Friday, 9 January 2009

FILM REVIEWS

Unnai pol Oruvam (Tamil)

Kamal Hassan's new movie name is changed from “Thalaivan Irukinran” to “Unnai Pol Oruvan”. The most acclaimed actors of indian cinema ‘Kamal hassan’ & ‘Mohanlal’ are joining in this film. The film Unnai Pol Oruvan is the remake of superhit bollywood movie A Wednesday.

In the film Unnaipoloruvan,Mohanlal is doing a role of Police officer. The shooting of Unnaipoloruvan has started in Hyderabad's Ramoji Rao Studios. In this film Lal is coming as IG Raghavan Marar. Kamal Haasan plays the role of a stranger who plants bombs across various parts of the city and threatens police commissioner (Mohanlal) he would blast the entire city if he doesn’t release the most wanted criminals in town.

Kamal haasan's daughter, Shruthi haasan is doing the background score and signature song. Chakri an ad filmmaker based in US is the director of the film.This film is expected to release on july 4.



Sagar Alias Jackey

Superstar Mohanlal's latest offering Saagar Alias Jackie - Reloaded has reached about 102 theatres today. This new film from Mohanlal is considered to be the most stylish film ever made in the Malayalam film industry. This new film which is a highly hyped stylish action thriller was directed by young director Amal Neerad and produced by Antony Perumbavoor under the banner of Aashirwad Cinemas.


Saagar Alias Jackie - Reloaded was said to be a stylish film and it was correct but the major concern with the film is that there is not a basic story to deal with. Script writer S N Swamy, who is well known for his story based action films have let us down with a storyless film. Director of this film, Amal Neerad too have let us down by not making the film upto the expectations. The director has rehashed certain scenes, locations and characters from his earlier BigB.

This new film is all about a soft hearted gangster named as Saagar Alias Jackie, which is a very popular name with the hit film Irupatham Noottandu, a film which was directed by K Madhu and scripted by S N Swamy. While watching this film it felt that Swamy has remade his earlier film Irupatham Noottandu, which was a far better entertainer.

In the acting side, Mohanlal the most flexible actor in Indian cinema, as usual is a treat to watch but the rest of the cast was not upto the mark. Bhavana, heroine of the movie is wasted with not such a notable role whereas Shobhana was perfect with her role. Manoj K Jayan was ok and out of the villians (too much) Sambath and Suman were watchable whereas others were wasted with nothing really to do. Jagathy Sreekumar is wasted while Jyothirmayi's item dance was not upto to the mark to make the audience crazy.

In the technical side, Amal Neerad has employed the regular technique used by Ram Gopal Varma, Vishnu Vardhan and others to make their film look stylish. All his crew members have done their jobs quite decently. The music department was not upto the mark whereas the camera work done by the director himself is superb.

All in all, this new film Saagar Alias Jackie - Reloaded is the perfect example of the new style of film making. The film is definitely a watchable one with it's stylish way of making and for the locations and look it provides. With a bumber opening like this, this new film from Mohanlal is surely expected to become a notable hit in this year's calendar.


Angel John




Last day Angel John , the latest malayalam movie released in kerala over 75 theatres. Angel John is the debut Malayalam movie of Santhanoo Bhagyaraj which also features Superstar Mohanlal in the Title role. Initial reports shows that the movie is somewhat success in keeping the expectation. The movie is directed by Jayasurya and the movie is a treat for the family audiences. Here is the detailed revie of Angel john

Angel John is not only a breezy entertainer but is packaged well with sentiments, comedy, and action but also has a neat message. Maradona (Santhanoo) is an aimless youngster who likes to waste his time doing practically nothing other than fooling around. For him everything in life is Oru Rasam (just fun) and wants to take the easy way out and lacks focus in his life. He is the only son of Joseph (Lalu Alex) an Bank Manager and Mary (Ambika) who dotes on him. The only person who has a soft corner for him is the beautiful Sofia (Nithya) who has a limp and is the daughter of a failed filmmaker Kuruvila (Vijayaraghavan).

Maradona messes up his life by getting into company of friends and starting an internet cafĂ© that fails and to recoup his losses and attracted by ‘easy money’ he gets into drugs. Soon he is conned and loses everything after pledging his house to a ‘blade’ moneylender (Salim Kumar). On hearing the news his father is hospitalized and his mother finally loses faith in him.A shattered Maradonna decides to commit suicide by jumping from a lighthouse into the sea. As he is about to jump, he is held back by a divine force in the form of Angel John (Mohanlal), who offers him a new lease of life.

