All in All Azhaguraja Movie Review

All-in-All-Azhagu-Raja-ReviewThe law of averages has finally caught up with Rajesh-Santhanam team. All in All Azhaguraja, the combo’s fourth film together, falls flat on its face. And the laugh is on the audiences, as it is an ordeal to sit through this profoundly irritating film.

The trouble with AAA is that it lacks basic storyline and took the audiences for granted. The film has no real script to speak of, at best a skeletal plot. To criticise the film’s script is to assume that there was one to begin with. Rajesh probably scribbled it on a toilet paper after getting Karthi’s dates and decided to make a fun movie to release on a Diwali weekend.

The film is centred around Azhaguraja (Karthi), his friend and adviser Kalyanam(Santhanam) who runs a little known TV channel. He falls head over heels for at first sight with Devi Priya (Kajal Aggarwal) daughter of a rich businessman and the rest of the story is how he wins her in the end after a long flashback set in 80’s and a dull climax.

The screenplay goes from one stupid gag to another, one set-piece to another and at the end of it we get a feeling that no one connected with it loved what they were doing. The look and feel of the film is tacky.

Karthi is the only reason you’re willing to give this film a chance. How you wish he had used his popularity and clout to do better films. He looks completely uncomfortable doing comedy and he has to realize that by just putting up with a stupid grin on his face can’t make people laugh!

Kajal is an eyesore in every sense of the word – her costumes are bad and make-up is patchy. Her character is weak and she comes across as an irritating stupid girl. Santhanam is getting so predictable and in-your-face and Rajesh’s idea to make him Kareena Chopra misfires big time. Your heart sinks when you see actor like MS Bhaskar wasted in a thankless supporting role. The hummable numbers of Thaman is wasted in some listless song picturisation.

In the end, All in All Azhaguraja is a dead zone of comedy, a major misfire in every way. When the lights come back on in the end, you leave the hall completely emotionless.

Pandiya Nadu Review

Pandiya-NaduThe jaded revenge formula in commercial cinema is reinvented by Suseenthiran with Pandiya Nadu. Vishal has come out with his best ever performance in a difficult role.

The story is the tried and tested revenge theme, but the impact it is able to create is terrific. The film keeps you hooked till the end due to Suseenthiran’s script, fabulous performances from the lead actors and believability factor.

Yes, Pandiya Nadu is imaginative! The director and power of his script does construct an actor-driven adventure with panache. When was the last time you came out of a theatre wishing you could go back in and watch it again? It’s an unpredictable revenge drama that combines family sentiments, romance and violence.

A typical joint family story. Vishal is an ordinary guy working in a mobile service centre in small town Madurai, who falls for a school teacher (Lakshmi Menon). His father (Bharthiraja) a retired government employee dotes on his elder brother a government employee. Meanwhile there is big mafia gang led by a tough guy Simmakkal Ravi(Sharath Lohitashwa), who rules Madurai with an iron fist. Vishal’s brother an honest officer gets into his bad books and is bumped off. Now, the helpless father and the meek son draw up separate plans to eliminate the bad guy!

Pandiya Nadu has Tamil cinema’s favourite formula of an underdog hitting back at a bunch of people who destroyed his picture perfect family. But the real strength of the film is its writing. The bus stand scene where the son knows the shocking truth about his father and the way he saves him is picturised very well.

Vishal rises to the challenge of delivering a credible underplayed performance and is terrific especially in the climax scenes. Breaking out of his recent penchant for trying to project himself as a lover-boy and trying hand at comedy, he gives evidence of his potential when trusted with a well-written role that requires him to give a subtle performance.

Sharath Lohitashwa as the bad guy is fantastic. He is able to create a fear and hate among the audiences which helps the story to create sympathy for the hero. Lakshmi has nothing much to do but appear in few scenes and a song. Bharthiraja as the dad is superb, especially in the last scene. Soori appears more in a character role than as a comedian. Vikranth in a cameo is stunning.

D Imman ‘s music and background score is one of the pillars of the film as all songs are good. Mathi’s camera is another major highlight of the film. It is in sync with the mood of the film and has captured the Madurai milieu aptly.

Amidst all the violence and killings, this film has a full beating heart. It is logical and has something new within the commercial format. Go on, Pandiya Nadu is worth investing in a movie ticket.

Verdict – Very Good

Kunjanadhante Kada review

Mammootty-Kunjananthante-Kada

 

Watching Salim Ahamed’s Kunjananthante Kada is akin to quenching your thirst with fresh and unadulterated water from a pristine mountain stream, after having gone through a parched desert. Rarely does a movie capture your attention with its arresting quietness and pregnant inner meanings.

