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!

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.

 

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!

Review: Harischandrachi Factory

Language-Marathi
Year-2009
Director:   Paresh Mokashi
Banner:UTV,Paprika Media,Mayasabha
Genre:Bio-pic/Satire
Based on the life of Dada Saheb Phalke, the father of Indian Cinema, Harischandrachi Factory is a sweet little
film which will charm you with it’s inherent honesty.  The movie which traces the life of Dhundiraj Phalke and his struggles to make the first indigenous feature film was India’s official entry to the Academy Awards for the year 2010. Unlike the usual dark, pretentious and depressing art house fares that we get to see way too often, HF is a cute,entertaining tale replete with successful attempts at dark humor. The mental hospital scene,  Dhundiraj’s search for Rajaharischandra’s heroine in the red streets,the scenes following the sale of Phalke’s worldly possessions are all genuinely hilarious and often satirical which makes this movie a fun watch for even the non-Marathi viewer. The movie also offers an interesting time travel to the India –of the 1900 s.

What I liked the most about the movie:
1.The brilliant performances by Nandhu Madhav(Dada Saheb Phalke) and Vibhavari Deshpande(Saraswathi Phalke). Even the child who played Phalke’s son was very good.

2.The static frames, modest set design and the re recording could successfully create the period feel which was required for the film.

3.The overall mood of the film. Though it had scope to become preachy and over sentimental,Paresh Mokashi resorted to maintain a feel-good  feel through out the film. The length of the film(the movie is just about 119mins in duration) was also optimum.

4.The underlying Phalke-Saraswathi romantic track was charming.

What I didn’t like:
1. In the movie everything comes too easily for Phalke. The London scenes for instance, are far from convincing.
2. HF doesn’t throw light on the failed attempts and the bouts of depression and desperation which Phalke and Saraswathi might have gone through while making Raja Harischandra. The director’s attempt to portray Phalke as a man of all virtues(at some point in the film Dhundiraj’s brother even calls him Harischandra!) was a bit unwarranted.

Verdict-On the whole ‘Harischandrachi Factory’ is a fitting tribute to the pioneer of Indian Cinema, Dada Saheb Phalke and it’s undoubtedly onevmovie which should be watched by every Indian.

Rating-4/5

Lessons learnt from King and Commissioner

1. If Aliens can meet Predators and Godzilla can meet King Kong, then why not the King and Commissioner?

2.If Amoorthananda (Ekalavyan1993) saw this movie, he would have giggled like a girl seeing the efforts put by Sai Kumar in this movie. Wigs and loud screams are so 1980s.

3.Tongue is mightier than sword.

4.Ranji Panicker’s fetish for firangi women and girls in saffron sarees has only grown since his Rowdram, Ekalavyan, Bharatchandran IPS days.

5.Malayalam is now part of Pakistani Army training since their Army chief speaks it fluently. He also knows that if he wants to be spared by King Kong and Godzilla, he has to simply utter “Bharat Mata ki Jai”

6.In a particular scene in the movie Renji Panicker teaches one of the villains and us the difference between Patriotism and Jingoism. However the director(Shaji Kailas)goes one step further and gives us a visual description for the latter in the film’s climax.

7.If you have seen Cassanovvva, this movie is funnier.

8.Just the multi-language multi-page dialogue emitted by the senior citizen superstars make you feel as if you are on top of Mount Everest without oxygen tank.

9.Apparently, Shaji Kailas and Renji Panicker made great entertaining films once. But looks like they are stuck in time. Doesn’t MACTA have a pension plan?

10.Renji Panicker’s verbal diarrhoea requires immediate treatment. The guy is already severely dehydrated.I fear he’ll go into a state of shock soon.

10.5 At the end of the movie, when the credits come up, you realize that it takes a whole lot   of people to produce such garbage.

Review: Ee Adutha Kaalathu

When actor Nishan, who plays an important character in the movie Ee Adutha Kaalathu said, “This movie will surprise you” in a tv interview a couple of days ago,  I had dismissed it as yet another desperate PR attempt by an actor to promote his upcoming little known movie. But after having watched  Ee Adutha Kaalathu in a cinema yesterday I should admit that  I was proved wrong, terribly wrong. The movie did surprise me not once or twice but atleast half a dozen times when I was watching it. Brilliantly scripted, flawlessly executed and intelligently performed ,Ee Adutha Kaalathu is a gem of a film that grows on you and lingers in your mind even long after you have left the cinemas. The narrative is totally unpredictable and a new surprise is thrown at you when you least expect it. For instance,watch out for that terrific interval sequence involving Vishnu(Indrajith),Madhuri(Tanushree) and the lover boy(Nishaan) .