The film works because of Jayasurya’s script. More importantly the director plays up the message part of the film by highlighting the importance of hard work, dedication, ethics and sacrifice. Even Jagathy’s Khader Moosa comedy track has a message. Mohanlal as Angel John is top class as he blends his image perfectly with the character, while Santhanoo comes out with fine performance.

The supporting cast of Vijayaraghavan, Lalu Alex and new girl Nithya are all adequate. Though there are only two songs in the film, Ouseppachan’s background score is a winner. Towards the end, the script plods as it becomes predictable and sentimental. But you don’t mind it simply because the characters have handled the scenes skilfully.

So the movie is watchable once and a family entertainer...

Verdict: Above Average(3.2/5.0)


Bhagavan



Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala): Superstar Mohan Lal is back with yet another action thriller. However, this one - titled Bhagavan - is a film with a difference. Shot in just 12 hours from 7 am to 7 pm, on Monday, Bhagavan is perhaps the first commercial film filmed in such short span of time.

Also Mohan Lal features in 52 of the 57 scenes of this film that also features 20 other actors.

Actor M Badhusha, who is in the film, says, "This film will surely create history. It is the first to be made at such a short period of time. It was a great challenge for all of us because to make a full commercial movie so fast we needed to act non-stop. I am doing the role of a commando and it's a great feeling."

This two-hour-long Malayalam thriller revolves around a commando operation in a local hospital and Mohan Lal plays one of the doctors who aids the the operation to rescue a state home minister from the hospital that's been taken over by terrorists - something similar to the 26/11 terror attacks.

Directed by debutante Prashanth, Bhagavan, has an all south Indian star cast with one London-based actor, M Manav.

"It was a great experience. I was leading the commando operation in the scenes and acting along with someone like Mohan Lal was just wonderful," says M Manav.

Six cameras were used to shoot a majority of the scenes from different angles to ensure continuity and save time in this experiment of sorts. The result of this experiment should out be soon after January 23, when Bhagavan hits the theatres.


Pakal Nakshatrangal



Mohanlal has failed to deliver this time round. Especially in many scenes as a spirit, his actions and body langauge resembles some art forms (Kathakali), and test the temper of the audience. He also has some sensual scenes which surprisingly wasn’t that good. His looks in the movie was well suited for his role as a director. But looks could only help him that much. Either Mohanlal was that bad or director failed miserably to utilize him.

Anoop Menon has done a fair job. There was no high expectation from him and he exceeded expectations. Suresh Gopi was another failure. He too couldn’t yield any magical performance. The heroines have got very little things to do to be noticed.

A part of the movie I liked very much was a philosphy, “If we consider from the beginning of human life, the number of people alive now are very less when compared to those who have died. So if the dead and live assembles, the alive shall be outnumbered by the dead. So whose world is this? Is it that of the dead or of us alive? What is death? Is there a new life after death? So is death a new birth?” The movie revolves around this.

The reason for the name of the movie is also well justified. It is said in the movie that the dead can be seen, heard and felt if we wan’t to. They coexist with us in this world. So they are like stars in the day. They exist but can’t be usually seen. They are “Pakal Nakshathrangal”.

The movie resembles the movie Thirakatha many a time, which is another factor which plays against it. The editing work is one of worst in recent malayalam movies. In a song I felt it would have been better had it been left unedited. There is a good suspense for the movie. The irregularity is another factor which affected the movie. At times its fast paced and promises to be an investigative entertainer and other parts it is too slow to make an effect.

Besides all these, the movie is watchable, but it’s just watchable. The movie keeps on shouting at it’s crew “You could have made me better”. I would give 6/10. Watch it because there is good intensions behind it.


Banner : Chaya Films
Cast: Mohan Lal, Suresh Gopi, Murali, Anup Menon, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Manianpillai Raju, Arun, Sindhu Menon, Sukumari, Samvritha Sunil, Kalpana, Reena Basheer, K.B. Venu, Murukan, N.L. Balakrishnan and others.
Music: Shemas Aman
Camera: Rama chandra Babu
Director: Rajiv Nath

Nair San



The film in Japanese called Nair San directed by Keralite, Albert, is based on a real-life character. And Mohanlal learnt Japanese for the role. He now steps into the action arena for an action scene with Jackie Chan who makes a special appearance in Nair San.

