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!

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!

Review: Urumi

For those of us used to seeing so called “Entertainers” like Twenty-Twenty or various mindless comedy movies, Urumi is a welcome change. It is a bold move from the producers to think of a big canvas movie, get a pan-Indian cast and film it as professionally as possible. The movie falls into a new category which can only be called fantasy-historical-fiction for it is not historical-fiction. In historical fiction, the writer tries to stay within the historical narrative and weave a tale without violating the space-time continuum. Brilliant writers like M.T even weave a new tale within the given parameters. But in this movie Shanker Ramakrishnan decided to throw the history out of the window. Instead what we have is a tale which takes place during Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India and that is pretty much the history part. Rest of the stuff is his imagination in overdrive mode and he makes it very clear in the begining of the movie when he writes all incidents have been changed for dramatic purposes.

But guess what. We don’t have any issue with it. A story is a story and the only question is if the dramatic purpose has been served. It a revenge saga of a boy who wanted to kill Gama because Gama killed his father. We can call this a Hero’s journey for it tries to follow a set pattern as the hero travels and goes through new lands and has new adventures. In this movie Kelu Nayanar’s calling is revenge. He knows Vasco da Gama is in town and wants to kill him. In fact at the begining of the movie itself the pre-history is given and Kelu has crossed the threshold and made a commitment.

So now that the motive has been given, what do you do for the next 2 hours 30 minutes? We see him travel along with his buddy Vavvali (Prabhu Deva) and during their travel they meet rest of the cast — Chirakkal Bala (Nithya Menon), her father (Amol Gupte), the king of Kolothunaadu and his scheming minister (Jagathi Sreekumar). They also meet Arakkal Ayesha (Genelia), Vavvali’s mother and also an Oracle (Vidya Balan). Finally, as expected, Kelu gets his revenge.

Imagine now that you are on a travel and you meet all these people and take their pictures. It is not really an interesting journey isn’t it. You need some twists in the plot. In fact there are some twists in the sub-plots, but none of them affect Kelu or his personality. The sub-plot concerns the way Kolothunadu is ruled and the succession battle there. There is another sub-plot concerning Arakkal Ayesha and her fight, but that too has nothing to do with Kelu, except for the fact that he is around. In such movies, what you want to see is the hero being put to test, completely pushed to the ground and how he survives that, rises and achieves his goal. Think Devasuram. Neelakantan is pushed to the ground and his machoism cannot save him. He has to rely on Revathi’s character to teach him some lessons about himself and life. As you empathize with him, there is a transformation in the viewer. The viewer who hated him till interval is now rooting for him.

In Urumi though, Kelu is never down. He is like Mayavi who appears in every troubled scene and saves the damsel. That is not really interesting. In Star Wars, when Luke is down, he has to go to a mentor, Yoda, who trains him and he returns back. Our heroes don’t need any training. They are experts in fighting and singing the moment they are born. There is no change in Kelu’s personality in the 150 minutes of the movie. He delivers dialogue in the same dead-pan mode and this makes him really an uninteresting person.

But there are three people who make the movie interesting: Jagathi, Amol Gupte and Nithya Menon. They get quite a number of scenes and it is a delight to watch them perform. These are well etched characters.

We already have written about the music, so lets mention a few things about cinemotography. It is by Santosh Sivan and there is nothing more we need to say. The visuals cannot get better than this. But just watching brilliant visuals without a strong story does not make a memorable movie. But then Santosh Sivan has some staple shots which are repeated in most of his movies. There is a scene in Asoka where SRK and Kareena take bath in slow motion under a waterfall. There is an exactly similar shot in this movie. Another obesession of his is eyeballs and closeups of eyeballs. From Terrorist to this movie, you see the same shot. In one song all the characters jump up and down on an invisible trampoline. You can call these shots his signature, but these repetitive shots pull you away from the immersive experience.