A tale that is told with an earthly charm that is so endearing that it never entangles the viewer. It doesn’t hit the road,it doesn’t complicate,it creates no fuss,it just weaves a tale of charm that won’t leave you spellbound,but will surely leave you satisfied. As far as rustic tales go this one should stand head and shoulders above those inflated and clich ridden movies that pretend to be narrating the village life with all the customary ingredients that pander to the tastes of the so called family audience.

Salim Ahamed allows the movie to prosper itself without pressing on the accelerator intentionally so as to make it racy or appealing to any section.He had a tale to narrate and a convincing one at that.Kunjananthan his protagonist is multilayered,profoundly deep and represents a generation that is at a cross roads and a serious viewer can get these nuances throbbing in each and every frame of this movie. Kunjanathan(Mammootty),is a traditionalist to the core, who runs a provision store in a small hamlet in the interiors of Kannur.Married to Chithira(Nyla Usha) with two kids,life is rather uneventful for him as he hardly gets any time to think beyond his shop which was handed down to him by his father.The shop is Kunjananthan’s soul and he loves it more than everything.

He is not the conventional hero who is the byword for all the virtues in the world.He is a good samaritan of course, who runs his business in a proper manner without resorting to any devious methods.But his rather extreme attachment towards the affairs related to his shop bordering sometimes on obsession,has ensured that his marriage is virtually on the rocks. Chithira his wife struggles to put up with his ways and finds solace in social networking websites like facebook.Kunjanathan’s utter disadain for her is explained away by him in a strange manner like a typical male chauvinist, who expects his wife to toe his line.

Kunjanathan has his strange world views and his strong objection to his landlord played by Siddique who requests him to vacate the shop, so that he could sell his land to clear off his debts,borders on selfishness. Kunjananthan has grey shades aplenty and he is brazenly apolitical and his run ins with poiltical outfits of all hues show that he lives in a cocoon of self created comfort.He fears to move beyond his comfort zone and he thinks that his world views are perfect and beyond reproach. As Kunjanathan postpones his living with his own logicalities or illogicalities which seldom cut any ice with his wife and others a series of incidents happen which turn his life upside down.

Kunjanathan and his handful of mates who run small establishments in the hamlet realise that however hard we may try to resist, time will ring in the changes.The wheels of development of which road expansion constitutes a major part, mostly comes to a grinding halt in our land as it encounters issues of land acquisition and local resistance.It is a weighty issue and has portents that goes beyond the scope of a movie and the message that Kunjanathante Kada conveys towards the end may not be easily palatable to all and sundry.The lessons that Kunjanathan learn may have made him a better human being but whether,what he eventually ends up is worth emulating is debatable. Mammootty delivers a performance of consistent authority and panache and his ability to transform into the skin of a character with consummate ease is underlined once again with his remarkable portrayal of Kunjanathan.

It is easily his best role in recent times and he carries the movie with finesse that can also be attributed to Salim Ahamed for his rounded scripting and measured direction.Resul Pookkutty’s towering presence is palpable in each and every frame as sound becomes a character with sync sound being used in an exhilarating manner.We’ve heard about frames being used to narrate a tale,here sounds are used to terrific effect.A traditional North Kerala village in all its grandeur,charm and naturalness is unveiled before us.

Kunjananthante-KadaNyla Usha puts up a competent show as Mammootty’s wife and she looks mature beyond years,hardly overawed by the megastar’s presence.Their chemistry or the lack of it is arrestingly captured.Balachandra Menon is in hs elements as an advocate,so is Salim Kumar as a Govt . servant and Siddique in an afore mentioned role.All others have done their parts to perfection.Frames of Madhu Ambatt are first rate and Salim Ahammed surely owes a lot to him for captivatingly bringing to life the village in his mind.Songs don’t hold too much significance in the general plot.

Kunjanathante Kada smartly brings to life a slice of life in Northern Kerala with the kind of spontaneity that even veteran directors would be proud about.It raises questions galore,though not seeking to find answers for all of them.It is as a film it scores and not as a moving portrayal of our times.It is essentially a zeroing into the life of an individual through a seemingly larger canvas. And Salim Ahammed is surely showing that he is not a one film wonder. Politics of the movie may be debated upon in the days to come but Kunjanathante Kada will stealthily make its way into your hearts with its delectable charm and honesty and ultimately will disappear with a slice of your heart, and you surely won’t complain!!! Kunjananthante Kada is getting very good response from the people.

