varnachitram

A Blog on Cinema

January 26, 2014
by NikhiMenon
2 Comments

Most Disappointing Movies of 2013

We had earlier written about the best Malayalam films of 2013.This time we are listing what we think were the most disappointing films of the passing year.

Ps-We are sure you,dear readers,have your own list.Go on and share your views with us.

10.Lisammayude Veedu-Babu Janardhan’s follow-up to Lal Jose’s critically acclaimed 2006 film-’Achanurangatha Veedu’ had Meera Jasmine playing the title role of ‘Lisamma’ but suffered heavily due to bad writing.The Movie which traced the life of Lisamma after the incidents in ‘Achanurangatha…’ was severely panned by the critics and the audiences alike.

9.Vishudhan-Vishudhan was Vaisakh’s (who is often referred to as the ‘Rohit Shetty of Malayalam Cinema’ by the mainstream media)deliberate attempt to break away from his usual formula of larger-than-life mass masala entertainers.But the move back fired as all he ended up making was an half-baked moralistic fable which had a Christian priest as it’s lead character.May’be,the makers were trying to rake in some moolah by choosing a ‘controversial’ theme but that too didn’t help as the film ended up as a major disappointment at the Kerala boxoffice as well.

8.Proprietors Kammath and Kammath-Okay,no one was waiting for a ‘Casablanca’ from the Dileep-Siby/Udayan team.A decent entertainer with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments and a few colourfully visualized peppy songs was  the least thing that was expected out of this big budget mass masala multistar venture directed by Thomson. Poorly written and shoddily directed, these Kamath brothers bored the viewers to death.The strained attempt at creating some laughs using the Konkani accent also fell flat and even Dhanush’s cameo couldn’t salvage this mess of a film.

7.Lokpal-When Veteran director Joshiy and Mohanlal teamed up again after their previous Blockbuster ‘Run Baby Run’,the expectations were obviously humongous.With cheap production values,a waterlogged script and un inspiring performances from the lead cast,this S.N.Swamy attempt at making a vigilante thriller ended up as an unintentionally funny affair.Lokpal explored none of the possibilities that the film’s basic theme offered and it was a classic case of irresponsible film making by some of the big names of Malayalam Cinema.

6.Ladies and Gentleman-Siddique was a director who had an almost hundred percent success ratio till he directed this massive dud named ‘Ladies and Gentleman’.A potpourri of various yesteryear films like ‘Hallo’,'Time’,'Angel John’ and ‘Ínnathe Chinthavishayam’,Ladies and Gentleman was undoubtedly one of the biggest disppointments of 2013.

5.Three Dots-Sugeeth was the director of last year’s surprise hit-’Ordinary’.So when the succesful ‘Ordinary’ team came together once again for ’3 Dots’,the expectations were naturally sky high.Many regarded this film as the only safe bet among the Easter releases but were proven terribly wrong when the movie hit the screens on the 22 nd of March 2013.A bad rehash of Ramji Rao Speaking andSaroja,’Three Dots’ had nothing in it which we hadn’t seen before.The climactic revelation was anything but shocking and the movie met with it’s deserved fate at the boxoffice.

4.Ezhamathe Varavu-A remake of late Sukumaran-Venunagavally starrer ‘Evideyo oru Shathru’(which never saw the light of the day)this Indrajith-Vineeth starrer written by M.T.Vasudevan Nair and directed by Hariharan was actually not a very bad film.Had it been made by some ‘lesser known names’,this movie wouldn’t have even featured in this list.But as it’s often said,with big names come bigger expectations.The basic problem with the film was that the film dragged big time and to add on to that the script also had a dated feel to it.Though the movie had splendid visuals(by S.Kumar) and a brilliantly executed climax it didn’t save the film from tanking at the boxoffice.

