Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I should stop here and this would be the world's most economic movie review. But i need some practice at this thing .. so i will pen my 500 words about this movie.
Calcutta news is Blessy's fourth movie . I was looking forward to watch this one because Blessy was attempting a thriller (or so i was misinformed) , and i thought it would be interesting to see what his take on the genre would be.
The movie turned out to be nothing like i expected. It can not be put in the thriller genre for sure. There is nothing to keep the viewer guessing . Pretty much most of the plot is revealed in the first half hour and from there its just a long drawn out bore fest.
The movie begins promisingly. A dead body is found near a rail track. Dilip who is a TV journalist recognizes the body as that of a malayalee with whom he had a minor argument few days back. He follows up on the story and meets the dead mans wife. She (played by Meera) is an orphan who has just been brought to calcutta after her marriage. She know next to nothing about her dead husband. Sounds promising doesn't it. A launch pad for a nice thriller with one or two plot twits?
Sadly that's not the case .The questions are all answered pretty early in the movie The husband was no saint.. He was a pimp who wanted to sell Meera to the highest bidder. He got greedy and got whacked by some bad guys . And we have not reached interval yet. From then it becomes sort of like a love story between Dilip and Meera with some psychiatric mumbo jumbo inserted in between in an desperate attempt to hold the viewers attention.
In short Blessy falters here. As i said earlier the movie held a lot promise. A different locale not frequently used by malayalam movie makers and a plot with lot of possibilities. I felt biggest draw back of this movie was that the writer/director did not keep any cards close to the chest. Everything about the plot was revealed early. It would have been so much fun if things were not quite the way it was shown in the beginning. I was hoping/expecting for a plot twist which would make Meera's character the bad guy and indrajeeth a victim.. But instead you get a half baked psychiatric angle which is laughable. Come on Blessy... OCD? Thanks to the brilliant detective serial on TV called "The Monk" lot of people are familiar with Obsessive compulsive disorder.So please do better research. I am sure your teacher would not approve of such amateurish work
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Katha parayumbol , the new srinivasan movie is based upon this fascination. This immensely enjoyable movies is set in a village of melukavu and follows the life of Balan the local barber played by srinivasan himself. Balan who has had a monopoly over the "heads" in melukavu is quickly losing ground to the new barber in town. Sarasan (Jagdeesh) , the new barber has opened a modern shop next to Balan's shop and is aggressivley trying to run balan out of business. Balan is trying hard for a loan to modernize his shop. But his straight forward approach and his acid tongue ensures that he does not get one. Balan's family (wife played by meena and three kids) although affected by his money problems seems reasonably happy and always have a joke to crack about their troubles. The elder daughter especially ..She has some of the best lines in this movie.
melukavu is home to some interesting characters. Salim kumar plays the town poet Laurette whose creations are unintentionally hilarious. (I don't know if sreenivasan reads Astrix but this character reminded me of cacaphonix .. ) . Mukesh play's a struggling parallel college owner who is constantly hatching plots to collect long overdue fees from his students. Innocent plays Eechapayn err.. sorry Eepachayan the local moneybag who roams around with his henchman played by kottayam nazeer.
The film picks up pace when a movie crew lands up in the village. Villagers are all excited that the reigning super star Ashok Raj (Mamooty in a movie stealing cameo) of the time has come to their village. Around this time a news spreads through Melukavu that Balan is an old friend of the super star. This makes the villager see Balan in a whole new light and his life is changes overnight. The rest of the movie is about the question of Balan's and Ashok Raj's friendship. The director and script writer does a good job of not giving too much away and keeping the viewers guessing on that question the climax of the movie.
And it is come climax ..The whole movie revolves around the question of Balan's friendship with Ashok raj. So the scenes where these questions are answered are the core of the movie. That is when you realize why mamooty was needed as ashok raj. Mammoty delivers a knockout finale to this movie showing that you don't need hours of screen time to make an impact if you have the talent.
Overall a well written,acted and directed movie. But i wonder where in kerala would you find a village like melukavu now? I think since the advent of TV (especially cable) we have been bombarded with images and stories of movie stars. This has definitley destroyed the aura that surrounded movie stars earlier. I don't think a movie shooting would bring life to a standstill anywhere now ,maybe in can see this happening in the 80's or earlier.