Says Mohanlal, "Jackie Chan appears in a major action sequence with me. I'm trying to physically prepare for the role. I've already shot for about 150 days for Nair San in Japan and Mongalia. I'm the first actor from Malyalam cinema to feature in a Japanese film. I've to speak not only in Japanese, but also in Chinese and Mongolian."

Nair San will be subtitled in English and released all over the world. The action scene with Jackie Chan will be shot in Mongolia. Says Mohanlal, "Nair was an Indian freedom fighter. I've met the man. He owns a chain of restaurants. I've been to his restaurant in Tokyo. And he has been to my home in Kerala. He passed away at the age of 85-86. I feel very privileged to be playing Nair."

Though Kamal Haasan got Hong Kong's superstar Jackie Chan to come for a music release in Chennai, no Indian male actor has had the privilege of sharing screen space with Jackie Chan. Laughs Mohanlal, "Like I said, I'm lucky. Nair San will definitely get wide release in Japan."

Interestingly, Mohanlal's southern colleague Rajnikanth is a craze in Japan. Speaking on the failure of Rajnikanth's new film Kuselan, Mohanlal observes, "Actors like Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth are larger than life. They cannot be accepted in guest roles. I can get away with small cameos, off beat roles, walk-on parts anything. I'm playing a 90- year old man in a new film. There're some actors in this country like Amitabh Bachchan, Chiranjeevi, Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth who are beyond success and failure. They're blessed people. If you say I am one of them then I too am blessed."

Mohanlal's new Malayalam release Akashagoparam is the first film that language to be based on an Ibsen play. "I can tell you this much. Ibsen at this point of time couldn't be done in any other language but Malayalam. I'm fortunate to have done it. As an actor it's my job to do the best of the roles I get. However, the roles have to come to me. I can't go after the roles."

Says the softspoken actor, "It was the director K P Kumaran's dream for twenty years. He had been pursuing me for fifteen years to do a screen adaptation of Ibsen's play. I finally agreed. Ibsen's The Master Builder is a complicated play. I've done stage plays including a play in Sanskrit. But Ibsen is tough. However, I treated the film like any other. I play an architect. Changes were made. For example, my character's Norwegian name was changed for the Indian audience."

Mohanlal has also finished a war film Kuruskshetra on the Kargil war. "It's a major film."

About his last aborted foray in Bollywood, Mohanlal says he has no regrets about doing Ram Gopal Varma's Aag. "People just pounced on Ramu. They forgot how much he has achieved in the past. Such things happen. In fact, Priyadarshan has just offered me a role in a Hindi film to be done in the middle of next year. I get a lot of Hindi films. But they don't interest me. But I'll do Priyan's film. It's 12-13 day film. It isn't a conventional Hindi film. It has a message on AIDS. Priyan is returning to his roots. He recently did a fantastic Malayalam film called Kanjeevaram. I was supposed to do it. But I couldn't. Now I'm looking forward to working with him and to doing a Hindi film."

Twenty:20


20 Artists | Mohanlal | Sureshgopi | Mammooty

Twenty:20

Imagine casting all the important stars in a language for a single film and giving equal importance to all the superstars!! It is indeed a mammoth task which has been carried out very well by the makers of Twenty:20. The huge effort taken by all the cast and crew in the Malayalam film industry has resulted in a racy, thrilling and amazingly well-made film. The first round of applause should be given to the writers who have taken script-writing to a new level by providing us a 3 hour film without a single dull moment. In fact, all the areas of film-making in Twenty:20 excel with superb action, songs and suspense.

The plot, interestingly, comes in layers. There are stories inside the story and it seems there is a twist in every scene. The suspense slowly builds up, ending in an explosive climax which will leave the audience in ecstasy.

It is Vishu and like every nostalgic Malayalee, Retired Justice Viswanathan Menon (Madhu) returns home with his wife ( Kaviyoor Ponnamma) to his splendid ancestral home in Kerala to celebrate the event with his children (Siddique and Vijayaraghavan). In the beginning itself, there is rib-tickling comedy involving Innocent, who acts as the caretaker of the house and some thieves (played by Cochin Haneefa, Harisri Asokan, Kochu Preman and Kalpana) who break into the house creating mayhem.