3.Kadal Kadannoru Mathukutty-Popular Malayalam satellite channel Asianet was so confident about this Ranjith-Mammooty outing after ‘Pranchiyettan and the saint’ that they had no qualms in shelling out a whopping 5.75 crores for the Television rights of the film.In ‘mathukutty’ Ranjith tried to repeat the same template(of narrating the few incidents in the life of the protagonist) which he had succesfully used in ‘Pranchi’ but only this time it didn’t fetch him the desired results.Unlike Pranchi,this un-employed Mathukutty neither amused nor entertained the average Malayalee moviegoer and thereby became a major boxoffice dud.

2.Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal-When Lal-Jose rejoined with his ‘Classmates’ writer and ‘Janapriyanayakan’,nothing short of a Blockbuster was expected by the trade.But the movie which tried to be a new-age romantic comedy not only bombed at the boxoffice but will also be remembered as a failed attempt to look at the fickleness of human relationships by the master director.

1.Geethanjali-It couldn’t have got bigger than this.’Geethanjali’ saw the union of some of the biggest names in Malayalam Cinema.It had Mohanlal reprising the role of Dr.Sunny from his cult-classic ‘Manichithrathazhu’ and had the show man of Malayalam Cinema-Priyadarshan wielding the megaphone.’Geethanjali’ was a golden opportunity wasted and after all,what’s the point in re-telling a story that has only recently been told in Malayalam?(and that too a flop one at that!).The joke was on us,the poor Malayalee audience who paid to watch this Priyadarshan farce at theatres!

December 31, 2013
by NikhiMenon
0 comments

Malayalam Cinema 2013-The Movies You never knew existed!

2013 saw an unprecedented rise in the number of Feature Films that were being made in Malayalam.Though on the face of it this trend looks good the trade facts tell us otherwise.Here is the list of the Movies which ended up as disasters despite having known faces/saleable factors associated with it.

10.My Fan Ramu-directed by singer-turned-actor Nikhil.K.Menon,’My Fan Ramu’was tauted as the First feature Film which brought together all the youngsters of the celebrity cricket team.The movie scripted by actor Saiju Kurup had Rajeev Govind Pillai,Malavika Wales,Guiness Pakru besides the writer himself playing prominent roles.The makers might have bonded well and have had a gala time while shooting for the film but the common man had little time to bother about their bonhomie.The result-’My Fan Ramu’ became an epic disaster!

9.Chewing Gum- Sunny Wayne(Sujith Unnikrishnan) rose to fame after his hilarious performance as Kurudi in Dulquer Salman’s debut movie ‘Second Show’.Later he amused us with some really likeable performances in films like ‘Thattathin Marayathu’,'Annayum Rasoolum’,'Neelakasham Pachakadal..’,to name a few.So naturally no one expected him to do a highly pretentious,pseudo-intellectual flick like ‘Chewing Gum’.The movie which delt with an unlikely romance between a lower class welding worker and an upper class girl turned out to be a dud at the boxoffice.

8.Players-Though ‘players’ was released in 2013,the Movie had actually got completed a good 5 years back(initially titled as ‘Two Wheeler’).Set in the backdrop of motorcycle racing,’Players’ had Kavya Madhavan,Jayasurya and Jishnu playing the pivotal roles.

 

7.Cowboy-A blatant rip-off of the 1995 thriller film ‘Nick Of Time’,this half baked attempt by Balachandrakumar was extensively shot in Malaysia.Plagued by a poor script,insipid execution and un-inspiring performances from the lead cast(Asif Ali,Bala and Mythili)this ‘Cowboy’ had absolutely nothing going for it and had no choice but to run away from the theatres within a week of it’s arrival!

 

6.Tourist Home-Perhaps the only decent movie in this list,’Tourist Home’ directed by Shebi is a classic case of poor marketing killing an otherwise good film.The Movie which traced the incidents happening in the ten rooms of a Tourist Home had some known faces like Meera Nandhan,Kalabhavan Mani,Saiju Kurup,Nedumudi Venu and Rejath Menon acting in it.

 

5.KQ-Parvathy Omanakuttan’s first Malayalam Feature Film,’KQ’ was also Baiju Johnson’s(remember the Fan’s club secretary in ‘Traffic’?) debut Movie as a director.Designed as a low-brow comedy aimed at the front benchers(the movie even had yesteryear pornstar Shakeela in a cameo),the film was a colossal failure with even the target audience largely ignoring it!

