Review: Christian Brothers

Christian Brothers is the most awesomest movie we have ever seen this year. The primary goal of the script writers was not to tax the brain of Malayali viewer and provide VFM (Value for Money). It is filmed in exactly the same house as Twenty-Twenty, with most people of that movie playing exactly the same role. Usually in such movies, the villain is not revealed in the beginning. But here it is revealed in the beginning itself. This helps the brain. It also helps if you have Alzheimer’s.

Various factors add to the coolness of the movie. It has people who wear cooling glass inside the house. Then it uses sophisticated “computer” technology and prints “Tracking Signal” on top of Google Maps when Mohanlal’s henchmen try to track phone calls. It has a song with lyrics “moham kondal innu ethu pennum oru poochaye pole”. It has henchmen standing around the same swimming pool in which Prithviraj and Jayasurya swam in Robinhood discussing life-problems, like should we kill him ourselves or should we get pavanai? It has Babu Antony with a black towel tied around his head (hint: he is a commando).

The awesomeness comes in installments.  Mohanlal plays a Christie, an underworld connected Malayali from Mumbai who has come to help Kerala Police and the Home Minister. If this does not bring goose bumps, we don’t know what will. Also, as we all know anyone who ends up in Mumbai becomes an underworld don. It is called Newton’s fourth law. One day you are simply walking along Juhu Beach and boom, you become a Don. Then police is after you and every unshaven youth calls you “Bhai”. It happened to Mohanlal two decades in Abhimanyu. It happened once again now. You would think he would have learned by now.

The next peak comes with the arrival of Suresh Gopi as goonda. It kind of breaks the rhythm. You are so used to seeing him police uniform, you suddenly feel as if the world has started spinning in the opposite direction. Before we sink into despair, the gooda turns out to be an IPS officer – you know the Mussorie kind. He also has a name like Antony Punnokadan or Joseph Vadakkan or something of that sort. Once he arrives, he confronts Mohanlal and they throw dialogue at each other like those arrows from Ramayana serial. Awesomeness oozes so much that we need some buckets to collect it.

Christie saves the home minister’s daughter (Kavya Madhavan) from the always destined to fail henchmen-rape, but he ends up in jail due to a family mess up. You know son innocent, father does not believe it, some bad apples in family theme. By 90 minutes, the number of people who want to kill or eliminate Christie looks like a Malayali queue in front of the liquor store – Sharath Kumar, Biju Menon, Joseph Vadakkan, Sai Kumar.

Once someone is in jail, there is a Newton’s law which immediately applies.  As Newton wrote in Principia Mathematica, every jailed person shall be presented in court and every opposing force will try to prevent this from happening. This movies too has one such scene where all the alpha males get to show their alpha maleness. Imagine Sharath Kumar, Suresh Gopi, Mohanlal, Babu Antony all with guns. It is 20 minutes of pure testosterone. Then there is also the scene when the son is not invited to his sister’s marriage, but he shows up anyway fooling the entire police force. Finally, guess what, everything was based on a misunderstanding. These silly people.

Then Suresh Gopi gets to dump dialogue let and right. At men, women, ministers, and Salim Kumar. Only children are spared. But once his “Ammachi” calls, he becomes such a docile creature that if you pour some milk in a saucer he will stand on all fours and drunk it and wipe his lips with his tongue. He also blushes when his mom talks of marriage. Maybe it is because he is violating some marriage laws, but it is cho-chweet.

But we are not trashing the movie because it is a pure commercial film and we don’t get it. There is one classic scene where Mohanlal is holding Kavya Madhavan and Co as hostage. She wants to make a phone call to Dileep, but Mohanlal the hostage taker does not allow it. So she rants, saying he does not know what love is. This is a big mistake for if anyone knows what love is it has to be the Mumbai based underworld connected Malayali. Mohanlal switches to flashback and thinks of his love Laxmi Rai in saree drenched by the Kerala monsoon. At the end of this scene, he hands over the phone to Kavya Madhavan. So touching.

There is another scene where Mohanlal shows up with a gun during Kavya Madhavan’s engagement ceremony. The number of Malayali actors/sq ft is quite high in the scene and still he manages to get his way. The dialogue that got thrown around in that scene would have killed most people, but the alpha males survive for the climax scene. In the final climax, where everyone is beating up everyone else and furniture is being abused without mercy and bullets are flying around like mosquitoes in a typical evening, you really don’t care if Sharath Kumar is speaking Hebrew. All you want to know is only one thing. Will the three heroes shoot the villain together or will Christie alone shoot him with the two guns in either hand. We won’t tell you what happened. You should pay decent money and watch it yourself.