I realize that this was not directed by Srinivasan but any movie which he writes no matter who the director is, get stamped a "srinivasn movie". He again proves that he is the best writer of movies in malayalam. He movies tell you that you don't need complex plots to make an enjoyable movie. A wafer thin plot when told using interesting characters in interesting situations make an interesting movie.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
One good thing to come out of the bone chilling cold this winter is our discovery of Netflix.. Netflix for the uninitated is this amazing movie delivery service. You order online .. movies get delivered to your door step. Works like clockwork..
So no surpise that we have been freaking out..(well mostly me..Sowmya does like the occasional rom-com). I have been slowly working on my must watch list of movies over the last few months. And latest in that series is "City of God"(Cidade de Deus)
I had read about this 2002 brazillian movie earlier. Something about the reviews made me add City of God to my movie wishlist. And it did not dissapoint. I would put it in my top ten movies list.
The real city of gods is a sprawling slum to the west of Rio-De Genaro. Its a crime infested locality ruled by local drug cartels. The movie is shot here and majority of its cast members are real life residents of the slum.
The story ( based upon real events ) follows the life of a group of youngsters growing up in the city. The movie is essentially about how some of them manage to evade the life of violence, some are forced into it and some just embrace it.
The movie manages to suck you in for two plus hours into their world. You are watching a movie in a language you don't understand (its in Portuguese , i just found out!), watching a set of amateur actors who have never faced the camera before but none of those things matter. By the end of the classic opening sequence you are hooked and for the next three hours you are immersed in this weird world..
Its a movie with stunning style and amazing substance. Must watch i would say..
Saturday, October 13, 2007
In Arabikatha, the directer brings together to very different malayalee realities,Communism and the Gulf dream. These two are poles apart but we malayalees embrace both and when they two meet there is ample scope for interesting incidents. In the movie you will mind many such incidents, all make you laugh , lot of them make you think.
Without giving much away, Arabikatha is the stoy of Mukundan a staunch communist and leader of the party in a small town/village in kerala. He is a leader on the fringes of breaking through to the big time. He is shown as the kind of worker who blindly toes the party line and never questions the logic of the actions he is asked to take.
The drama begins when he is tricked by his political rival and his capitalistic friends into owning up to a huge debt that he must pay back. He is forced to do what an average malayali does first when faced with this problem, that is "Go to Gulf". He lands up in Dubai thinking that he can make some quick petro dollars and pay back his debts.
This is when the movie really picks up steam.The director has the luxuary of exploring two different angles here. First is the "communism in dubai" angle which results is some hilarious sequences. Mukundan is slowly made to realize that his brand of communism has few takers in dubai. Director makes fun of some of the archaic policies that the communist parties in kerala are famous for. Their fight against computerisation and the cola gaints are ridiculed in two memorable sequences. This scenes which deal with this angle is what i enjoyed most.
The other angle is ofcource the life of the malayali expatriate. Director exploits most gulf malyalee stereotypes here.
The "back stabbing" malayalee who snatches a good job from mukundan , the dad who misses his daughters wedding, the guy who struggling to build a house back in kerala all show up in the movie. Though there are no points for originality here , all of these episodes touched me due to some competent acting.
Mukundan meanwhile goes and falls in love with a Chinese lady. That was bound to happen since he considers china a dream nation and all Chinese to be passionate Communists. But she breaks his heart when she disappears along with a large amount of money.
Rest of the movie is nothing much to write home about. It mutates into a revenge drama with Mukundan realizing that he has been tricked into coming to Dubai. he Finlay returns to his home town, still a staunch communist but definitely one who is better in tune with his times.
Though i found the movie quite enjoyable i do have few bones to pick. First and foremost is the characterisation of Mukundan itself. A person who is being considered a likely M.L.A candidate can be anything but dumb. He has to have a large helping of smarts to get to that position. I cant believe mukundan would be such a naive simpleton. I am thinking the writer was a bit lazy here. If he had made Mukundan smarter he would have had to work harder to come up with scenarios that bash Communism.
Overall an enjoyable picture. I enjoyed it more as a movie about the life in the middle-east rather than a political satire. Also have to mention the revolutionary poem that is part fo the sound track. Just loved it..
That was my take on Arabikatha. My first stab at a movie review (don't worry i am not quitting my day job) .
If you stumble across this post please tell me what you though about it and then go get a life!