According to sources, the first half of the film is said to be very sweet and feels realistic and a family related romantic story. Mammootty once more proved his ability and status on the malayalam industry as Mega star. Salim Ahamed proved once more his self. Mammootty’s last release Kadak Kadannu Oru Mathukutty not yet get a good response from the people. But now Mammootty coming backs strongly through this film.

Verdict: Verry Good

‘Kalimannu’ Review

kalimannu

It’s indeed tricky to review a film like Blessy’s ‘Kalimannu’. Yes, the topic of discussion is indeed noble but the real question is whether this movie can strike a chord with the viewer?

Meera (Swetha Menon) is a Bombay based bar-dancer turned Bollywood item dancer, who is making her debut as a heroine in a new film. Her husband, Shyam (Biju Menon) is a taxi driver, who is brain-dead after a fatal accident on the day of the film’s preview. How will she cope up with the tragedy is what the film deals with from then on.

With a lazily written script, the director uses every clichés and gimmicks in the book to attract the viewer. From the announcement of the film, the efforts have been to market Swetha Menon’s real life pregnancy and delivery.

The original scenes showing her pain, feelings and love while giving birth to her daughter is absolutely riveting. Those moments can leave you moist-eyed. But the rest of the story is a sham.

It is evident that this thoroughly unconvincing story was just created when the actor’s willingness to appear before the camera, as she goes through the greatest moments of a woman’s life, was known. Some masala item numbers have also been added for titillation.

Then there is some smartly woven in-film branding where some hospitals and medical equipment get “special mention.” There are some talk shows where the plight of hapless women are discussed and the inhuman nature of the media while looking for spicy stories come under the scanner.

The catch here is that most of the viewers may not dare criticize all these smartly packaged pretentious sequences. The messages can be accepted and the concerns can be shared for sure. The issues here are topical, but are we at the theatres to watch a sheepish docufiction?

Even if one is ready to listen to the sermons, the hypocrisy of the writer-director in selling virtues without any conviction looms large. The intimate feelings of the wife or the mother barely get any screen space as the director desperately tries to sell emotions in a superficial way.

The visuals by Satheesh Kurup and the tunes by M Jayachandran are top notch. The melodious song ‘Lalee Lalee…’ can melt your heart.

Among the performances, Swetha Menon gives her heart and soul to the film with an amazing boldness. Though she sleepwalks through the rest of the scenes, you can watch her only in awe as she goes through the various stages of her delivery. The rest of the cast, including the husband played by Biju Menon and a friend played by Suhasini, has nothing much to do.

Kalimannu definitely leaves you in an emotional mood but this one lacks sincerity. Director B Unnikrishnan, who appears in a cameo, asks the crowd on why they were silent when a young girl was raped in Faridabad days after thousands lines up lighting candles for the Delhi gang rape victim.

Malayalam Film ABCD Review

ABCD-Movie-Photos-09

Martin Prakkat’s new offering “ABCD (American Born Confused Desi)” is a mass entertainer with some deeply underlying political undertones. With this film, the director has continued his success story after his first film ‘Best Actor’, which had Mammootty in the lead, became similar commercial hit. ‘ABCD’ also follows the same pattern in terms of characters, plot and treatment. However, it is focused entirely on youth and is also integrated finely with some social messages that could strike the right chord among them.

‘ABCD’ follows the life of Johns (Dulquer Salmaan), a middle class American Malayalee. A youngster who is relishing his wild, party driven life in the States, is suddenly packed off to Kerala by his daddy (played by Lalu Alex) to teach himself some real life experience of the world outside. He along with his friend Kora (Jacob Gregory, of Akkarakkazchakal fame) finds Kochi to be an alien planet and struggles to fit into this new world. The film follows their misfortunes, accidents and struggles in a rather humorous and casual manner.

‘ABCD’ has a relatively long running time. At a time when most films have lengths that are one and a half hour or less, this one takes its time. The film is long for all the right reasons and makes the right use of it. There is more Kerala in the film than America. However, the director needs to address the issues of a confused desi rather convincingly. So he gives more screen space to Johns and Kora and gives the right amount of time for the audience to acquaint with them.