The joyful atmosphere soon turns gloomy as Viswanathan's son Arun (Indrajith), a medical student in Bangalore, is taken into police custody by the cunning Police Commissioner Antony Punnakkadan (Suresh Gopi). His alleged crime? Murdering a fellow student! A brilliant lawyer Ramesan Nambiar (Mammootty) arrives on the scene to rescue him out. Vinod Bhaskar (Jayaram), professor of the medical college, who wants to testify in Arun's favour, is kidnapped by a thug Karinkal Pappachan (Kalabhavan Mani); adding to the misery, mayhem and mystery, Arun too gets killed. Antony Punnakkadan arrests Devan (Mohanlal) in connection with Arun's murder, but Devan turns out to be a poor trader whose presence at the murder spot was a mere coincidence.

Devan's sister (Kavya Madhavan) and mother (Sukumari) arrive and declare that Devan is innocent and that he is being framed by Punnakkadan. They urge Ramesan Nambiar to take up Devan's case. Ramesan, heeding his dear wife's advice, argues in court for Devan, eventually setting him free. Now comes the real twist. Devan is actually an underworld don Devaraja Pratap Varma, who is after Ramesan to extract his revenge for the death of his brother Karthi (Dileep). The film goes into flashback mode, becoming the backbone of the story, and revealing some startling truths. All this winds up in the big climax with all the hullabaloo ending in a shootout.

Mammootty and Mohanlal fans can finally relax; the film gives equal importance to both of them and they are superb as usual. Other movies in which Mammootty played a lawyer have proved that it is the most suitable role for him; in Twenty:20, his excellent performance confirms this. Mohanlal as Devan is outstanding with the right mannerisms and style. Suresh Gopi is amazing in his typical police role. This actor is born to play a policeman!! Dileep appearing in a short role has an impeccable sense of timing. The comedy band led by Innocent and Jagathy are at their wittiest here. Director Joshy and script writers Sibi K. Thomas and Udayakrishnan have done the impossible and created history, not to mention the crew, which consists of all the brilliant brains in the Malayalam film industry. Like Prithviraj, some of the actors have miniscule roles; Jayasurya appears only in a song with Nayantara. The three songs composed by Suresh Peters are peppy.

Twenty:20 is a tribute to Malayalam cinema for its years of creating excellent films and the money it raises will be spent on a good cause. So, the last word is: Twenty:20 is awesome and those who miss it miss the chance to watch the entire Malayalam film industry coming together on a single platform to provide the most wholesome entertainment it has ever produced.

Director Joshy
Producer Dileep on behalf of AMMA
Music Suresh Peters
Cast All Malayalam actors

Chotta Mumbai
Language : Malayalam
Banner : Sree Bhadra Pictures Pvt Ltd
Director : Anwar Rasheed
Producer : Maniyanpilla Raju
Camera : Azhagappan
Story : Anwar Rasheed
Screenplay : Benny P Nayarambalam
Dialogue : Benny P Nayarambalam
Lyrics : Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma
Music : Rahul Raj
Distribution : Vishakha Release
Release : 2007 April 07
Cast : Mohanlal, Bhavana, Siddique, Kalabhavan Mani, Jagathy Sreekumar, Saikumar, Rajan P Dev, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Ramu, Narayanankutty, Kochupreman, Indrajith, Manikuttan, Bheeman Raghu, Santhosh Jogi, Vinayakan.



Chotta Mumbai is an exquisite fun film that works because it encompasses so much in two hours-life, laugher and tenderness.

Despite in wafer thin plot which is a letdown is definitely, the film manages to grip your heart with its no melodramatic content and rave performances from the lead.

Landing on a mass formula movie, director Anwar Rasheed has steered the flick with clear dictation overpowering even the star equations. Truly a director's film, which make you just sit back, relax and enjoy, rather than searching for its logic.

The story set in the Fort Kochi-Mattancherry area tells about a few happy go-lucky guys from the Chotta Mumbai Street who is into anything for making money.

The story unfolds through the narration of Vasco (Mohanlal) fondly called as "Thalai" by his gang mates who introduces his friends Chandrappan(Siddique), Tommychan(Inderjeet), 'Padakkam' Basheer (Jagathy Sreekumar), Sainu (Manikuttan ) and Susheelan (Bijuikuttan) who are presently in a deadly situation as the guy (Cochin Haneefa) who promised them employment by offering Visas to Singapore disappears with the money!.

Thalai has raised the money by pledging his house without the knowledge of his father Michael Asan (Sai Kumar), a well known wrestler who is also the moving spirit behind the Cochin carnival which takes place every year on New Year eve.

