Monday, January 20, 2014

Drishyam. A visual treat through power of the script

This weekend, a trip to my brother-in-law's family at New Jersey. Just to visit them, after they returned from India, and come back the next day. That was the orginial plan. After reaching Metuchen, NJ, we found out that Drishyam is playing at Big Cinemas in Edison. We all got excited at first, particularly me, as I am an ardent fan of Lalettan (Mohanlal, duh!), and there were lot of rave reviews about this movie. 
I have been watching lot of promos and following the movie since its inception. The movie team had portrayed it as a family movie. And with the latest reviews, there were comments that the movie had a surprise element to it. But I felt that the subject of the movie is not "kid" friendly. It meant that we cannot take our 10 year old daughter for that movie. I was reluctant to watch the movie with my daughter.

While having the sumptous lunch at Aroma Palace (thats for another post :)), we met a friend of my BIL's, who had seen the movie. He said the movie is good and can be seen with the kids. He had two daughters, one of whom was around my daughter's age. So we finally decided to take the tickets for the 3:55 PM show.

On the way home, we dropped at Big Cinemas to find that 3:55 PM show was sold out. And there was a 7 PM and 10:55 PM shows left. As we had to return the same day, I persuaded my brother in law to take tickets for his family alone for the 7 PM show. And then we returned to his house. While having the tea an hour later, I was not feeling quite right. A Lalettan movie. Much appreciated. Right in front of me. And I am neglecting it. What a crime! :)

"Lets watch the movie!" I proclaimed. :) Lets watch it. Myself and my BIL drove to Big Cinemas again, to find the 7 PM show sold out! Come on! No Way!

"Wait, " the girl at the counter said. "We are opening another show at 6:50. There is a lot of demand for the movie."


To cut the long story short, we saw the movie.

The movie was awesome! Very well scripted. Very well executed. It is a Jeethu Joseph movie than a Lalettan movie. The director and the script writer (who happens to be the same dude) gets the full credit. Lalettan did really good. The character Georgekutty was in his comfort zone, and for sure, no one else could have rendered it so seemlessly. 
Is the movie a family drama? YES. Is the movie a thriller? YES. Does the movie touch upon social issues? YES. And these YESes are the beauty of the movie. The script has knitted these three angles well together. 

I do not want to narrate the theme or the story here, but I would warn my friends of not taking smaller kids (say, less than 9 years) to the movie. In my opinion, they are not yet ready for the subject yet. For that matter, I wouldn't rate that as a complete family movie. 

My daughter had lot of questions. We did welcome those questions and handled those very carefully. My wife did a wonderful job at that. There were lot of take aways for the young kids, especially girls. And parents of young girls. IMO, you should take your younger (10 and above) kids to the movie. Teenagers would understand the concept, but you might get lots of WHY questions from the younger ones. You may need to handle them properly. 

All the actors did their job well. The girls who portrayed the characters of Lalettan's duaghters were marvellous, especially the little one. One feather for the movie was the characterisation of Kalabhavan Shajon. He plays Sahadevan, an arrogant police constable, totally out of his comfort zone. Hats off to him.

The another aspect to applaude is Sujith Vasudev's well choreographed cinematography.

All in all, what makes the movie so thrilling is the narrative style. This is pretty fresh for an Indian movie.

So, my friends, this is a must watch. In a theatre. Or wait for the DVD. It is worth it. And not to spoil the fun, don't read any reviews or the story line. Including this one :)

(The Punjabi owner of the theatre was at the door thanking each and every one of us for coming to watch the movie. He said he hasn't experienced such and crowd and enthusiasm for any movie he has played in recent years) :)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pranayam - The Love for life

I hear lot of fashion statements like:

"Mohanlal's time is up. He should quit!"
"Mohanlal is getting old! Man, he has lost it!"

All I could do is laugh loud at these stupid comments and feel sorry for their stupidity!

True that Lalettan's choice of movies are not up to the par nowadays, but what choices could he make? Good movies do come, but not to the extreme to exploit his caliber. But, even a midst of all these comments, he comes with a movie which becomes a textbook for acting. Pranayam is such a movie! He plays an old man throughout, a powerful presence. See it to believe it.

