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Guest review: Chocolate

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(Reader Nikhil sent us this review of Chocolate)

Shafi’s Chocolate tells the story of a boy, who comes to study in a women’s college. Prithviraj plays the lead Shyam Balagopal who carries nine suspensions and seven police cases during his graduation. Roma is the heroine Ann Mathews. The movie starts with the PTA meeting happening in the St.Mary’s women’s college (Sacret Heart College, Thevara) to make it a mixed one. Veteran actress Shari makes a come back through this movie, and she plays the role of the principal. Due to the parents’ protest, the college authority turns down the decision but allots one boy as per the rule for the PG course. The main gang of Ann, Nandana (Samvritha) and Susan (Ramya) are against the arrival of a boy where the opposite gang welcomes it.

After his arrival, there happens a lot of funny moments and even a ‘ragging’ against him. It results in the suspension of Ann and Shyam. But the initial war between Ann Mathews’ gang and Shyam gives way to friendship and the college election result becomes a turning point in the story. Prithviraj carries the film on his shoulders and Shafi handled Shyam with care. Roma’s performance is not up to that of Notebook but she handled the bold Ann Mathews very well.

After Classmates, Keralites get the chance to see some nice romance on the screen. Prithviraj and Roma carries good on-screen chemistry and it is handled well by Shafi. Samvritha gives a commendable performance and Ramya’s role is just an eye candy one. Jayasurya plays the role of a young fashion designer (Ranjith) who falls for Nandana. But his role is only a supporting one. Unlike Classmates, Chocolate does not carry a strong story line, but it overcomes Classmates in the entertainment value.

Among the crew, the debutant writers Sachi and Sethu deserves the first applause for the gripping script. But the second half could have been made even better . Some scenes are predictable and the unnecessary fight scene could have been avoided. The climax scene is innovative and it suits the film’s mood. Salim Kumar also contributes to the comedy part, but there is a comic scene from Salim Kumar on the drama stage where he tries to improvise Chandrika’s dialog, which misfires unexpectedly.

With Chocolate, Shafi proves that he can also make visually appealing movie if there is a good script with him. He has improved a lot from his previous venture Mayavi. He took care of the song picturization too. My favourite scene in the film is Shyam’s first day in the classroom. He couldn’t take his eyes from the surrounding girls and this scene provides enough laughter even without any dialogue. Prithviraj’s performance in this scene is enough to shut the mouth of his critics who says that he is weak in doing comedy. It seems he had done enough home work for Chocolate.

The art director Salu.K George deserves a special mention for making the film really colorful. The film has four songs, but Alex Paul’s music is a let down except the romantic melody “Ishtamalle…” which is really hummable and shot well. All the songs are apt to the situation. But I think the last one, “Thamarayum..” could have been avoided. The background score slightly resembles “Ente Khalbile” but it is used well in apt situations.

In short, Chocolate is a must watch with the family for its end to end entertainment value, with a unique theme. The film is sure to get many repeat viewers among the youth and is going to become this year’s mega hit.

(Image Courtsey: Rediff.com)

30 Comments

  1. I went for this movie with lot of scepticism but was pleasantly surprised. Prithviraj has done really well and has carried the movie very well. Maybe it was due to Shafi’s direction, but on the whole a very watchable movie.

    Now that Prithviraj has stepped on Dileep’s area, what will Dileep do?

  2. One comment on “After Classmates, Keralites get the chance to see some nice romance on the screen”
    I personally found the romance part in Classmates very boring..It was painful to watch prithviraj and kavya locked up in a classroom and mouthing textbook dialogues one after other…I felt that was the only negative in the movie.
    Pardon me if there were some other good romantic scenes in it which i have blissfully forgotten.

  3. It is a cool entertainer and on its way to Prithvi’s solo hit ans his biggest after Classmates. he is dashing and a revelation in comedy numbers. The petticoat scene is a riot.

  4. This year’s mega hit? That is too much to expect. It is a watchable movie and will run till the next Mohanlal entertainer comes out. Shafi is not Lal Jose and this movie will soon be forgotten.

  5. Ayyo kanna there’s one Mohanlal “entertainer” that was released for Onam.. or is it already forgotten?
    And about Shafi’s films not being big enough hits, you sure seem to have a case of amnesia..

  6. If no appreciation then try to keep mum. Then only Industry will grow beyond two stars.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Raphel, Why should the industry grow beyond two stars? They both are providing enough entertainment in all roles possible. Why do we need new faces at all?

  8. “entertaining enough?” my dear Tom have u seen Alibhai? Just watch that single film and then you will understand why malayalam films should go beyond
    Mohanlal and Mammootty.

  9. visakh, have you seen Paradesi? Tell me when any of the second grade actors can give a performance like that. Or have you seen Ore kadal. I am not young enough to wait for Prithviraj or Dileep or the likes to learn acting and perform like that.