Making us remember the 87 flick Orkkapurathu, Thalai and his dad move around more like friends. Micheal Asan who is compelling Thalai to get married sends him to meet a girl Latha (Bhavana), better known as 'Parakkum Latha', an auto rickshaw driver. But Latha who wants to run away with a bus conductor Sunil (Venjaramoodu Sooraj), requests the support of Thalai for elopement, but finally on the day, she realizes that Sunilan was a pimp! Thalai who has pledged her auto's RC book by that time to pay the bank, soon falls in love with her.


And the baddies come in the form of Officer C.I Natesan (Kalabhavan Mani), who is presently under suspension and his brother (Vinayagan) who rules the city. In an event to rescue his brother from police, Natesan kills a senior police officer (Vijayaraghavan) in public road, which was witnessed by Thalai, his father and Latha.

Tomichan who has to raise money for an eye operation of his sister agree to take the blame of the killing for five lakhs. But eventually he is not paid and gets himself into jail. Soon Natesan turns against Thalai and his gang, as they are the only eye witness of the murder of the police officer. Fate also plays fowl with Thalai as he has to fallout with his father as the bank starts recovery proceedings on the day of his sister's betrothal....

The Chotta Mumbai gang is now in a more difficult situation as they have to find a way-out from the menacing Natesan, regain Thalai's house and rescue Tomichan from the police. All this leads to the thrilling, but out and out filmi climax set at the Cochin carnival.



Mohanlal as Thalai looks stunning and makes another believable and honest performance with great comic timing on screen. This is definitely one of the roles that is tailor made for him and will make his fans happy. And other competent performances also come from Jagathy, Siddhique and Manikkuttan.

And the one who stands out is Bijukutaan who utilizes this chance after Pothenvava to the fullest. Bhavana appears talkative, as 'Parakum Latha’. Kalabhavan Mani as the villain, Vijayakumari (actor Mukesh's mother) as the villain's mentally ill mom.

Chotta Mumbai thrives definitely on comedy that comes naturally from such a cast of good timers. And the technical side is the best, with mesmerizing camera of Azagappan, which keeps pace with the film.

Although a number of films have been shot in the area recently, the film bears a stunning look. And finally Donmax’s appears constrained to make a good film to edit. There are four songs in the film tuned by new guy Rahul Raj, including a re-mix of the old favorite Chetti Kulangara….which soon takes a halt after making a great intro for the hero. Most would have liked to keep the song all through as Lal is in his one of the best outings in the song. The weakest link in the film is the background score.

On the whole, Chotta mumbai is a well made film, which proves that Anwar is definitely not a one film wonder. He skillfully executes the film from one of the weakest scripts by Benny P Nayarambalam, And with Lal in another gem of a performance, the director too can sit back and enjoy the film's run at the box office.



Aye Taxi

Director : Rajendra Singh Babu

Producer : Mohan

Cinematography : Ajay Vincent

Lyrics : Mankombu

Music : Anu Malik

Year : 2007

Cast : Mohanlal, Audithya, Rakshita, Amarish Puri, Komal, Vinaya Prasad

Remember classy films like Muttina Haara, Mungaarina Minchu etc? Yes, they are by default associated with ace director Rajendra Singh Babu. But his later movies of Saar… series that went off the track made people think whether he is the same Singh Babu. So is his latest most expected, hyped movie 'Aye Taxi'that is introducing the third generation star of Singh family Auditya as hero. But it was unfortunate to see a disappointing product by Singh Babu. Though Love does not have an out of the world story line, its tolerable but the presentation makes it fall short of expectation. Looks like the director overlooked at the basic criteria assuming concoctions like exotic locations, popular personalities and musicians are more important to introduce a new hero of today's generation.

Aye Taxi has a good start. Then start the confusing scenes! All looks like in a hurry. Most of the characters enter with a self-introduction or someone else introduces them like in an old drama! It is a 'new' touch of director Singh Babu! Hero meets the heroine; turns friends; falls in love - as routine. Heroine departs from him and leaves the country; hero follows her to Dubai. There comes the super star Mohanlal as a taxi driver and then onwards, it is he who covers the screen overshadowing the hero. The question is, was Mohanlal really required for such role or was it only to spice up? However, it is good to see the super star speak Malayalam mixed Kannada (his own dubbing)! Hero comes back to India. What he did in Dubai remains hazy. Entry of Amarish Puri too comes with a self-introduction. Director Babu overlooked at certain key things in the hurried process of justifying unwanted matters. Grandfather of the hero relinquished from his family comes back from Varanasi just because of a single word from his grandson. And such anchorite turning mischievous sounds too silly and baseless.