You may ask, other than classy lines like “Pakistanil kayari Bible vayikkaruthu” is there something worthwhile in this movie. It is a fun movie and it is fast paced. Before you start guessing which previous movie of Sibi K Thomas and Udaykrishna had this scene, the editor moves to the next scene. It repeats again. Then only a person of Joshiey’s calibre could have pulled this ensemble cast movie with sufficient dignity. Think how this movie would have been if Sandhya Mohan or Bhadran had directed this. Or think if Joshi had directed this instead of Joshiey. We also admire the talents of Mohanlal, Dileep and Suresh Gopi for who can make any scene look interesting. Yes, we have seen them do the same thing a zillion times, but still.

Review: Christian Brothers

Joshiy and his team have reworked their ‘Twenty-20’ template to make a half baked thriller called ‘Christian Brothers’. There are foreign location songs, superstar Mohanlal in a larger than life role, father-son sentiments, Dileep’s comic acts,  twists which come in every thirty minutes,  Suraj Venjaramooodu’s bufoonery, an interval punch similar to what we saw in Twenty Twenty, fight between the superstars(Mohanlal,Suresh Gopi), a little bit of skin show(in the form of Lakshmi Rai) and everything else needed for a commercial potboiler;  yet the movie fails to engage you completely. Christian Brothers will be lapped up by the fans of the Superstar for sure and in all probabilities will become a big hit. But for an average movie goer it is just an average fare.

Story and the Script: Scripting for a multistarrer is no child’s play. Uday Krishna and Sibi K Thomas have come up with a no brainer script this time too. ‘Christian Brothers’ is marginally better than their own ‘Pokkiri Brothers’ but is not as entertaining or racy as Twenty Twenty. The loop holes in the script are far too many.

Christy (Mohanlal) is an informer to the Mumbai Police. Meenakshi, the daughter(Kavya Madhavan) of the Kerala Home minister gets kidnapped and Christy is called for help(remember Sagar Alias Jacky).  Christy happens to be the brother of Jojiy(Dileep) who is madly in love with Meenakshy.  Some unexpected twists later, Meenakshi’s kidnapper George Kutty(Suresh Krishna) gets killed and Christy is the suspect.  Enter Joseph Vadakkan, the super cop played by…you guessed it right!  There are also a number of subplots involving Laksmi Rai,  Lakshmi Gopala Swamy,  Jagathy Sreekumar et al. Biju Menon, Vijaya Raghavan, Jayan play the baddies while Saikumar(!) plays Mohanlal’s father.  As in Pokkiri Raja there is a father-son sentiments track here too. Sarath Kumar as Andrews has a very small role and features in two important sequences.

The main problem with the movie lies in its script itself.It is a remixed version of ‘Twenty-20’ and ‘Pokkiri Raja’. The first half of the movie (in which issues like land grabbing have been delt with topically)is a bit confusing and also drags considerably.  The much hyped fight between Joseph aka Thomichan(Suresh Gopi) and Christy fails to make any impact. Those who have seen twenty twenty would easily predict the interval twist involving the Underworld don Andrews and Christy. The father character of V.Mapilla(Saikumar)is just a xerox copy of Nedumudi Venu’s character in Pokkiri Raja.

Direction:  Joshiy has done a decent job at handling all these big stars efficiently.  CB is the kind of movie which relies heavily on it’s star power rather than a credible story line to get itself worked at the box-office and the veteran director has made full use of his huge star cast here.

Cast and Performances:  CB is Mohanlal’s show all the way and his character, Christy will be a treat for his fans. Though the movie has nothing challenging for an actor of his caliber, it will give him the much needed hit. Suresh Gopi repeats his daredevil cop act for the nth time and honestly I didn’t like his character much. Dileep plays his usual comic acts with elan,  manages to raise a few laughs whenever he is on screen. Though Sarath Kumar has a very small role he looks aged and tired on screen.  The leading ladies have nothing much to do.  In big budget movies like this, the female characters are casted just for the eye candy bit. Even no such luck here.  All the heroines except Kaniha looked plumb and totally out of shape.  Suraj Venjaramoodu manages to irritate the audience with his stale jokes.

Editing:  Ranjan Abraham hasn’t resorted to fast cuts and other gimmicks for cheap thrills. But at almost 3 hours, Christian Brothers  is way too long.  Wonder why 1)Suraj Venjaramoodu 2)the ’sayyavve’ song picturised on Mohanlal and Laksmi Rai 3)the character played by Harisree Asokan 4)even Lakshmi Rai were included in the film.  A lot of scenes in the first half of the movie were really unwanted and the lag was overtly felt at places.

Cinematography: Anil Nair has done a shoddy work with his camera. The movie suffers due to excessive lighting. Lakshmi Rai hasn’t looked so bad on screen before! Extreme close up shots were also there in abundance. Every pore and crease on her face were clearly visible, thanks to the mediocre camera man.  Another instance in which Anil Nair’s camera plays the spoil sport is the London scene in which Dileep is talking to Kavya through phone.  The whole scene is lit up in such a way that even a ten year old can spot the thick layers of make up used on Dileep’s face.