While the songs are terrfic, another let down is the BGM. Look at the scene where Chirakkal Bala is attacked and the music that goes in that scene. It is a fight scene and the music is the most inappropriate one. We know why it was done. Each person has a particular theme and that music is blindly dumped when the character appears. Similarly there is a piece when Ayesha appears and she is asked to sit on the lap of Chirakkal king’s lap. There is a scene where Prithviraj comes to resceue Ayesha and guess what music plays in the fight scene?

The next terrible thing in the movie is the visualization of songs. We simply loved hearing those songs, but when we saw them, some were not interesting. Aarane Aarane was done very well and so was Chimmi Chimmi. But look at the visuals for Aaro Nee Aaro. It is like a rock video songs with all the extras and Prithvi jumping up and down. It looks as if people from the 15th century suddenly time traveled to the 21st century MTV studio. Also the Oracle song called Chalanam Chalanam was simply terrible.

The movie brings up an important issue that none of us know about our history and care about it. Thus when the movie starts we see this guy called Krishnadas who is selling his ancestral property and then after hearing about Vasco’s story, changes his mind. The movie also paints the true picture of Vasco da Gama who was one blood thirsty trader. While the visuals are stunning, there is nothing great about the story. It is not the stuff of classic movies. While the creators have made a decent entertainer, they have missed an opportunity to create a Gladiator. We had great expectations from Shankar-Ramakrishnan-Santosh Sivan combo and maybe that is why we are disappointed.

Urumi and Comment of the week

Reader Unnikrishnan Nair, posted this as a comment. We thought that the comment has some wonderful insights and should end up as a post than a comment.

Saw Urumi on last Thursday @ Q Cinemas Kochi… Beleive me, it has to be seen in a theater that has this good sound effects and digital screening abilities to enjoy it to the hilt!! It shows that there is atleast one star (I dont want to create another argument here in the comments by calling Prithvi a superstar and the fans of M&M questioning that) is there in Malayalam who cares about scripts and screenplays. (Though his movie selections like Thriller make us doubt it!! 😉 )

Coming to the movie it was a visual extravaganza created by best cinematographer in India Santhosh Sivan (only second to PC Sreeram, according to me).. The acting in the movie was top-class. Though there may be detractors calling Prithvi was a tad wooden, I believe it is his character that warranted that.. That said, Prabudeva, Genelia, Jagathy & Amol Gupte were marvellous.. Genelia rocked the scenes she was on the screen and she is unlike anything the Genelia, that a regular film goer knows. I have to applaud Santhosh sivan to have identified that seething tigress Arackal Ayesha, in the usually chirpy Genelia.. I doubt she will ever get a role like this even in the future.. But for sure, she can rest now doing crappy running-around-the-woods kind-of-heroine roles for the rest of her life with the satisfaction of having done some real acting!!

In most of the reviews, mentioned here as well as the ones that has not made into this site, have not done justice to one of the characters and the actor who performed the role – Chirakkal Thamburan performed by Amol.. He was in a single word fabulous.. He shows how one should act.. There is not a single scene where U feel that he is a non mallu acting in a period mallu film.. Even in the scenes where he has nothing much to talk, he shows great acting. I believe he has taken pains to understand each and every scene, every dialog that is being uttered by whoever is there in the screen and seem to have discussed with the director and clearly understood what his reaction should be for every second!! He gets his chance with some choiciest dialogs that bring applauses and laughter from the audience..

The only thing I felt odd in this movie was the flirty nature of the character Chirackal Bala played by Nithya Menon.. An acid-tongued princess who is bold enough to challenge her attackers and strong enough to voice her opinions in the royal court on one hand and flirting with Prabudeva like a dumb-blond on the other doesnt gel well. And the Makom character played by Vidya Balan, I am sorry I couldn’t understand why she is there in the story… I felt it was one thing that stuck out like a sore thumb.