Coming to actors, Dulquer has once again proved that he is comfortable playing the ultra cool, attitude defining boy-next-door. At certain scenes in the film, Johns has shades of Faizal (of ‘Ustad Hotel’). However, he is able to make up for those reiterations through good delivery of dialogues and some quirky mannerisms. Jacob Gregory, who plays Johns’ buddy, is entertaining to watch for his meek and rapper outlooks. He pulls of some spot-on one-liners and makes just the right combination for Dulquer. Aparna Gopinath as Madhumitha is elegant, bold and makes a statement of her own with this movie.Lalu Alex, Tovino Thomas, Sreekumar (of Marimayam fame) and Sajini Zachariah too play notable characters in the movie.

Jomon T John cranks the camera and provides the right kind of visuals and images to support the film’s theme. Donmax has done the cut and is dead right in controlling the pace of the movie. Music by Gopi Sunder is trippy and has an electronic groove to it to support the film’s cool and stylish outlook.

The film does raise some issues, about politicians, politics and about the issue of Maoism. However, the film doesn’t carry a message. It doesn’t even ask you to take a position on the various issues it raises. Instead it just portrays the issues as they are and alienates from those issues. As the name suggests the film is about the confused state of mind of Johns on these issues, whether it is political or social. It entertains you in full throttle, asks you the right questions and provides you moments of emotional ecstasy and angst, all of which are part and parcel of a feel good movie.

Verdict: ‘ABCD’Entertains…

Honey Bee Malayalam Film Review

honey bee malayalam movie

Of late, booze and even drugs, expletives, fart and shit jokes are the essential ingredients in the new age comedies in Malayalam. Add all those quirky shots, Fort Kochi slang and references to some of the trendy yesteryear hits and the recipe gets seriously attractive.

If you are a sucker for such dishes, Lal Jr.’s Honey Bee could work for you to a certain extent.

Seban (Asif Ali), Angel (Bhavana), Fernando (Baburaj), Abu (Sreenath Bhasi), Ambross (Balu) and his sister Sara (Archana Kavi) are the members of a local music band, based in Fort Kochi.

Michael (Lal) and his brothers belong to a wealthy family and they virtually rule the area, with their muscle power. One of the brothers played by Suresh Krishna is a priest, who can be pretty cruel once he is not doing the holy prayers. Angel happens to be their sister and she is soon to be engaged to a cop.

But then, things don’t happen the way they wanted after a booze party. Some curious escapades later, the gang is on the run.

Well, it is a simple story narrated in a fine way by the debutant director, who is the son of actor-director Lal. The camera and the music are good.

Among the performances, Asif Ali is fine, evidently as the focus is not really on him and he has very little to talk. Bhavana looks good but repeats her rather unimpressive style of acting and dialogue delivery.

In fact, it is Sreenath Bhasi and Baburaj, who make it all look interesting in a big way with their one-liners. Their style makes some of those corny dialogues look fine and could make you laugh as well. Lal and Suresh Krishna have done their part impressively.

Whether you like Honey Bee or not could be dependent on your idea of fun. The unending chase sequences and the unnecessarily serious climax area could turn out to be out of place. Still, this one is not really bad, if you are not offended by the efforts to make the viewers laugh.

Sound Thoma Malayalalm Movie Review

sound-thoma-Review

Director: Vysakh
Producer: Anoop
Music Director: Mahesh Narayanan
Cast: Dileep, Mukesh, Nedumudi Venu, Saikumar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Kalabhavan Shajon, Namitha Pramod, Vijaya Raghavan, Shiju, Resmi

Thomas (Dileep) is a smart and eligible bachelor. But anyone who hears him speak will dislike him. Because of his disability in speech, he suffers much from his villagers and even near and dear ones.

Sreelakshmi (Namitha Pramod) is a radio jockey who has a sweet voice. ‘Sound Thoma’ plots the love story of Sreelakshmi who is blessed with a sweet voice and Thomas who is the victim of his own voice.

Mukesh, Shiju, Suraj, and Saikumar also appear in lead roles. Directed by Vaisakh, the story, script, and dialogues of ‘Sound Thoma’ are penned by Benny P Nayarambalam. Anoop produces the movie under the banner of Priyanjali.

Review

Open Thoma style… Thoma’s half garbled speech and a quirky mannerism in no way hampers the greatness of his inner sound. In fact, it highlights his goodness and proclaims a sweetness of nature that is beyond the ordinary. In the end, it is Thoma’s imperfect cleft-lipped sound that gives the most perfect of messages to the audience. Thoma brings home the core value in style amidst the noises surrounding him.

Director Vysakh once again comes out well with an out and out formula movie along the conventional styles. He and scenarist Benny P.Nayarambalam have concerted a boot boiler with all the typical ingredients- drama, humour, romance, sentimentality, fights, family feud, suspense, moral values etc.

