A Blog on Cinema

February 28, 2012
by NikhiMenon

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!

February 13, 2012
by vc

Asif Ali super Star

He is currently trying to be the next superstar and there is concerted effort to make that happen. The best way to be a superstar is to do the role of an underworld don and that is what he did in Asuravithu. Maybe it was due to A K Sajan’s talented direction, the underworld movie went underwater. Soon it will also have the company of Unnam in the ocean bed.

But then is Asif Ali really superstar material? We don’t think so.

For example, look at Salt N Pepper. There is a scene where he sits in the train and introduces himself to the girl sitting opposite, pretending to be an acquaintance. When he gets caught, his reaction is really terrible. Similary, his scenes with the heroines are really bad. Stacked against seasoned actors like Lal and Shweta Menon, he was found lacking. In fact we will go on to say that he is the weakest link that wonderful movie. He was terrible in Unnam as well.

The performances, except perhaps for Lal, are mostly disappointing. After his dismal show in ‘Asuravithu’, Asif Ali proves once again that he is not yet ready to be an action hero[Unnam Review].

But then we liked him in Traffic. That is a pure adrenalin movie with little time for dialogue with hardly any “reaction shots” and he did a wonderful job in it. But is doing action movies alone sufficient? It won’t take him far since there are others with better physique.

Why are we lowering the bar for these new superstar wannabes? Mohanlal and Mammootty proved their ability in every genre of movies before they were anointed as superstars.

So it maybe a bit early to call him a superstar. He has to prove himself in a range of roles and that is when he will find public acceptance. Till then we say, let’s wait for him to do some excellent scripts as he looks very promising compared to many.

January 22, 2012
by vc

6.5 reasons why Randamoozham might flop

1 Mohanlal: Somewhere along the way he lost the craft of acting. This role, which needs subtlety and controlled acting which was partly seen recently in Pranayam may be lost on this once great actor. He now sleep walks in most of his roles. The Mohanlal of Kireedam  and Bharatham is no more.

2 Budget may be too big to recover. Adding Kamal Haasan may help a bit. But MT’s version of alternative history of Mahabaratha may be a bit hard to digest for non Malayalees.

3 Hariharan had his peak with Vadakkan Veeragatha. After that Pazhassiraja failed in script, direction and music. Now to pull off a bigger effort than Pazhassi might be out of his scope. It might be a better idea to get a bunch of directors instead of one.

4 The book, though only a few hundred pages, covers a vast time scale. It will be impossible to cover such a movie in 3 hours. 

5 The book is very subtle in narrative. According to MT, he tried to fill in the gaps left by Vyasa. Some of the gaps, like Kunti intentionally letting her 5 sons marry Draupadi is very subtly told by MT. There are many such scenes which require talented actors.

6 Lack of good women actors. Both Shobana and KPAC are too old for their respective roles and there are not many others who can fill in that shoes.

6.5 Fans of: Mohanlal, book & MT

December 14, 2011
by James

Best Malayalam movies of 2011

There is still 3 more weeks towards the end of 2011, but I think this is a good time to find out our “Best” artists of the Malayalam film industry for the year of 2011. It’s just a little early but its a good time for an estimate. I encourage all the readers to post your opinions, if you were a part of a jury to give out the awards.

Any way this is what I would give, if I was a member of any award jury.

Best Director – Lijo Jose Pellisserry – City of God
Best Screenplay – Shyam Pushkaran & Dileesh Nair- Salt N’ Pepper
Best Actor – Indrajith – City of God
Best Actress – Kavya Madhavan – Khaddama
Best Cinematography – Shyju Khaild – Traffic & Salt N’Pepper
Best Editing – Manoj – City of God
Best Music (bgm) – Prashant Pillai – City of God
Best Supporting Actor – Jagathy Sreekumar – Urumi
Best Supporting Actress – Parvathi Menon – City of God

Best Film – Traffic- Listen Stephen
Best Popular Film – Indian Rupee – Prithviraj, Santhosh Sivan, Shaji Nateshan

Special Jury Mention:
Jayasurya – Beautiful (actor)
Sameer Thahir – Chappa Kurish (director)
Anoop Menon – Beautiful (screen writer)
Santosh Sivan – Urumi (cinematographer)

Editor’s Note: Reader comments are welcome. Any comments with words ChinaTown, Tejabhai etc would be deleted- vc


December 13, 2011
by vc

Ganesh Kumar: Stop telling us what to do

Minister K B Ganesh Kumar is usually a sane person. First of all he has some ideas on how to get people back to theaters. Second he tried his best to implement his ideas in a state like Kerala which is pretty much ‘anti-anything’. That said we were surprised to hear such an announcement  from him. He says that if the Govt decided to give an award to someone, then that someone better come and receive the award. You cannot skip the award ceremony to make a point about issues like Mullaperiyar which most politicians and film actors are scared to talk about. Of course, he was talking about Salim Kumar’s nemesis Ranjith.

We hate it when the Govt tells us what to do, think, read etc. If anyone wants to skip any ceremony because of anything, it is his freedom. Once you start telling others what to do, then we have  lost a way of life. If Renjith wants to make a big issue out of it, so be it.

All this is because this Government is in the business of giving awards. That should stop. Instead of deciding which movie is good or which script was better, the Government should spend that money and effort in making sure that Mullaperiyar dam issue is solved. Now we have a situation where Government is involved in every aspect of life from arts to literature to what not and is missing from areas where we would like to see them do something.  What we need is to abolish unwanted ministries like the ones which Ganesh Kumar runs and let private industries like the movie industry do what it needs to do.

December 11, 2011
by vc

Comment of the week(Randamoozham)

Jac the reader, posted the following comment on our Post: Randamoozham – Who should act in it?.  From the comment it’s obvious that Jac has internalized the novel.

I just read the comments here. Its very amusing that how people favor their heroes on each cast ! Also lot of replies shows that most of them never read MT’s novel. First of all the novel by itself is a flick, its not Vyasa’s Mahabaratha. It’s MT’s vision of what might have happened in real life behind the whole glory of the epic. I dont know who will be best fit for those roles here.  Bheema is the major character and the Anti-hero in this, may be Mohanlal at the time of his Spadikam and Aram Thamburan fame.  Is he still have that Charisma? I doubt it.

Yudishtira is the most stupidest fellow who loves to gamble and very selfish in the story. No major actor in Malayalam wont fit in that. Arjuna is the glamor boy with all the whims and best friend of Krishna, any 6 Pack youngster will do that.  Krishna, another major portrait of a cunning fellow which is entirely different from the epic hero, this character reminds me Saif Ali Khan in Omkara. You need somebody like that, a man who smiles and earn respect in public but a pure business minded crook in his deeds and he don’t care anything other than his friend. Suresh Gopi is a best fit for Karna, because MT’s Karna, is exactly the angry hero who is a gem in his moral side but always got deserted by his own people.

Kunthi is not just another lady character in this film.  She is a powerful women, who just made the entire story line of Mahabaratha into existence. I dont think malayalam have any actress who can pull up that aristocratic, politicaly motivated ego centric women.  If Seema can be in her better shape(Aarudam) she might be able to do it.  Draupathi is a voluptuous women, who just play it very safe on all sides, but only loves Arjuna, if she had any emotions at all. Its easy to portrait any glamor girl in that role, but she is far beyond just glamor, if anyone can invent a young Rekha here! That will do it.

Rest of the characters are just objects around this major characters. The only significant one is Dhuryodhana- a dumb strong idiot (find any good villan) and Shakuni ‘s role, jagathy can do that very easily.

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