That said, I gotta appreciate Santhosh Sivan for not falling into the charms of CGI for the war sequences. It was easy to fall for, but resisting all that and shooting the climax fight sequences naturally with the available resources is really appreciable…

Finally to all who have been enjoying the likes of mindless masala movies like Pokkiri Raja, Christian Brothers and August 15, go watch this movie to refresh urself!!!

Guest Review: August 15

(This review was written by Hari Krishnan and is cross posted from his blog Malayalam Movie Reviews)

I saw this movie couple of days back, but had to wait till now to write this, to regain my confidence that I am a person of normal intelligence.

August 15 is a basic school drama type movie. Known plots, obnoxious characters and irritating dialogues.
And remember to leave your intelligence at the door, you won’t need them while you watch this movie. Even the producer, director or script writer never used it, then why would you?

The plot is the same, a good CM, and villains targeting to kill him. The basic problem with this plot is that, it is way too predictable and it takes a genius to present it in an intelligent manner. Think of “Catch me if you can” – it was predictable too, but see how well it was presented. That shows the intelligence and caliber of the movie makers.

As always, there is a person who is given a negative shade so that naturally, the audience will suspect them (In this movie, the director is kind enough to explain the plot in the first 10 minutes in a detailed manner. So that the dumb witted people like me can understand what is happening on the screen. Here it’s established that mafia has hired Siddique to kill the CM). Now this being a typical S.N. Swamy movie, we always know that there will be a twist (if I can call it that) so to confuse us, there is a character( Aravindakshan played by Jagathy), given an extra shade of goodness, so that we may think that he is behind all this.

Then twist on twist, a character in the sidelines is the actual person who planned all this. (Remember Vijayaraghavan from CBI 1?) It could be anyone, you choose- it could be even CM’s wife. Then the hero explains and gives weird reasons why he/she is the villain. We have no choice but to accept it, and wonder the brilliance of the hero and go home happily. Justice is done. Peace.

But justice is not done to the audience. Remember Manichitrathazhu- the scene in which Shobhana goes for the neck of Mohanlal long before the suspense is revealed- It was shown to us, right before our eyes, but we still missed it. If you were smart enough, we could have caught Shobhana there. There is nothing like that in this movie, Not even a spark.

And the interesting part is the movie makers know all this, but they don’t care. They try to give explanations for minor things like why Mammootty doesn’t wear a helmet and leaves all the major loopholes in the movie open.

Super hero Mammootty, is the CB CID. He is all in all, knows it all, and just below god in knowledge and status. He doesn’t believe in helmets, rides his Enfield in slow motion, wearing low- waist pants.

Let me ask you- if we know someone is poisoned, what do we do? We try to find what poison it is, its availability and access to people we can suspect. We trust the lab to give us the report. That is their expertise. But not for Mammootty- He searches Wikipedia and finds everything about poison and explains those to the core team. I even saw him typing frantically with Wikipedia page open- maybe he fixed some errors while he was there.

Then the Villain, obsessed with killing the CM, shoots from a roof top. Ha Ha ! Not with clever Mammootty around. He had put a dummy in the car. ( For once, I wished the dummy was me, it was far better). Then, remember there is a battalion of policemen around him, but only Mammootty with his zoom vision spots Siddiqque, and runs behind him alone. It is my humble request to the director, out of respect to the age of the actors, please don’t make them do all that.

Yes, the director got some young and fit stunt men to do the jumping etc, But still there is a lot of running around and movements, Can our actors in their present age, do all that?  I wouldn’t take that risk.  In the good old days, Prem Nazir knew a stunt to jump backwards to the top of a building, there are similar scenes in this new age modern flick!

Mammootty also makes the portraits of the Villain, in Photoshop, sticks everything on to a wall and randomly shoots at the images. Suddenly, one portrait comes apart, and that is the villain’s image !

Who is he? The parrot in a cage? To pick a card, that predicts the future?

