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

Review: August 15

August 1 , which got released in the late eighties was based on 1971 novel, The Day of the Jackal, by English writer Frederick Forsyth. 23 years later, S.N.Swamy and M.Mani(the producer of August 1)have come up with it’s sequel tilted August 15.Mammooty reprises the role of Perumal, (who was the DySP, CB-CID 23 years ago)in this sequel directed by Shaji Kailas.

The plot and the characters:V.G(Nedumudi Venu) is the C.M. of the state of Kerala. He is in loggerheads with the secretary of the party(Saikumar). The lottery,Sand mafias want the C.M. to be killed. So they hire an Assassin(Siddique)to get their job done. What happens next is what August 15 is all about.

Mammootty as Perumal: Mammootty is Perumal,the CBCID . Perumal looks good, rides a Royal Enfield, attends calls in his mobile,walks in slo-mo with a peculiar gait and a loud BGM playing behind, teases his superior officer Peter Zachariah(played brilliantly by Lalu Alex)to kill his time, plays with Photoshop and even cracks funny dialogues like this through his mobile phone(which rings with a ‘Nokia tune’ all the time!)

Perumal: (to someone called Ammini George)-Hello, Ormayundo ee mukham?.
Ammini: Pinnillathe,Engane marakkananu!

Siddique as the killer: Siddique,who is a really talented actor is wasted in this poorly written role . A cat and mouse game between the assassin and Perumal was what we had expected from this movie, but sadly there is nothing of that sort here. Siddique repeats his ‘Bada Dhosth’ act here also.

Loop Holes galore:  Siddique,the assassin gives an anonymous call to all the leading newspapers and the visual media.Alas,the content of what he told them is the headline of all the newspapers,the next day!  The doctors who are treating the C.M, the private secretary to the C.M and a couple of other insignificant people are always a part of the super confidential meetings called by Perumal and co to find out the killer!  The super intelligent Perumal browses the poison page in our good old wiki and finds out the toxic substance that the killer has supposedly used to harm the C.M.!

The Best Scene:  The confrontation scene between Perumal and the ADGP Peter Zachariah (at Peter’s office) . This one is a pretty hilarious scene, thanks to the brilliant actor Lalu Alex. As Peter Zachariah,he is a real treat to watch and is unarguably the only saving grace in this otherwise dumb movie. The scene at the Party secretary’s house involving Perumal, Peter and the secretary(Saikumar dressed up like the CPI(M) secretary,Pinarayi Vijayan)is also a cracker.

Meghna Raj and Swetha Menon– The 2 main female characters in the movie have less than ten minutes of screen time in the whole movie. They blabber something and fade into the oblivion.

Background score – The re recording is competent. It serves the purpose of waking up the few who have already gone into deep slumber.

Good Acting:  Lalu alex as the ADGP is the only good thing about this movie. With his impeccable comic timing,he steals the show.

Shaji Kailas’ direction:  Nothing worth writing about. There are a lot of weird shots in the movie. Multiple extreme close up shots of tea being poured into the tumbler are included in this movie, the reasons for their inclusion is known only to the director, I guess.

What went wrong: S.N.Swamy repeats the same mistakes which he made in Sagar Alias Jackey, Baba Kaliyani, Positive, Rahasya Police. The Perumal in August 15 is only an extension of the character played by Mohanlal in Baba Kaliyani. The styling, body language et al are repetitive and even reminded the iconic ‘Sethuramayyar’ at places. The story is exactly the same as that of August 1.To spice up the proceedings a bit,the recent clash within the CPI(M) is also dealt with topically but the treatment and the writing is so bland that it fails to become even remotely interesting. Nothing much happens in the first half. But the most terrible thing with the script is that the mission, the assassin, the motive, the conspirators, the method and almost everything else get revealed way too early(within the first fifteen minutes to be exact)leaving behind Perumal nothing much to do for the next 2 hours or so. So we can’t really blame him for walking in slo-mo and mouthing silly dialogues, right?

The climax: Some 25 minutes before the climax we are made to believe that the assassin(Siddique) has a deadly plan to carry out on the 15 th of August, the Independence day. But even after the end credits started rolling, neither Perumal nor I had any clue about what S.N.Swamy was talking about. A badly choreographed action sequence shot in some C class theatre followed by the mandatory S.N.Swamy twist (which is the end result of the ‘inky -pinky-ponky’ game between the script writer and his characters)were what we had in store instead!

Verdict: Drona 2010, the Shaji Kailas directed M.Mani production with Mammootty in the lead role was a disaster .The gentleman he is, Mammootty gave dates to the producer M.Mani again so that he can make up for the losses incurred in his previous film, thus August 15 was born. We wish Drona 2010 had never happened.

Rating- 3/10(Stay away from this dud)

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