 

4.Kaanchi-This MuraliGopi-Indrajith-Archana Gupta starrer explored the David v/s Goliath tussle in a highly unconvincing way.The poorly written script didn’t have enough meat to keep the audience engaged neither did MuraliGopi’s menacing act as the main antagonist-Peringodan.What’s even worse is that the Movie even largely reminded us of Indrajith’s own ‘Chekavar‘ which came out a couple of year’s ago.The only saving grace of ‘Kaanchi’ was that hummable track-’mullappoo chelulla mandara penninmeyyil…’set to tune by Ronnie Rapheal.

3.Ginger-Shaji Kailas is the RamGopal Varma of Malayalam Cinema.This highly talented director entertained us with superbly crafted action-thrillers once upon a time.But at some point of time(very much like Ram Gopal Varma)he lost interest in reading scripts and started giving more importance to weird camera angles and jump cuts.’Ginger’,starring Jayaram,Mallika et al is his 14 th flop in a row(or is it 15 th?)and we sincerely hope Shaji will bounce back soon.

2.Paisa Paisa-Indrajith had way too many releases this year.But apart from one or two,most of them sank without a trace.Paisa Paisa directed by Prasanth Murali was one among them and I can confidently say that this one with a ludicrous plot certainly deserved it’s fate.The (illogical)tale of an AD film makers’ desperate attempt to get ten thousand rupees was plain boring to say the least!

 

1.Miss Lekha Tharoor Kanunnathu-The situation was so pathetic for this Meera Jasmine starrer that it didn’t get a proper theatrical release even in the main centres.Shajiyem’s Malayalam remake of the Pang Brother’s Horror Classic(The Eye) ,’Ms.Lekha Tharoor….’had no takers at the box-office and hence was taken off from the majority of theatres(where it managed to get a release)within a day or two of it’s release.

 

December 28, 2013
by NikhiMenon
5 Comments

Best Malayalam Movies of 2013

It’s that time of the year where we crib about the best and the worst of the passing year.The first one in a series of posts,here’s my list of this year’s Best Malayalam Films. [- NikhiMenon]

10.Romans-

This KunchakkoBoban-BijuMenon starrer (partly inspired by the Robert De Niro-Sean Penn starrer ‘We are Not Angels’)told the comical story of two thieves who had to disguise themselves as Priests inorder to escape from the eyes of the Law.Though the script had it’s own share of flaws it was the terrific comic timing of the lead cast that made ‘Romans’ worth a watch.

9.Emmanuel-
Okay,let’s put it bluntly-this Mamootty Film fromLal Jose was nowhere near the team’s earliest offering-‘OruMaravathoorKanavu’ (which incidentally was also the director’s debut venture as an independent film maker).Neither was it a worthy successor to the director’s previous outing,the critically and commercially acclaimed ‘AyalumNjanumThammil’(which also won him last year’s Kerala State Award for the Best Director)but still this Movie managed to find a place in this list because it achieved what it intended to be-a decent family entertainer.It was also the only decent film in which Superstar Mammootty had acted this year.
8.Neram-

Directed by debutant Alphonse Puthren,Neram narrated some strange incidents happening in the life of an un- employed lad named Mathew(NivinPauly).The movie had a wafer thin story to say but it was the brilliant making by the talented director(ably supported with a highly believable performance by Nivin) which made it a really enjoyable affair.The fresh-pairing of NivinPauly and NazriyaNaazim also worked to it’s advantage.
7.PunyalanAgarbathies-

