Sunday, March 29, 2015

English - A Shyamaprasad film

      Movie about keralites settled in London. Captures a lot of life. Lot of content/ insights in the movie.So many stories interwoven beautifully and all stories have things to tell you.
       Generation difference 
       Captures the generation difference between Mukesh/wife and their daughter. Kids are portrayed as being resistant to speaking in malayalam. Teenage insolence. However, when a group of thugs come in to their shop and starts to ransack the place, Mukesh is unable to handle it while the daughter comes out and shouts and chases male thugs away.
      Elder son / younger son of old woman
      Mukesh is the elder son and takes care of his mother at their house. His younger brother is not portrayed as a bad person. He seems to be unaware of how his own irresponsibility and his being overwhelmed by his own work / family has put so much more burden on to his brother.
      Daughter in law
     Mukesh's wife, who needs to take care of his mother gets frustrated due to the mounting tasks on her plate.She is a good woman but is stretched thin by her work pressure, her kids, taking care of the mother etc.
      Nivin Pauly
       Portrayed as a bachelor playboy chasing girls, not too keen to acknowledge himself as a malayalee. He is yet to meet a girl whom he wants to see in the morning again. He gets close to his friend's wife played by Remya Nambeeshan and sees in her the girl he is looking for for a long term relationship.
    Both Remya and Nivin develop a liking for each other and Nivin is portrayed as someone able to take the relationship further if he decided to.  And he calls on his conscience and decides not to.
      He is seen as starting to transforming himself after and acknowledging his own malayalee culture much more easily.
     A well accomplished doctor, as a function of his stressful work life potentially ends up in a homosexual relationship with an english junior doctor. He is the senior doctor you and I would meet in a top notch insurance paid hospital and a father of two kids.
    Nadiya moydhu - Doctor's wife
     She has always been a house wife and is mostly an ideal mother / ideal wife. She is conservative and wants to go back to India. As she chases her husband around town, she gains confidence and confronts her servant's husband about their domestic violence.
    Helplessness of Mukesh as he has a bad dream of his daughter running away from him with an african. He is unable to exert any influence on his insolent daughter and is essentially helpless in having her walk the way he thinks she should.
     Daughter, herself is put into a new culture and tries to conform to the current trend, facing opposition from her family. She is stretched across the two 'worlds'.
     He is the gentle 'shudhdhan' who has trained himself in 'Kathakali' and loves his childhood sweet-heart deeply and writes her letters every night.  He gets into a fight with his boss over a degraded portrayal of his art form and loses his job and his dwelling. He does through a lot of hardships and gets robbed facing all the terror. His colleague finds him in the streets and instills him back to the same job - something that would never happen back at home.However, there is hardly any other options in London and it is a fair choice for him.
    All these characters and lives are beautifully woven together and to me, exposes the narrow world that these people are forced to live in.  There are only as many bonds as there needs to be. Hardly any backup. Mukesh has to take care of his mother. He has no-one to rely on except himself.  Jayasurya has no option to have a difference of opinion with his restaurant owner. When he does that, he loses not only his job, also his dwelling. When Nadiya moydhu finds his husband in an illicit relationship, she hardly has any alternative to take care of herself and her family.
    Mukesh hits the limit on having to make all decisions about his bed-ridden mother when his brother forces him to single-handedly have to take the decision to take his mother off the ventilator.
      These off shore keralites have tried to re-create their own lifestyle fabric in London and it clearly is a much weaker fabric than what they had back in Kerala. The reason is very straightforward. The years that have gone into making the fabric in kerala have not gone into making of that kind of a fabric in Kerala,London.
     I watched this movie while I am in Atlanta and hence the movie felt very relevant to me.I can see me not being able to connect to the movie if I had watched this when I was back in India. Clearly, a life abroad does leave a lot of wish for even while it presents so many opportunities that are not present back in the poorer home country.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Aakashaththinte niram

    Nice movie - reminded me of  Kim Ki Duk's 'Spring , Summer , Autumn , Winter' for the cut-off island and the maturing of the protagonist against the masterfulness of old man nedumudi venu.
     The movie was quite involving. It teaches you to drop out of the rat race and work towards service of fellow human beings. Real joy is not in grabbing stuff from others but in being of help to others.
   There is one song - I believe a baul song and it was quite appealing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spirit : Malayalam movie