A mysterious serial killer is terrorising the city. Half a dozen characters finds themselves embroiled in it. As the movie progresses, the viewer gets to know more about these characters, their life, ambitions and on how they are related to the serial killer . There is Anup menon as the Scotland Yard trained IPS officer who often becomes the laughing stock in the Police department  as he is not able to solve the serial killer inspite of the ‘training’ he has got. Murali Gopi is Ajay,the frustrated husband who humiliates his wife to cover up his disability. Tanusree Ghosh plays Madhuri,the failed Bollywood actress and Ajay’s wife who had once acted in a couple of soft porn masala hindi movies. Nishan is the lover boy who develops a crush on Madhuri . Last but not the least we have Indrajith as Vishnu, the intelligent and smart rag picker who loves his wife(Mythili), children and his mother more than anything else in this world. There is also a sub plot involving  gangster Watson(Baiju) and his friend turned foe X(oops!forgot his name). All these characters are inter connected and how they are unfolds while the movie progresses. I wont be revealing anything more about the plot here as this is one movie which you will be able to enjoy more if you get into the theatre knowing little about it’s plot or it’s characters.

Taboo topics like Sex,  sexual incompetency, Impotency are discussed freely without getting obscene and distasteful. The movie also takes a satirical take on the average ‘Malayalee’ attitudes and ‘his double standards’ in life. The film also has topical references to the recent’Vilappilshala issue(Thoppilshala in the film) , Tata’s Nano car,the influx of migrant labourers from Bengal and North India and even the Malayalam super stars playing their age.  As I said before, the movie packs in a lot of surprises. The first half of the movie moves at a very slow pace which is justifiable for the number of characters that the film has got. Though Arun Kumar and his script writer Murali Gopi have taken their sweet little time for character build up in the initial half they have made good for it by spicing it up with a few witty gags, Bible references and a killer BG score ensuring that the viewer never gets bored not even once during the 2.40 min run time of the film.

The scenes which I loved the most are:

1.The one between Vishnu(Indran) and his mother.Watch out for how he compensates his mother for that lost gift his father had given her.

2.The Church scenes(the confession scene) between the priest and Madhuri.

3.The Interval sequence between Madhuri,Vishnu and  the lover boy (Nishan)

4.The scene in which Jagathy Sreekumar who plays ‘Theepantham’ Magazine editor barges into Ajay’s(Murali Gopi) cabin and threatens him

5.The post interval sequence in which Vishnu(Indran) and Madhuri(Tanusree) tries to hide their ‘secret’.”Ethu theatre anennu chodikkumbol parayanam,Sreekumar ennu”. Brilliant!

6.The post climactic portions(the wedding scene,the scene where Ajay finds the message written in Hindi inside the coffee shop).

7.The intelligent use of Bible quotes, signature tunes of certain popular T.V. shows in certain sequences in the movie

What could have been better:

1.The back story of Madhuri(Tanusree) seems a bit incomplete. The story of her father ends abruptly. How her mother has reached the present state also remains un explained(may be they might have cut them down during the final edit)

2.The climactic portions leading to the arrest of the serial killer could have been done in a better way.

The Performances

Ee Adutha Kaalathu is one rare movie in which every other actor has given their best. Indrajith as  Vettu Vishnu is terrific and you can hardly imagine any other actor in his place. Indrajith is one actor who inspite of his histrionic capabilities hasn’t really got his due in Malayalam Cinema. Hope this movie gets him the much deserved standing ovation that he has been vying for. The Trivandrum/Parassala slang that has become a bit cliched  ,thanks to Suraj Venjaramoodu and his antics is also used intelligently by him in this movie. Anoop Menon as the IPS officer continues his good work here too and so does Lena(Traffic,Randam Bhavam) who plays the young journo. Thanusree Ghosh as the frustrated wife is apt though at places the lip sync  is not up to the mark. The usually wooden faced Nishan proves that he can emote too if  guided by a sensible director and is backed with an intelligently written role. Baiju who plays Watson, Jagathy Sreekumar as the magazine editor, Murali Gopi as Ajay are nothing but brilliant. Mythili who plays Indran’s wife too doesn’t disappoint though she has a brief role in the movie.

Technical department and Songs:

Arun Kumar Aravind who adapted Butterfly on a wheel   as  Cocktail last year is back with a genuine and original movie this time. Ee Adutha Kaalathu is a movie which he can definitely be proud of and most importantly Malayalam Cinema has got a sensible and intelligent director after a really long time.