Director Ranjith Shankar’s most successful film till date,’PunyalanAgarbathies’ was the tale of Joy Thakkolkaran,an ambitious youngster who dreams of being an ‘Ambani’ by selling Agarbathies made out of Elephant Dung.The movie which reminded us of the good old eightees when the SatyanAnthikkadu-Sreenivasan-Lalettan combo used to make meaningful social satires laced with humour and family sentiments.Never preachy or boring,PunyalanAgarbathies co-produced by Jayasurya himself was a runaway success.
6.Philips and The Monkey Pen-
When was the last time that a really good Malayalam Children’s film made you laugh and cry at the same time?Though there were the odd gems like T.D.Dasan VI.B(directed by Late Mohan Raghavan) or 101 Chodyangal(directed by Siddharth Shiva), most of the recent Malayalee attempts in making movies for Children were eminently forgettable(including the mamooth budgeted ‘Magic-Magic 3D’ from Navodaya).Director Duo Rojin Philip and ShanilMuhammed’s Philips and the Monkey Pen was a sweet little film which was thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining.But the real star of the film was Master Sanoop who played Ryan Philip to perfection.
5.Mumbai Police-

Written by Sanjay-Bobby and directed by Roshan Andrews this Prithviraj-Jayasurya-Rahman starrer was a critical as well as commercial success.Exploring the taboo theme of same-sex love,’Mumbai Police’ is undoubtedly one of the pathbreaking films in recent times.Prithviraj as Antony Mosses IPS gave a splendid performance as the Police Officer who is suffering from an identity crisis/existential crisis.Devoid of any songs or crass jokes,the movie was also technically slick with a highly competent direction by Roshan.
4.Celluloid-
Based on the life of the pioneer of Malayalam Cinema-J.C.Daniel,Kamal’sPrithviraj starrer was not only a big winner when the Kerala State Film Awards for 2012(the Movie was Censored on the 31 st of December,2012 which made it eligible to compete for last year’s Film Awards)were announced early this year but also turned out to be a profitable affair at the ticket counters.Infact Celluloid was also a highly entertaining film with a hilarious first half which was a welcome change from the highly pretentious art house fares that usually shines in the awards/festival circuits.Prithviraj played J.C’s role to perfection while new comer Chandni who played the role of Rosi,Malayalam Cinema’s first heroine also did her part well.
3.Artist-
Veteran director Shyamaprasad made a strong comeback through his FahadFazil-Ann Augustine starrer ‘Artist’ which told the story of a self -centered,egoistic painter-Michel Agnelo(Fahad)and his live-in partner Gayathri(Ann).Adapted from a novel by ParitoshUttam(‘Dreams in Prussian Blue’,published by Penguin India-metro reads),Artist tried to explore the themes of solitude,alienation and selfless love.ThoughFahad was good as Micheal it was Ann Augustine who stole the show with a career best performance as the confused and impulsive Gayu who is hopelessly lost in Love.The movie also introduced us a talented new comer,SreeramRamachandran who played Abhi-the friend with sinister plans.

2.Memories-
Though this Prithviraj starrer was the least hyped among the Ramzan releases it turned out to be the highest grosser among the other Malayalam Movies which got released during that season.A Psychological thriller written and directed by JeethuJoseph,’Memories’ visualised certain episodes in the life of a police officer.Though the story had shades of Aamir Khan’s ‘Talaash’,Mohanlal’s ‘Grandmaster’ and Anitha Nair’s mystery thriller ‘Cut Like Wound’,it was JeethuJoseph’s brilliant execution and Prithviraj’s towering performance as Sam Alex,the I.P.S. officer with a troubled past that ensured success for the Movie.
1.Drishyam-
Jeethu Joseph’s Mohanlal starrer ‘Drishyam’ is a cinematic triumph by all means.Brilliantly scripted and flawlessly directed,Drishyam is that kind of film which will be talked about by the Malayalee movie goers for a very long time.Thespectacular tale of an illiterate farmer(Georgekutty,played by Mohanlal) and his  struggles to protect his family from the inevitable collapse.I would rate Drishyam as Jeethu’s best work till date both as a writer and a director.It’s a brilliant edge-of-the seat thriller which is totally worth your time and money!

June 14, 2013
by vc
0 comments

George of the Jungle

According to news, PC George is ranting against Mammootty. According to PC George, people like Mammootty, who is above the age of 60, should give way to youngsters.