      Saw this an hour after seeing 'Thattaththin Marayaththu'. The difference in maturity was quickly evident as was the striking cinematography.
      Set in high society, Mohanlal plays a successful TV show conductor who is chronically alcoholic.He has been extremely convincing in his performance.
    It was a very ambitious project from Ranjith. Alcoholism is a very wide spread problem in Kerala. There is a lot of potential in the subject.If he can get to some of the root causes and expose the menace in a convincing manner, he can exert influence on the society.But the movie has not lived up to such standards in content but the choice of effort was right.
     The execution is masterful for most part. However, the portion where the TV show peeps into the home of a plumber stood out ugly in the script.The plumber going for de-alcoholising does not excuse this.To make matters even worse,the hidden cam even shows the closet.From then on, the movie failed.
After showing the changed plumber, mohanlal as the show host advices his TV audience and us the cinema audience on de-alcoholism.Very un-subtle.I would be truly surprised if the movie has convinced alcoholics to de-drink - very unlikely.Nobody gets fooled here - somebody deep within you has to be fooled emotionally for you to stop drinking. Lal stopped drinking when his friend dies in his hands. The viewer faces nothing at all.
       The songs of the movie on the other hand are perfect. Excellent poetry . Excellent music. Excellent rendition. Touches you deeply and lingers on.My poet wife had mentioned Rafeeq Ahmed as a great lyricist before the movie and later we realized that the well structured complete lyrics of this movie also came from the same pen.
        Cinematography is excellent too.The movie is a great watch.The high points are music , cinematography, mohanlal, short but excellent performance by Tilakan and the failure point is that I don't see the movie exerting influence on alcoholics.

Thattaththin marayaththu

   Ideally, one should have no perception of the movie before starting off watching it. But I held one - this movie is made by a very young director Vineeth Sreenivasan and hence the movie would reflect inexperience. Well, that anticipation helped. It was better than the anticipation.
    The best part of the movie was Ayesha and her beauty.  Nivin pauly has acted well and has captured the head-over-heels-in-love endearingly.

   The movie is sprinkled with songs all along and that adds to the general feel-good of the movie.In fact,  movie is all feel-goods and not much of a story.
    There were some good humor scenes too. Abdu as Vinod's friend has done a good job. The audience shared good laughs through out the movie.
   However, I am not sure how to explain such huge success that the movie has claimed. It is a soother and a nice one - good job Vineeth.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ustad Hotel : Malayalam movie 2012

    The movie was a good one. Music including bgm is a high point of the movie. I think what stood out most though was Tilakan's acting. Tilakan is indeed a veteran actor. Dulqar is also very likeable with his simple charms.
    The start of the movie was interesting with Sidhique trying to get a boy child. While there were many sections of the movie that were very heart-warming, as a whole piece, somehow, there is an  incompleteness. It is fine to leave threads open.
     The movie is about a youngster trying to find his life. He pursues his dreams innocently and more or less succeeds in that. His grandfather offers him all the guidance. There is a positive interaction between Dulqar and Tilakan and you feel good as you watch him grow. There is a universal appeal in that theme - youngsters relate to it as their present, older people relate to it in their past.
      Music is definitely a high point of the movie. Appangalellam is an interesting number and the flourescent painted faces in the night is impactful in the theatre. Other songs have a heart of their own as well - vaathilil aa vaathilil , sanchari nee.
          The movie presents a lot of situations that you do not see usually. The camera work is excellent in certain sequences.Though personally, I am not a fan of Nithya Menon, I think the slow motion running sequence of Dulqar and Nithya has been excellently shot.
      The theme background of the movie is awesome.It gnaws at you all the while - there is no escaping it.
        The sequence where Tilakan talks about rain in the desert somehow impresses you deeply. The camera work is excellent here too. Some pieces talk too directly to you that you cannot express it. You need to get it from the depths where the impression is and sometimes you don't reach it.
      The movie also attempts at presenting real-life situations that people go through in their daily lives. The sequence where Jishnu complains about the food and how deeply hurt Dulqar is as he makes the dish again is a good one. The sequence is earnest and complete in itself and serves to characterize Jishnu but otherwise seems to not integrate. Or may be not,  that is how things are in real too. The prejudice against a cooking job. The lorry driver misbehaving with Dulqar in Burqa. Youth who try to live their passion in music.
         The movie talks about hunger and how millions are still starving.  This sequence is again presented well. It is a feel good movie and I might watch it again.
      I can watch it again for all the wonderful people in the movie and the endearing gentle malabari accent. Technically, we watched the first day first show of the movie. We reached 6:45 for the 6 PM show but the 6PM show had been cancelled due to lack of people. So 9PM was the show and we were there.