Mohanlal, portraying Mathews in Pranayam

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The science of corruption!

Don't worry about the science part. The word was just to attract you into this blog post! Yeah, what a corrupt man I am! (Nowadays you add "science" to anything, and you would have enough ears and eyes to listen to you!)

When there are lot of noise around Anna Hazare and his fight against corruption, it would be so lazy (and unfair) on my part to not push out my feelings about the whole situation. Hence the blog post. Duh!

I am corrupt
Let me declare that I am corrupt. Or I have been one at some point of time. I remember that evening when I courageously walked to the man selling "Hyderabad Blues" tickets in black, and giving Rs.100 (for the ticket price of 40.00), and getting the ticket in pride. The movie was worth it, that's for another day....

Let me make a point here: I am not against any fight to corruption. I am for it. But before I point fingers, let me promise myself to learn to daringly say "NO" when asked by the auto-rickshaw driver to give him double the fare. Let me promise myself to learn to say "NO" when confronted with a government official who wouldn't sign my papers permitting water-line to my newly built dream home. Let me learn to say "NO" to all these distractions! Let me learn to say "NO" to my 7-year old daughter when asked for taking her to McDonald for not watching TV for a day (well, that one may be tough!). Let the corrupt me become uncorrupted!

This is the promise we all (including all the protesters) need to make when Anna Hazare is fasting.

Do I support Anna Hazare?

Well, Anna is a Gandhian. He is indeed a true follower of Gandhian principles. He is doing what I cannot even dream of doing - not eating or drinking...  I do support his cause. But do I completely agree with his way of doing things? No. But hey, I am a non-doer. He is a do-er. So, I should not say anything against. He is doing what I have been barking for long (and doing exactly the opposite).

Let the nation arise and awake! Jai Hind.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's ailing Malayalam Cinema?

That is one topic every Keralite likes to discuss, other than Politics :) This a series of blog posts (or so I plan of), about the reasons I see and the possible solutions that come to my mind.

Problem #1: Pathetic situation of Entertainment centers
I can only talk of those cinema theatres in Trivandrum (Kerala, India), my home town,  and some outside Trivandrum. I can say with 100% certainty that none of the theatres in Trivandrum are welcoming!!! Yes, that are three exclamations, and that was with purspose. :)

On our recent visit to Trivandrum, we went to watch Pazhassiraja, with much enthusiasm. Let me say, the experience (not the movie) disappointed me! I could not watch the movie with complete satisfaction. The ambience of the theatre was of very low class. The theatre had its own special effects, turning the lights on and off, and what nots!

Recently, one of my friends rented the DVD of the movie and we watched it in his home theater. Wow, I had missed the entire movie the first time! So, you imagine!

Solution: This is an easy one. Make it up! Make it trendy so that it attracts more people.

UPDATE: It seems its not only in Trivandrum.

Problem #2: The approach of movie making.
Some months back, I stumbled (yes, I never intended to watch) upon this movie called One Way Ticket. After watching the whole movie, I cursed myself of wasting 2 hours of valuable time! The director/screenplay writer did not have a clue what they were doing, for sure! That was very evident from the movie.

OK, bad movies come and go, and why am I so obsessed with this one alone? The one thing which was frustrating to me was the cast - this movie had Prithviraj, Mammootty and Thilakan.

What more could a director ask for? He just wasted lots of money, thats all!!

Recently saw Agathan, with lots of curiosity, after watching Dileep talk about it as it was the best movie ever made (in Students Only in Kairali TV). Very disappointed! It was directed by Kamal, for God's sake! What's happening???

Solution: It is time for the film makers to take a step back and think straight for a moment. They need to redefine the approach of movie making. Its not the money which makes the movie, its the movie which makes the money! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Movies I wish to watch

Pranjiyettan and The Saint  (Malayalam)
Brain child of ace director, Ranjith, this movie is already making waves in Kerala. Mammookka's different mannerisms has hit the hearts of Malayalees. Ranjith, who takes up different movies with different treatment, has not disappointed the masses it seems.
I was right (sometimes I do get right, honey! :))!  Ranjith did not disappoint me. Mammokka's subtle acting did not surprise me, but did put a smile on my face. One of the (few) best movies I have seen this season! Kudos, Ranjiyetta!