  10. I dont question the acting skills of mohanlal.
    I also know that Prithviraj cant be compared with him.And that doesnt mean that Prithviraj is a bad actor.He has done justice to his roles whenever he has got a good chance(eg:s classmates,nandanam,chocolate,vargam etc).
    I didnt tell to throw Mohanlal or Mammooty out of industry.But for those stupid festival films from M&Ms(mahasamudram,Alibhai,taskaraveeran etc etc) which are caused due to the fact that malayalam industry doesn’t think beyond the M&Ms.

    One very important point.(Forget mohanlali dont think that such an actor will be born again);have you seen the mammooty films early in his career.They were so artificial especially in romantic and comic roles.He didnt even know to smile properly(even mammooty has
    mentioned this many times).Considering all that i strongly believe that Prithviraj has done a comendable performance.He is only 25 and can still improve.I really dont know why the some malayalee audience cant accept him.Dont compare a 25 year old actor with those who have passed 25 years in the film field alone.

  11. Tom, I think you will be disappointed. According to sify

    “The Ramzan 2007 results have created shockwaves in Malayalam film industry. Out of four releases- Black Cat, Chocolate, Nasrani, Pardesi, only the Pritviraj starrer Chocolate has emerged as the big winner. The rest are all losing propositions.”

    What were you saying about Shafi and Prithviraj?

    here is the link http://sify.com/movies/malayalam/fullstory.php?id=14546512

  12. Acting talent is innate, if Prithvi has talent he should have shown it by age 25, as viewers we dont have to wait for year 25 to see hisacting abilities.
    Having said that we can safely assume that Malayalee viewers have given benefit of doubt in favour of Prithvi. They think that this guy COULD be good.
    Prithvi has to act in all genres of movies and prove himself before people can come forward and claim that he’s good enough as a replacement to our reigning super stars.
    But again, for Prithvi it was not easy as roles didnt come by because of politics or whatever reason.
    Fact that he’s still around 5 years after debut, while many shooting starts came and went, shows that Malayalee viewers have patience and hope when it comes to Prithvi.

  13. Tom, people who are in normal mental state cannot accept Alibhais, Thurupugulans, Nasranis, Mahasamudrams etc as entertainments. I can’t understand why are you against the rising of new actors in malayalam. Do anyone believe that Lal and Mammooty will be here to provide such “entertainments” after 6-7 years???

    The young audience in Kerala have accepted Chocolate in their hearts. The response in the theatre shows that the youth, especially girls were starving for a fresh yougsters’ film after Classmates.

  14. I don´t know why Varnachithram is promoting Prithviraj too much, M&M become stars without having any promotion, only by there hardwork. Prithvi can also be star in the long run. Website and forum promotions will not make any star. M&M have acted in bad movies but same is applicable to Prithviraj too. Remember he have the largest number of flops in the short period of his career.

  15. Rij, So Chocolate is a big hit, bigger than both superstar movies, because Varnachitram is promoting him? When M&M were starting Internet was not around and people were still living in caves.

  16. Yes I agree, but you must remember one thing, Once few Jayaram movies was also become bigger hits than when competed with M&M movies. Then Suresh Gopi, Dileep all had. Sreenvasan also proved it many times. Kunchakko boban´s “Aniyathi pravu ” and “Niram” were also big compared to the other movies released same time, So this is not a big thing.

  17. I still can’t understand the fact that some of you here think that just by admiring Prithvi for his performance in some movies is doing injustice to the 2 Ms. Some of us feel that he is a good actor per se and not on a scale measureed against M and M. or that he is going to be the next mallu superstar.
    Is it that hard to accept/digest that he can act well? I don’t think that we even need to bring in M and M in this topic. Everyone has their ups and downs.

  18. I don’t think that those who are taking up the cudgel for Prithviraj here are doing him any favors. If he is to mature into a good actor, he has to face hardships and prove his mettle. He may be young, but he is a professional actor. It’s not like he’s in a school play, where we can pat him on the back and say, “മോനേ നന്നായി കേട്ടോ.” A viewer who buys a ticket has the right to watch the movie that she/he feels will give them the best bang for their buck. We don’t owe Prithvi anything. When he has had a string of successes, he will become a bankable star, just like Dileep was a few years back. And if that is replaced by a string of failures, he will lose his bankability. It’s simple market economics.

    Looking back at his career, all of his good movies have been accepted. Nandanam, Swapnakoodu, and Classmates were hits because they had the right commercial elements. Some may think that Vargam and Vasthavam also deserved to be hits, but the subject of those movies (corrupt cop/politician) was been beaten to death in the ’80s and ’90s. I personally liked Daivanamathil, but the time for such issue-based movies is over. The focus should be on the story. The underlying message should be subtle (unless the aim is to please critics and win awards).