Well, we did watch it again and this watch was as worthy a one, in fact a more worthwhile one. The first half is almost flawless. Varying techniques have been used in different sequences to keep the movie interesting. Humour was the highlight of the first sequence where Siddique is looking for a boy child.The second scene has a continuous sequence where between cuts, the number of sisters with him drop off one by one as they get married one after the other. Dulqar is a Europe returnee and the movie has not one scene in Europe where as the impression is well established.Through catchy music and sketch art, his life abroad is presented through the credits screen.The ego clash between Siddique and Dulqar has been carefully presented too - using mirrors to represent the egos and carefully calibrating the sound inside and outside the bathroom door. This attention to detail is also seen when Dulqar leaves taking just cash and not the gold chain or passport/credit cards from the drawer. Thereafter, the world around Usthad hotel is very well presented as well.
         However, looks like there are flaws towards the second half.The usthad hotel is repainted with enthusiasm. But thereafter, the older look of the hotel seems to have been presented again - atleast that is the impression I got and that in itself is a flaw.I think there is some lack of focus towards the end.
     We have the hotel in trouble, then we have the people fighting and getting it up. And then Dulqar gets an offer to work abroad and is about to go and then Tilakan gets a heart attack. Tilakan sends Dulqar to Chennai Chef who exposes him to hunger and his service based approach to cooking.Then he comes back and Tilakan is not there and the hotel is closed. He then takes over and the hotel becomes a huge success. Looks like some unnecessary coding has been done here.
    If I were to redesign this, I would take out the job offer abroad and the heart attack out from the equation. Tilakan can just send him to Chennai Chef as part of one of his assignments and Dulqar can decide to settle down in Ustad hotel.

Either ways, malayalam movie industry is so very back. Earlier I used to hope for more good malayalam movies. Now, I don't have to hope - I just have to look forward to the ones that are on the way.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chamaram - 1980

     Following recent discussions about malayalam cinema, Bharathan stood out as being much more of an artist than Padmarajan. I also realized that there are so many movies from this great director that I have not yet seen.
   That is how I watched Chamaram on youtube two hours back.

    The start of the movie was very endearing with Johnson's 'Naadha nee varum kaalochcha kelkkuvan' and the innocent flawless beauty of Sarina Wahab. The theme score was nice too. The movie seems to have been remade so very many times that the story did not offer anything new.

        The movie tells the story of a love affair between a student and his teacher.  Uncomfortable truths. Bharathan and Padmarajan have been attracted to such uncomfortable themes and present such subjects in their films.Chamaram also fits into this genre.

      Sarina Wahad and Pratap Poththan have done their parts well. Sarina stood out much more due to her beauty.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


    I had created this blog to note my immediate unedited response on watching a movie. This does not therefore serve as a review and there is every chance that a more thought out analysis of the movie would present a different perception from the initial one.

    Well , for this movie, which I watched the day before, I decided to not put in a quick unedited blog immediately. The movie is clearly the output of a very intense creative process and I did not want to risk a misrepresentation. Two days later, I am blogging this just so that I don't miss out on the chance to note the impressions before my memory fades off.

      As you can make out from the two paragraph disclaimers, I have a lot of respect for this movie. This has not been made to sell. It simply won't. The director of 22 Female Kottayam , the movie I had watched before this one had in an interview presented his confident conviction about how a movie should respect a budget and so forth. 'Moloch' is a different league.
     Moloch has been made because Moloch wanted itself made. A stream of consciousness that was gushing through the director , Aleksandr Sokurov just presented itself.  The cinematography was ethereal - magical. There is a perfection to it that leaves you spellbound. Think of a beautiful painting of a misty morning and you somehow get into the painting and see more of the world in the painting and all the sights as beautiful as the painting itself.That is how the cinematography was. 
     The subject itself is a very surprising one. As you watch the movie, a protagonist comes in who looks like Hitler. You are not sure if he really plays Hitler yet. A little later , this person is presented in a very light manner and you think it is some sort of a spoof of Hitler. Soon you realize that this is a portrayal of Hitler among people he is close to and this closeness leads to comic moments where Hitler's ideosyncracies are presented. After many such situations , Hitler's conviction in cruelty and insanity is presented with such conviction that it sends chills down your spine. The director has been extremely adept here.

     The movie is based out of Hitler's secretary's diary notes and the aspects presented are eye-opening.  The way he sits in his building and watches news reels of real war that is happening projected for him in his theater. His mad conviction towards what he is doing. When his weaknesses are presented , it is unbelievable to imagine that this idiot is such a terror. There is a vacation sequence where guarded by german soldiers Hitler and his close friends fool around.
The soldier is unable to look at Hitler's slapstick dances as this is the same man who has made his life so taut.           
      One isane man and so much devastation. This movie needs another watch for further comprehension - worth a thorough study for content and for presentation.