Urumi (Malayalam)
As of this writing, this movie is under production. Being directed by Santosh Sivan, this movie is co-produced by the young and dynamic Prithviraj. He is also playing the lead role of Kelu Nayanar, who planned to kill Vasco Da' Gama. I have been following the lion heart in twitter for some time. The crew is now in Malshej Ghats near Pune, shooting some romantic song sequences and some fight sequences involving Portugese martial artists and Kalari Payattu (a martial art in Kerala, India) dudes.
Well, the DVD has not reached me yet. I have been watching whatever I could from YouTube (except for that theatre print which has been floating around). So many clippings past, and I am not feeling the urgency to watch this flick. The dialogues (whatever I have seen till now) are not mature enough! It seemed as if they are mimicking Oru Vadakkan Veeragaadha. In some scenes even  Prithviraj gave out over-dramatic acting sequences. As of now, I would say I am not that happy with the movie. Well, at least  it didn't deserve the hype which was created.

Anwar (Malayalam)
Amal Neerad really disappointed me in Sagar Alias Jacky (Reloaded), wasting the much talented Mohanlal (Lalettan). Very much! I hope this is his comeback, starring Prithviraj.
I watched this movie with much skepticism. But I was very happy with this movie. The making was much better than Big B and Sagar Alias Jacky. Amal sure did learn from his mistakes. The action sequences are a must watch! This is a movie to be watched in big screen and quality sound effects (do we have such cinema centers in Kerala? :))

Shikkar (Malayalam)
Lalettan is back in action, with ace director Padmakumar (Ammakkilikoodu fame), with lot of adventure and thriller sequences.
Well, I must admit (proudly) that I am a Lalettan fan. And that too a hard-core one! And I wouldn't want to admit that any of his movies are bad ones - ever! This is one of those movies I wanted to give 9/10. But Papetta, you could not maintain the honesty you showed in Ammakkilikkoodu in this movie! Very disappointing. Lalettan was superb - no doubt. But, but, why was Balaraman's (character played by Lalettan) truck named "Shikkar"? And what is significance of Ananya's character being portrayed as Balaraman's brother's daughter? Why not Balaraman's daughter herself?  Grow up, guys! Question to the director: Were you trying to challenge my intellect? Come on! I am done with these histrionics! Time's up!

Debaangg (Hindi)
Salman Khan starrer! Making waves in India.
Should I take a chance? :)
I took the chance, alright! And it was worth it. It was an out-and-out entertainer indeed. Even though it is not a must-watch, you would enjoy it! I did.

The American (English)
I have been a fan of George Clooney for a long long time. His close-to-life acting sense has attracted me since I saw his One Fine Day. Who can forget the subtle shock he displays towards the climax of  Up in the air?
A beautiful movie. This is not an action movie. The silence is very much haunting in this movie. The whole movie has this mood of solitude as depicted by the main character, played by Mr. Clooney. He has excelled in his characterisation and he should be adored for his acting capabilities.

Inception (English)
I have not seen Nolan's much acclaimed Momento. But I am gonna watch Inception, once it lands on the DVD aisles. Mr. Caprio is one of those actors who improvises with every role he gets. He has come a long way from the chocolate boy of Titanic.
What a movie! It did confuse me for a while, but I got my grip, and I should pat on the director shoulder for his attempt. The actors were superb.... yeah just that... a must watch!

Enthiran (Tamil)
Saw the trailers in YouTube. Overwhelming. Director Sankar needs applause for sure. I think this one would be worth a trip to DC or Philadelphia when it arrives here in US.
We did not have to go to DC or Phila. The Regal cinemas in Harrisburg was showing this movie. And was that a treat! Shankar did entertain us. It was a Shankar movie than a Rajni one. Marvellous, indeed!