Mammootty, once says, that he doesn’t need an office for some weird reason, but after a while he is in a beautifully decorated office with some 2-3 beautiful girls from Police CyberCell.  And you know what the Cybercell does? They have hired a few good looking girls, they call up the mobile operator guys and sweet talk to them to give them the required details. WTF? It shows the bloody ignorance and attitude of the script writer and the director. I say, if there is anyone who is working in cybercell, who has dignity, should file defamation case against this movie. What a shame!

Everything takes time in this movie, “it will take couple of days to get the lab report”  “it will take couple of days to get that report” so that the movie can go on for about 2 hours or more. If the reports come fast, which I bet it can, there is no story, there is no movie, and there is no money. In this way, “it will take couple of generations for these super directors and script writers to mature and create something watchable”

The DGPs runs to Mammootty whenever they are confused or tense- like school children to the teacher- Mr. Know it all, consoles them, explains things to them and sends them back clearing all their doubts, but stops short of giving them homework.

And finally, Mammootty kills the villain in a theatre which is on fire. Surprise! Who would have thought?

I think the lead characters name was Mammootty itself. All I saw was Super Hero, Demigod Mammootty on the screen. No character.

And in this election time, the movie says that there are no issues between the CM and the party secretary. But we knew that already. Didn’t we?

Technically speaking:
For shooting movies, and to ensure that the shots are steady, there is this new fangled contraption called a camera stand. Pradeep Nair, if you are unaware of this device- it will help you stabilize your shots and offer the viewer a better viewing experience. I got squint eyes and neck is still sprained watching this movie. Completely unnecessary pans and zooms- a typical aspect of Shaji Kailas movies- which was a trade mark of old B grade movies still continues in this. FEFKA or PEPSI, whatever is its name, please pass a resolution to Never ever again give Pradeep a zoom lens. He will play around with it like a kid with a new toy and make the whole experience a painful one. Maybe it’s my eyes, but I am pretty sure that I saw some shots which were completely out of focus.

Set direction– check any scene, which has a table- there is a pencil holder with multi color pencils. Be it DGPs office, Mammotty’s home, CM’s home or anywhere. Did the director in parallel announce an art competition among the characters?( as a sample see here, here, here and here )

The shoddiness of the director is such that, even the false beards of the priest are so evident as if it’s a kid’s fancy dress. Haven’t you guys figured how to fix a beard till now? Come on, really ?

Technically, this movie sucks. (as if it doesn’t suck otherwise!) Typical marriage video standard editing/animations, audio and video are not synchronized multiple times, oh and did I say about the shoddy and pseudo action film camera work?

Only one good thing about this movie is that there is no Kavya Madhavan and Dileep and a song in London streets. And hence I generously give .1/2 marks more than Christian Brothers.

August 15 is a cheap, boring and silly high school drama.

August 15 Rating: 2.5/10

Guest Review: Christian Brothers

(This review was written by Hari Krishnan and is cross posted from his blog Malayalam Movie Reviews)

Direction: Joshiy / Joshee/ Josh-hee or some other funny spelling.  Other crew: I don’t know, and I frankly don’t care, because, they are not even worth mentioning.

Well, we have all seen this – a hundred times.  A father of high moral values – misunderstands his son – thinks son is gone rogue –  dad supports the villains –  kicks the son out of his house – later when the villains attack the father,  son returns – saves him – father says sorry and dies.

Just to refresh your memory – Sphadikam, Balettan, Chotta Mumbai – a few in which Gentleman Cadet Mohanlal himself starred.  So if you have seen any of those,  save yourselves from this one,  go buy a bottle for the cost of the ticket and enjoy your evening.

Josheeyi, Josh-hee, joshy josh hey Joshey after the hangover of 20-20 is stuck in the same soup formula,  mega movies,  huge stars(literally!),  larger than life roles and cheap slap stick comedy.