‘Sound Thoma’ is all about the goodness of the cleft-lipped Thoma (Dileep) that brings about a change of heart in his father, Paulose (Sai Kumar). Paulose has three children- Mathai (Mukesh), Joy (Shiju) and Thoma. A series of events part the three of them from their hard-hearted, miserly and money loving father who is a money lender. Paulose invites the ire of the entire locality with his unrelenting ways. Suraaj is his sidekick. Meanwhile, a police officer is out to avenge the humiliation suffered by his father at the hands of Paulose. Cleft-lipped Thoma, is far removed from his father’s ways and knows only how to do good things. This sound impaired man, has a passion for sound, and in the course of events, falls in love with Sreelekshmi (Namitha Pramod). She’s an RJ and her father (Vijayaraghavan) want to marry her off to someone who can sing.

The improbable love story of Thoma and Sreelekshmi proceeds parallel to Thoma’s relationship with his father. A change of heart, the realisation that money is not everything, reconciliation and the sorting out of issues form the rest of the narrative.

Dileep and Sai Kumar have the maximum screen time and both have excelled in their respective roles. Mukesh, Shiju, Nedumudi Venu (as Paulose’s brother-in-law), Suraj Venjarumoodu and the other supporting cast has performed what was required. Namitha Pramod looks promising and has the potential for more mature roles.
The songs stand out for their humour visualisation and familiar beats. The song sung by Dileep is apt for the movie. Gopi Sunder has kept the music breezy and functional. Cinematography by Shaji is competent. Make-up is spot on and looks natural. Special effects are average but jars in select scenes, especially in the long fight sequence. Loud frames, clichés, comedy that occassionaly falls flat, unnatural sequences, stereotypes etc, do mark the narrative, but do not damage this well-intentioned movie beyond a certain point. ‘Sound Thoma’ is not an intellectual exercise but has a social message and has been designed for some wholesome and pure entertainment.

Immanuel movie review

Immanuel-Malayalam-Movie-

Director : Lal Jose
Producer : S. George
Screenplay : A.C. Vijeesh
Story by : Pradeep Nair
Starring : Mammooty,Mukesh,Fahadh Faasil,Reenu Mathews,Aparna Nair,Guinnes Pakru
Music by : Afzal Yusuf
Distributer : Play House

“Immanuel” is Lal Jose’s new venture coming soon after his earlier super hits “Diamond Necklace” and “Ayalum Njanum Thammil”, both of which being clean entertainers for the young as well as for the family audience. The film has Mammooty in the main role as ‘Immanuel’ but also playing an important role is Fahad Fazil as Jeevan, Head of a customer care centre in Cochin. Jeevan is smart, young and skillful in handling customers, and by his own example, inspires the team under him. The centre is visited by people for various needs and this calls for tremendous patience and great ability from the staff.  Into this set-up, enters Immanuel who, having lost his job and having his age as a handicap, takes up a job under Jeevan after being referred by a friend. Immanuel’s travails to support his family of wife and a son and his struggles to make both ends meet feature as the main theme of the movie.

Lal Jose has again proved his credentials as a director, even guiding the flow to cover up the cracks in the script. Mammootty, the mega star that he is, has given another immaculate display and his manifestation from a humble and gentle soul to an almost perfect personality comes almost unnoticed and speaks volumes of his histrionic talents. Fahad Fazil, who has become an icon among the youth, gives another good performance as Jeevan and stands out among the supporting cast. It should also be mentioned that after his first film, Fahad’s next role was in “Pramani” which came after a long gap and had Mammooty in the lead.  Mukesh has also given a fine performance along with Rinu Mathews who comes as Mammooty’s wife. . Salim Kumar, Nedumudi Venu, Guiness Pakru, Aparna Nair, Mukta and others have handled their respective roles very convincingly as well. Remembering veteran Sukumari Amma, Prayers.

Script writing by debutant Vijeesh.A.C is generally good. Cinematography by Pradeep Nair, editing by Ranjan Abraham and art-direction by Mohandas carry their special mark and add flavour to ‘Immanuel’. The office in Palarivattom, created for the movie by Mohandas is quite unbelievable and plays a huge part in raising the ambience of the movie. Afzal Yousuf’s music composition has gone a long way to heighten the drama and excitement.

“Immanuel” is sentimental, has some poignant as well as humorous moments, and allowing for minor lapses, could be termed as ‘a decent cinema’ with plenty of positive messages to cheer you up.