated graphics, when the client (Chacko) is very confident about the plan. This makes the whole scene looks fabricated.

• We see a broadcasting quality video (DVD format) of duration 1:21 minutes being sent by an email in a flash using a data card internet connection. Technically, I’m not sure how feasible is this?

• The same video which is being transferred to Sathya’s mobile shows ‘copying Video_TS to My documents’. I expect Sathya’s mobile has a folder ‘My documents’

• When Anuradha call home, Sathya picks the call and doesn’t respond. This should have made Anuradha suspicious. But she stills wait in the library for Nandan to come. Pretty non-sense from a dynamic media person

• Anuradha, being a known face in media world, could not find anyone to approach during a crisis. What she does is keep dialing Nandan at his mobile and home. Some where I feel media person cannot be that much isolated from professional friends

The screenplay makes an impact. The narration is new and fresh for Malayalam movie-goers. The characters are from our surroundings, not tailor-made for stars. The incidents happen in their life are genuine and realistic. The performances are behavioral in nature – Sreenivasan, Dileep and new villain face impresses. Except few, dialogues were neither clever one-liners nor witty, as you might expect from a smart thriller. They were ordinary, even in serious scenes, where the viewers were expected to be impacted or shocked. On the contrary, the absence of heavy dialogues is a welcoming factor. Hope the director will do more home work on this for his next film.

Effort behind the camera has come out well. P Sreekumar does no mistake with his cinematographic skills, while Ranjan Abraham and Sabu Raam deliver their best in editing and art direction respectively.

At the end, when the darkness was eroded by light, I felt so relieved; I stood up and said silently – Well done Ranjith. Your efforts seems rosy, but the challenge sustains till you deliver in your next attempt. Good luck for that!”

Labels: Drishyan, Passenger, Ranjith sankar, ദൃശ്യന്‍, പാസ്സഞ്ചര്‍, cinemaoutlook, സിനിമാക്കാഴ്ച