    The two M’s get big initials but if the word of mouth publicity doesn’t hold up, their movies also flop. Most good movies have suceeded through word of mouth publicity (ex: Classmates, Arabikatha, Ore Kadal). Going by the last few festival seasons, the box office winners have been the best movie of the lot. So give the viewers some credit.

  19. I managed to see Choclates in Sree Padmnabha in Trivandrum. Going by the crowds (not fans), the movie seems to be a hit.

    What I liked about the movie
    a) The overall Packaging
    b) The script with liberal doses of humor at times with double meanings too
    c) The songs
    d) Stylisation
    e) The pace. At no moment you will feel bored.

    IMO, Prithviraj is good in this movie, but not great. But more than that, what has contributed to the success of the movie is the above 5 factors

    This is just my observation – but I felt that Prithvi’s perpetual smirk on face was evident in this movie also. I see this standard facial expression in almost all his movies. There are no heavy duty emotional scenes in this movie. And Salim Kumar and Rajan P Dev steal the show.

    Also personally I feel Prithvi does not fully fit into the image of a “Poovalan”. The only actor who can fully do justice to such a role is Mukesh. Am sure even at this age, he may be able to take on such a role with aplomb.

    Overall the movie is a refreshing change in the time of Alibais and Nasrani’s.

  20. Hi,

    This is a group request from all of us MSc students of Kerala Varma College,Thrissur.

    We are totally tired of seeing the repeat performances of Mammootty and Mohanlal.They are fine actors but they have been used for 25 years and we think it is high time they switch to projects like Pardesi or quit completely.Amitab is 60+ but ever since he has switched to films where he plays his age he has been just fantastic.So stop Mahasamudrams,Alibhai’s,Nasranis ,Hellos etc etc.

    We are just not interested.

    Don’t be like K Karunakaran and cling on to something even at the age of 80+.A breath of fresh air is needed in politics and movies.And it will come whether u support it or not..

    Because we constitute the majority of the audience.

  21. I think the MSc students of Kerala Varma College, Thrissur should organize a bandh to protest this matter.

    “മമ്മൂട്ടി-മോഹന്‍ലാല്‍ മുതുക്കന്മാരേ, à´ˆ കളി തീ കളി സൂക്ഷിചോ…

    പ്രിത്വിരാജേ സുന്ദര കുട്ടാ, ധീരതയോടേ നടിചോളൂ. ലക്ഷം പെണ്ണുങ്ങള്‍ പിന്നാലേ.”

  22. Vandana

    I shud admit that I find ur protest nothing short of juvenile. I am no carrybag for the Duffer-stars (with the kind of embarassing films they have been delivering left right and center), but u just cant brandish them as has-beens. Not as yet. Atleast not until their films fail to garner a decent initial or perhaps open to vacant stalls.

    U might not be interested. But sadly it seems a majority of the Mallu audience are indeed. And no, do not be deluded into believing that u r a majority, coz u DO NOt constitute the majority of the audience, or else dumbo films as Nasrani and Alibhai wud have left the cinehalls long back.

    Perhaps a change wud befell Mollywood soon, but it wud be better to let that take its natural course, instead of crying hoarse and insisting that it better take place real soon. Lets just keep our fingers crossed, what say?

  23. and Deepak,

    When M&M started a couple of decades back, the internet wasnt around, but people werent living in caves. Believe me, there was an equally sensible audience out there evern then, and definitely much more sensible films.

  24. It is funny to see the protest of Kerala Varma students against a world which is not going as per their wishes. Kids, when you step out of the four walls of the college you will find so many things you do not like and there is nothing you can do about it.

  25. MM, your polite and prudent way of putting things across is a delight to read.

  26. Frog

    The admiration is mutual, I shud say. I hv been an avid reader of ur comments ever since I first came across ur nick on this board! Its not everyday that one comes across something as tongue-in-cheek as that! 🙂

  27. I haven’t seen the movie ‘Choclate’ yet. But I think Prithviraj or any other young actors like Jayasurya, Indrajeeth, or Dileep etc have acting skills and flexibility to some extend. Most of them are intelligent too. I cannot say they can be compared with actors like Mammotty or MohanLal b’cos these actors through hardworking, dedication, and mainting their own style and mannerisms have come up to this point . But I agree that their films flops these days and not many of thsoe films are worthy to watch , or even feel like watching. They should switch to character roles or age suiting roles rather than playing heroism (and that too a 30yr old unmarried chap). Let new faces come up and prove their ability and give us fresh output. And old faces redirect their talent to good meaningful roles. Then only Cinema will grow and people care to watch & appreciate.

  28. Pingback: varnachitram » Blog Archive » Looking back at 2007

  29. “Now that Prithviraj has stepped on Dileep’s area, what will Dileep do?”

    Prithvi doesn’t act like joker boy Dileep in Chocolate, he just plays his character who is soooooo different from the usual Dileep characters.

    ok buddy

  30. Pingback: Samvrutha again with Prithvi « Asianetindia.com Blog

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