More than anyone else I believe it’s the scenarist Murali Gopi who deserves the maximum accolades for creating a movie as sweet and entertaining as this. It’s hard to believe that this is the same guy who had scripted the disastrous Dileep starrer ‘Rasikan’ a couple of years back. Hats off to you, Murali Gopi. Though the inspirations from Anurag Basu’s ‘Life in a Metro’ and the second story in Dibakar Baneerjee’s  Love Sex aur Dhoka (Nishan-Tanusree track) are obvious Murali Gopi never ends up copying from any of these two movies. The situations happen so realistically that you often forget that you are actually watching a feature film. Writing a multi narrative script is no easy job and in inept hands it might even end up confusing the viewer. But that’s where Murali Gopi scores. The links between the principal characters have been worked out really well  and by the time the end credits start rolling all the loose ends have been tied and you get an answer for every other event that has happened in the story.

Shahnad Jalal’s frames are captivating and he could successfully give a slick and urban look for the whole film. Expect to see more works from this talented guy in the near future. The editing is crisp and competent. This review will be incomplete if I don’t mention about the brilliant BGM that this movie has got. The re recording is excellent and it adds to the beauty of the film. The movie has got two songs, Farzana and  Oru Vazhiyayi. Both of them are hummable and have also been picturised well.

No movie is perfect. Neither is  Ee Adutha Kaalathu. Some of the sequences especially those towards the climax seem illogical and could  definitely have been done in a better way. But still all those minor blemishes can easily be overlooked as this is one movie which is genuine, entertaining and totally worth the price of your movie ticket
So what are you waiting for? Catch this brilliant movie at a cinema near you for this is one which deserves to be seen in a really good Multiplex and not in a bootleg DVD. Five on five for this excellent film. Miss this at your own risk!

How to Save Malayala Cinema?

Malayalam Film Industry and the word ‘crisis’ are like the ‘Lava-Kusha’ inthe Ramayana. Whenever we talk about Malayalam Cinema we hear someone lamenting:   ‘Malayalam Cinema is in deep crisis’ or ‘Malayala Cinema ICU vilanu’ or ‘Malayala Cinema Nashikkunnu’…   Infact these phrases have are oft repeated  that they have become as stale as any Satyan Anthikkad- Nattinpuram-Pattikutty-Nelpadam-Amma-Makan  script.

What is it with Malayalam Cinema these days?  Is it the ‘OLF’ invasion(my friend whose dad runs a theatre in Ernakulam district says that except for Vijay’s Velayudham’ all the OLF released in recent times have failed miserably after the initial hype and hoopla died down and will cause heavy losses to it’s kerala distributors!) that’s doing the damage?  Or should theMalayalee film makers who make outdated stuff be blamed?  Or is it a problem with the Malayalee audience who prefer watching everything via Youtube or Torrent to going to a nearby cinema hall?

Maverick film maker Ram Gopal Verma recently said:  ‘when a movie flops,itdoesn’t mean that all the money that a producer invested in it has vanishedinto thin air but it simply implies the poor guy could nt make the public pay for the losses that he had incurred from a director ,actor(s), and the technicians involved in making a movie’.  This year we have not only seen many producers going bankrupt making super star disasters like ‘Doubles'(Reels On Wheel Entertainment), Train (Harvest movie makers),  Bombay March 12(RedRose Creations), Teja Bhai Family (Anantha Visions),  Orma Mathram (HorizonMovies ), Arjunan Sakshi(SRT Films) but also some really promising debutant investors making a mark with meaningful yet commercially succesful ventures like  Traffic(Magic  Frames), Salt N Pepper(Lucsam Entertainment), Indian Rupee, Urumi(August Cinemas). One of it’s offering even made it as the country’s official entry to the Academy Awards(Adaminte Makan Abu). So definitely things are not that bleak . It’s easy to write it off by saying ‘Make good movies,we will watch it’. But then were movies like  Sandesham,  Thaniyavarthanam (now considered as cult classics)  hits at the time of their theatrical release?  The answer is a big, emphatic  No!  Here  we try to analyse some possible ways which can at least help the aspiring producers/film makers in  not making big flops  in the future!

1.Make Movies based on realistic/contemporary/innovative themes:

Be it Traffic, Salt N pepper, Indian Rupee, Urumi, Seniors(a sex comedy with a some what innovative premise) all the movies which  made a mark this year had something fresh to offer. The same Malayali who booed and trashed stale stuff like ‘Kudumbasree Travels, Teja Bhai, Ulakam Chuttum Valibhan flocked to cinemas and made movies like Seniors, Urumi hits. Remember, at least 50% of movies success is based on how good the script is, script should be the super star!