Songs and BGM: Deepak Dev hasn’t disappointed much.The songs are hummable especially the Moham Kondal track. The picturisation of the other two tracks Karthave and Sayyave are lousy, to say the least.  While the Karthave song has a  Maine Pyar Kiya (CID Moosa)/ Kavilinayil(Vandanam) hang over to it,the  Sayyave track suffers due to the unnecessary skin show by Laksmi Rai. Both Lakshmi Rai and Kavya Madhavan doesn’t look good and are overweight. The re-recording reminded of Twenty -20.

Verdict:  Christian Brothers will be loved by the fans of Mohanlal,Dileep and Suresh Gopi. For others its only a watchable fare. CB is no Twenty Twenty.Though it tries too hard to be one, it only ends up as a pale imitation. Rating-5/10

Reviewed by nikhimenon@gmail.com,nikhimenon.blogspot.com

Guest Review: Pappy Appacha

by nikhimenon

Pappy Appacha is brutally bland!

Thanthonni, Pramani, Janakan, Body Guard, Agathan… Malayalam cinema has been delivering duds one after the other this year. Debutant Mammas (mis)directed Pappy Appacha ,  is nothing but a mere addition to this seemingly ‘never ending’ list. The movie is painfully silly, predictable and boring to say the least with some mediocre performances by the lead cast.

If George ‘Thanthonny’ Varghese’s did a cut and paste job on his favourite movies like Usthad, Narasimham, Lelam, Vazhunnor, Devasuram and Puthiya Mukham to deliver a Thanthonni, Mammas has done the same to Sathyan Anthikkad directed Manasinakkare, Sibi Malayil’s Ishtam, Joshiy’s Lion and Lelam and served it as a weird ‘dish’ called Pappy Appacha.

The posters of the movie promised to be a light hearted tale on the friendship between an illiterate father son duo. But sadly the movie ends up as a B Grade flick with cheap/stale jokes( that seldom rises above the standard of silly ‘tintumon’ kind of sms jokes), loud action scenes, fake melodrama and a predictable climactic twist(which is a routine these days, thanks to Lal) that might have worked in the techni colour era.The audio CD of this movie had a couple of melodious numbers tuned by Vidyasaagar like ‘Manjin Velli’ and ‘Thammil Thammil’. For some strange reasons the makers haven’t included these two songs in the movie and there are two other noisy ones instead which can potentially gift you a migraine.

Coming to the performances, Dileep repeats his usual antics and one liners for the nth time with limited success. Innocent is wasted and he has had a better role in Satyan Anthikkad’s Manasinakkare with Jayaram. K.P.A.C. Lalitha yells at the top of her voice whenever dileep feels sad and so does the girl who plays Dileep’s sister. Kavya Madhavan looks plumb and totally unfit for the role. Cinematography was adequate which Sanjeev Shanker aptly did visualising the beauty of Melukavu-Thodupuzha on screen. Had the editor been sincere to his work ,the movie wouldn’t have been this much painfully long and for the same reason I dare to accuse the editor for complacency. One of the plus points of the movie(and may be the only one) was the genuinely funny title cards.

VERDICT: Avoidable

Review roundup: Bodyguard

Fazil is known as minimum guarantee director, even if you ignore atrocities like the one he made with his son. Then he wrote a movie for Dileep and even the mice and cat went into hiding. Lal Jose has given blockbusters like Meesha Madhavan with Dileep, then he made Mulla. Siddique similarly is the man with the golden touch. He never had a flop in his life. Then he wrote a movie for Dileep. Even though the movie is terrible according to the reviewers, Siddique’s magic is working both in Malayalam market and the remake market.

NowRunning writes

It’s quite early in the year and the turkey has gobbled. Siddiq’s Bodyguard is bafflingly boring and could best be enjoyed with a blindfold on. Keep a real sturdy bullet proof vest with special trauma pads tucked in handy to confront the several misfires that this Bodyguard lets off.

According to Rediff

Dileep too seems to be lost after the initial burst of energy. His characterisation is half baked and though he tries hard, we’re just not interested. Nayanthara’s famed comeback to Malayalam films is lacklustre. Agreed, she looks chic but the supposed meaty part she had conjured up is not happening. The script leaves no scope for any of the other actors to get noticed.

IndiaGlitz says

Bodyguard is the hit machine Siddhique’s ninth go into the Mollywood Box Office and this time too, he doesn’t falter much in creating a good drama. Though in a not much inspiring storylines, he had managed to shape it as a decent entertainer, which may click with the masses, if promoted with grandeur

What happened to Rajasenan?

We saw a movie which was made for less than 3.5 crore the other day called Romeo. It was directed by one of our favorite directors, Rajasenan, starring one of our favourite comedy actors, Dileep and written by the successful duo, Rafi-Mecartin.