“People who are as past 60 should stop acting and give way to younger stars,” said George at the assembly recently. “There are some people who are trying to continue acting even after they turn 90,” he added.

Hmm.. Let’s see. PC George is a politician and Mammootty is an actor. So we have lot of respect for Mammootty and think politicians are below the idiots who run fan clubs. Now that we have that sorted out, lets look at the logic behind the statement. PC George has set an arbitrary age for retirement of actors. If PC George has such a rule, it should apply to everyone and may be even for politicians. So PC George is 62 years old and immediately after he made the statement, he should have resigned to be a role model, after all you would think that governing is a bit more critical than acting. But then PC George has found a balance, he thinks he can combine both these skills. He should have asked his boss, the 80 year old, to quit as well. Following this he should ask for most of the legislature to quit. After that he could ask the Prime Minister also to quit. Once all that is done, PC George could find employment by starting the Poonjar branch of Mammotty fans club and welfare association because there is no age limit and no brain power required. It will also be one level above his current job.

PS: Anyone who says Mammootty is old is blind. He’s like Benjamin Button aging backwards.

May 8, 2013
by vc
1 Comment

Mazhavil AMMA

Recently AMMA had a huge program in Dubai and Kochi. The star power was overwhelming and pretty much every superstar or young actor or rising stars were there. As usual, Malayalees displayed their inferior mentality and spent time singing and dancing to Tamil and Hindi songs. But the rate of other language songs have decreased a lot compared to previous such programs.

As you look at the glamour behind AMMA activities, you see that the tentacles of the organization are everywhere. They make movies, conduct stage programs, offer donations to film actors who are in bad financial state etc. They also provide entertainment by fighting with other organizations and banning actors who won’t toe the AMMA line. All of this sounds fair since actors should have their own organization to have some unity and fight against exploitation by others.

But then we also have to look at the other side of such organizations. Any organization, if you can imagine, is pyramidal in structure, whether they are trade unions or political parties or corporations or NGOs. At the top of the pyramid are leaders, for example, people like Idavela Babu, whose contribution to Malayalam cinema is slightly greater than 0. Then there is pretty much everyone else who has done much to bring entertainment, money and jobs. Now irrespective of your contribution to cinema, the problem with the pyramidal structure is that the people at the top get to control people. If people deviate from the commandments, they get punished.  Just ask Thilakan or Meera Jasmine. In such a situation, the organization which was created to prevent exploitation becomes the exploiter. It is like the Drohkaal situation where the interrogator gets interrogated.

A counter argument is that people who join AMMA are joining the organization voluntarily. So if they voluntarily submit to such abuse, then it is OK. The counter-counter argument to that is this question. If an actor disagrees with AMMA, can he find work?  From Thilakan’s experience we know that life can be hard.  Or look at Meera Jasmine. Or look at Suresh Gopi. He has disagreements with AMMA and they presented a skit in which he was ridiculed. It is this high school ragging mentality which makes us question organizations like AMMA even though it has put out lofty goals as its ideal.

Today, Malayalam film industry is being propelled by the so called New Generation movies. In the last few years there’s is an explosion in number of movies, and there is a huge number of new actors and technicians facilitating  this huge revival. Are these folks getting represented in these organizations? Or are these organizations tools for the old guard to keep their control on the proceedings?

March 3, 2013
by vc
1 Comment

Ranjan Pramod is back

When Photographer sank, so did it’s director Ranjan Pramod. An exceptionally talented screen writer, who had penned scripts for  movies like Naran, Meesa Madhavan,  Achuvinte Amma, we were baffled by his absence. With Rose Guitarinal, he’s resurfaced.  His comeback will be an asset for the resurgent Malayalam cinema. That said, we were surprised by his recent comment, that Photographer is instrumental for the new wave of Malayalam cinema .  But if you think about it, that is true. The movie was so terrible that it became a guideline for film makers on what not to do.

PS:  We started this post before the reviews of  Rose Guitarinal were out, looks like it’s going Photographer way.

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