2. Recognize your target audience and time the release accordingly:

Like in any other bussiness, movie making should also be based on market requirements. You can’t expect a sober movie like Pranayam (even if how good/bad it is) to do well in a festive season when some quality entertainment is what every one is looking for in theaters. Had it not been released in the long summer vacation period, we don’t think an utter nonsense like ‘China Town would have made this much money. Similarly the lack of competition helped a    not-so-great offering like Make-Up Man a success.

3. Make Movies within realistic budgets:

Malayalam Cinema is a small entity.It’s high time that our beloved filmmakers realised this. Any Malayalam  movie made with a budget of over 4-5 crores(unless it’s a multi lingual with a Pan Indian cast) spells danger(Anwar,Saagar Alias Jackey,Dubai,Pattalam-to name a few). Moreover no Malayali watches a malayalam movie to see gimmicks/pale imitations of their western-North Indian counterparts being played out. What’s the point inwasting crores when all that you have got to show is a hero(the middleaged,out of shape one or the Young/handsome one) dressed in super cool clothes walking in ultra slo-mo  or him riding a royal enfield motor cycle multiple times? The relevant thing here is that even this year’s blockbuster ‘salt N Pepper’ was a super success only in terms of it’s ROI(5.5-6 crores total gross against an investment of 1.7-1.8 crores). No onereally knows what the real figures of big budget starrers like Christian Brothers(rumoured to be around 12-14 crores), China Town(rumored to be around 8-9 crores). If aMalayalam movie is made within a realistic budget (somewhere around 2.5-3 crores) even if the movie fails in the box office ,the chances of the producer recovering his money through the non-theatrical revenue (satellite,Home video,misc rights) are very high. Which means a producer can even go on to make money out of a movie which had done only average business in it’s theatrical run(Manikyakallu – Gowri Lakhmi movies;Janapriyan -SpotlightVisuals;3 Kings – VNM creations ).

4.Sell your movie in un tapped markets:

There is a saying that’ even in Moon,you might see a Malayalee running atea shop. So far the major chunk of overseas revenue for a Malayalam moviehas been from the middle east. Thanks to the ultra quality youtube, Torrent prints we have lost many markets like the U.S. and U.K.where large number of malayalis have found themselves as migrants. However what the producers don’t realize is that if they make the legal prints of their movies available for the NRI users (i.e for IP addresses except Indian and the middle east)in reputed  websites/you tube on a pay-per-view basis they can still make money out of it).

5.Working on the remuneration of the lead actors:

In Malayalam Cinema, it’s often said that more than 60 percent of the Cost of Production(COP) lies in the remuneration of the lead actors. The 2 superstars of Malayalam Cinema are said to charge about Rs.1.5 crores. So for an average Malayalam superstar movie which costs about 4-5 crores , the effective fund for making the movie is somewhat between 1.5-2 crores. We all know that Kerala is not a place where people would simply flock to theatres just to watch a Mohanlal romancing a teenager half  his age or a Mammootty playing a hide and seek with a North Indian actress. If that wasn’t  the case movies like Alexander the great,  Doubles would have atleast got an opening. The other day someone was heard saying:  ‘Don’t make movie with a Superstar unless you have got the kind of money that they ask for’!  But what these people don’t realise is that this concept of ‘superstardom’ is not working in Kerala anymore! Most of the mainstream (higly paid)actors in Malayalam Cinema have their own production houses. From the bussiness point of view don’t you think it would be more viable if the producers (of the 2 M,Dilip,Prithviraj movies) can strike a deal with the production houses of their lead actors and work in a ‘symbiotic’ manner. This means a movie which cause loss to it’s  producer would also mean loss to the actor’s production house(i.e a reduction in the actor’s  standard remuneration) and a profit  means an incentive to the actor also(in addition to his existing remuneration,of say 1.5 crore he would receive a part of the profit also). I believe that If such a system comes  the bigger stars with all the experience that they have got would at least refrain from doing shits like ‘College Kumaran‘, The Train etc and stop betraying their ever loyal audience.

Wishing Malayalam Cinema all the best!
References
1. http://www.sanscinema.com/malayalam-movies-of-2011/
http://www.sify.com/movies/salt-pepper-is-a-blockbuster-news-malayalam-li1mv0jdeeb.html
http://www.sanscinema.com/2011/11/malayalam-top-5-week-ending-october-27-2011/

2.The film producers association list of the succesful films list of 2010.
3.The converstion that i had with Mr Nandakumar,Nandanafilms(Thaniyavarthanam,Yadavam et al)
4.The conversation that i had with  my friend who is the son of a leadingfilm exhibitor in the ekm district.