In this movie Dileep plays Manu Krishnan, a male nurse. That itself is supposed to be comedy. He is on edee, podeee terms with Vimala Raman, a doctor so pretty that you won’t mind staying in a hospital forever. Vimala has a thing for him, but he does not have a thing for her. His thing is for Samvrita Sunil, a candidate on a reality show.

So far so good. Manu’s mother, played by Prithviraj’s real life mother, is a judge on the reality show. Manu’s father, played by Cochin Haneefa, then borrows money from Samvritha’s father played by Bheeman Raghu as a bribe for making Samvritha the winner. Few complications arise, such as Bheeman Raghu wanting to kill Dileep etc, resulting in Dileep ending up in an agraharam looking after a mentallyilla Risabawa. There is a subtle statement here that the characters we met so far were mentally stable.

There is a girl in the agraharam who falls in love with Dileep. But there is another guy, played by Asokan, who is in love with the agraharam girl. Then there is some multiple identity issues as well, with Dileep taking on names of other people. I should re-write that sentence. But what for?

At the end guess where they all end up? In an Ayurvedic resort. We don’t know why this venue was chosen as any place would have been apt – from ISRO to Oolanpara. With that said, then all of them sit on your brain and take it out neuron by neuron that your whole body becomes a phantom limb.

So what happened to the guy who directed Ayalathe Addeham and Melepparambil Aanveedu? What happened to the guys who wrote Punjabi House? What happened to the actor who made us laugh in Meesha Madhavan and Chanthupottu?

Forget the inane story. Forget the casting. Forget the direction. Just look the the characters. The writers are not sure if Bheeman Raghu should be a villain or a comedian or both. It is OK to have a villain who is part comedian, but this falls flat.

The reason it falls flat is because there are others competing for the confused character award. The ayurvedic resort is run by Vimala Raman’s father, who is serious one moment, beating up people the othermoment and trying to act funny some other times. Looks like each minute of script was written by a different person.

There is another irritating thing. Making faces. There are too many reaction shots of people frowning, expressing shock etc. Remember how the camera used to capture the expressions of various characters in the TV serial Mahabharata when one of the cast members made a profound statement. Rajasenan sticks to that level of maturity with the difference that Mahabharata was absorbing even with all the deficiencies in film making.

At the end of it one can’t help but feel sorry for Dileep. Such movies are his forte and Rajasenan/Rafi-Mecartin have an established track record.

But Rajasenan has been on a decline for sometime. He made one terrible movie called Immini Nalloral and this one seems to be in the same genre. Since Rajasenan always has been a less than 3.5 crore guy, we hope he spends more time with the script when he ventures out next time.

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Moz n Cat – Round up, Box office verdict and Dilip’s future

Moz n Cat review.

Following Sagar Alias Jacky,  Moz n Cat is facing turbulent waters, like a cargo ship in Somali waters.  Cat and mouse game is on between viewers and theaters. The box office verdict is bad and reviews are brutal. So gory that we don’t want to put the excerpts on this site. But you can read them here, here or here.   A series of flops have questioned the viability of Dileep as a sale able star.  Sidique(Director of  Bodyguard)  must be a very nervous man. What does the future hold for this super star, we’re trying to do some crystal ball gazing.

Dileep looks at the latest box office reports and sees that 2 Harihar Nagar is a winner.   He would most probably come out with sequels for his successful movies. Ever helpful, we have a few suggestions.

  1. CID Moosa goes to London
  2. Lioness(Lion + Chanthupottu)
  3. Kochi Rani
  4. July 4th 2010 BCE (a period film which will be a double role film,Dileep will play hunter as well as gatherer)
  5. Sane Gopalan
  6. Commissioner Garud (with Suresh Gopi as a bird)

Only good thing about Moz n Cat is that it  would accelerate the  demise of Fazil’s career as a director. Can’t believe this is the same person who directed Manichitrathazhu.

Honorary Titles

Recently Mohanlal was made a Lt. Col. in the Territorial Army. It is not a movie, but volunteer reserve force created to protect India. This move was after Mohanlal acted in patriotic movies like Keethichakra and Kurukshetra.

We commend Mohanlal on this move – in taking up this position and serving the country. This also brings up the 200 kg question: what about Suresh Gopi.? In various police roles, adorned since the time of Marthanda Varma, there is no crime he has not solved and no politician he has not bought to justice. He made the state 100% English literate(meaning every Malayalee know at least one English word – shit), but no one has given him even an honorary constable title. Then people like him, who walk in slow motion with theme music, don’t wait for favours. They just get it. In the new movie, he is an IG, you know, just like that.

This also brings up a 60kg question. What about Dileep? If two army movies can win Mohanlal a Lt. Col title, what title should Dileep get after Kallan Gopalan and Meesha Madhavan?