Here is the story,  or what is left of it:  Rtd. Captian Vargheese Mappila (Saikumar) marries off his daughter Jessy (lakshmi Gopalaswamy) to Krishna(Goergootty) who is actually a pimp in Mumbai. Christi(Mohanlal ) who is a decent god fearing, family loving son, as he always used to be in all movies,  goes to Mumbai and finds out the dealings of Georgeootty.  Georgeootty kills the goondas who were chasing them for no apparent reason, while he could have run away, hands over the gun the Christi and escapes. The police arrests poor innocent Christi(violins in the background, please).  Georgootty doesn’t stop there – he goes home, kills Jessy, his wife, again for no apparent reason. The clever villain then goes to Kerala, to Saikumar and tells him its Christi who did all this.

Tang da-dang !

Poor Christi out on bail, returns to his father to explain these things – Then the familiar thing happens –
Christi: “Dad, I have to tell you something”
Vargheese Mappila: “No, I dont want to hear anything! You have spoiled the family’s prestige ! you killed my daughter! Get out ! I dont want to see you again!”

Christi: “ But dad, its kind of important, you should hear this
Vargheese Mappila: “No! I dont want to hear it! Get out!”

(well, if you remember seeing such scenes a 2983 times before, starting from Satyan-Sheela movies,  its your fault,  you don’t forget anything, do you?)

Christi, is disappointed as much he would be if he didn’t get ticket to a movie, walks out of the house,  promising never to return.

That bugger pimp Georgeootty, killed his sister, put him in jail, blamed him for everything, won the trust of dad, and is staying in the same house with your other sister –  and Christy cool, simbly walks out.

If you are still with me, there is more- Suraj Venjaranmoodu is irritating( if i had a cook like him, he wouldn’t last 2 days at my home – got to admire the patience of the Home Minister – enacted by Devan), Harisree Ashokan( his 24th time in the role of a broker) is damn irritating.  Guys, wake up!  The name of what you did on screen is called cheapness, not comedy. I had a better laugh when I watched clowns in cheap circus tents.

The intro scene of Mohanlal:  After the usual build up,  there is fire all over the screen – Mohanlal appears and floats horizontally and fires bullets at the audience, then he splits into 3 and joins back again.  What an amazing skill!  I hear that Mohanlal recently mastered this trick while training with the Indian army.

Then there are the main villains- Vijayaraghavan and co. They just drink scotch whiskey near the pool and randomly stab and kill people.

The average age of all the actors in the movie is 53 years, 9 months.

A fat and old Suresh Gopi, a faint shadow of his former movie image,  mouthing rhyming dialogues and marching here and there in uniform.

The fight scenes at regular intervals of 20 minutes are perfectly choreographed by Disco Shanti. No body gets hurt.(nothing spectacular here, go out for a smoke if you like. if you have seen one Mohanlal fight, you have seen it all)

Its a 3 hour 15 minutes of non stop torture. Wait for a few weeks and the theater projector operators will do some editing for you,  and hopefully make more sense then what is presently there. I am sure with some lavish use of scissors, we can recycle the rubbish and re-create a 10 minute crisp completely different movie, or maybe a couple of them.

Other than to show a bit of skin and also to show us, the stupid audience, that Christi is a man with emotions and is capable of loving and caring, there is Lakshmi Rai, and two completely unnecessary songs.

Dileep blabbers his usual stuff and roams around through screens, well,  I don’t know what else he did in the movie, other than being a reason to bring in Kavya Madhavan and an irritating song in foreign locations.

This is the kind of nonsense movie these old Jurassic age directors churn out. These are the kind of movies the stalwarts like Mohanlal and Suresh Body choose to act.

And these are the kind of movie that we, poor Malayalees, deserve to see – because it’s us, and no body else, gave the movie makers the feeling that we will gulp down any sh*t that is presented to us packed in colorful superstar wrappers and tied with the ribbon of over hype.

Enjoy your evening watching the news at home, it will be more entertaining than this movie.

Christian Brothers Rating: 2/10

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

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