Saving grace for the film are the locations of Banaras and Dubai, promising performance of hero Auditya, his dance skills, Rakshita in sentiment scenes, her own dubbing, Mohanlal and his Malayalam mixed Kannada dialogs and last but not the least, actress Soundarya in a framed photograph. Rest are waste - from story to music by Anu Mallik to raucous voice of Amarish Puri to heavy weight of heroine Rakshita to very poor computer graphics - the list goes on… People expecting another sensational new hero like Hritik Roshan or Nagarjun hate Love instead of loving it. However, Auditya has the acting potential, which is in his blood but needs right opportunity. He has a log way to go. Lets wish him good luck in the future at least!

Baba Kalyani

Banner : Aashirvad Cinemas

Director : Shaji Kailas

Producer : Antony Perumbavoor

Cinematography : Shaji

Story,Screenplay,Dialogue: S.N Swami

Lyrics : Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma

Music : Alex Paul

Distribution : Central Pictures Release

Year : 2006

Cast : Mohanlal, Mamta, Indrajith, Jagathy, Sai Kumar, Biju Menon, Murali

The scriptwriter who has always delivered great stuffs on investigative story lines and well known for his CBI sequels, S.N.Swamy, is uniting with Shaji Kailas - the master action film maker in Baba Kalyani. This film in which Mohanlal plays the title character, is produced by Antony Perumbavoor in the banner of Aashirvad cinemas.

The film is the thirtieth directorial venture of Shaji Kailas while S.N.Swamy is working with Mohanlal after a gap of seventeen years. Baba Kalyani which is shot in and around Cochin place Mohanlal in a full time police character after a long break.

The title of the character itself proves a material for curiousness. But our protagonist added the name of his mother Kalyani with his name, as he is very fond of his mother who has been his everything. And you know who will make the screen mother of Lal. It’s none other than Kaviyoor Ponnamma, the best loved mother and son on Malluwood screen till date. They are for the n'teenth time together in similar roles.

Baba Kalyani is a soft-spoken IPS officer who was attached to the anti-terrorism wing. He is different from the run of the mill police officers, you see on screen as his investigative approach is different. He is said to smell lawlessness. His extreme intelligence and his subtle methods, also resist him from being arrogant and provocative.

Because of reports from the Intelligence Bureau that terrorists are planning a series of bomb blasts in Kerala, Baba Kalyani is posted to law and order to investigate the situation.

Assisting him are Circle Inspector Thomas Chandy and Sub-Inspector Ramanan. And he is reporting to I.G.Bose V.Ninan who is a fatherly figure to Baaba. As his eyes prey for the terrorist activities, he finds a group whose mysterious activities forces him to follow them. And he is in the right direction as new revelations arise one after another, which leads them to the door of some one very high in the echelons of power. Their investigation meets with numerous hurdles as the power elites try to clear off Baba.

In course of his work, he makes some very powerful enemies. One of them, before his death, gets Baba Kalyani transferred to Kochi, which also happens to be the gangster's stronghold. The idea is to bring Baba Kalyani to Kochi and kill him.

Do the terrorists succeed in their scheme? How does Baba Kalyani thwart them? The film is a thrilling answer to these questions.

Mohanlal does the role of Baba Kalyani in the film, with Biju Menon and Jagathy Sreekumar doing the roles of Thomas Chandy and Ramanan respectively. Venu Nagavally appear after a long time, as I.G. Bose.

Mamta, the lead lady of the film, plays the role of Advocate Bharathi, a one time classmate of Baba Kalyani, who went on to study Law while Baba himself joined the police force. Shaji wields the camera while Don Max does the editing. While Baba Kalyani is an investigative story, it also promises to be a wholesome family entertainer. The music department of the film is handled by Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma and Alex Paul. The film, distributed by Central pictures, will be the Xmas offering of Mohanlal.



PHOTOGRAPHER

Banner : Dream Team Productions

Director : Ranjan Pramod

Producer : Howli Pottur

Cinematography : Azhagappan

Story,Screenplay,Dialogue: Ranjan Pramod

Lyrics : Kaithapram

Music : Johnson

Distribution : Dream Team Release

Year : 2006

Cast : Mohanlal, Nitha Sree, Saranya, Biju Menon, Manoj K Jayan, Murali, Mamukoya

First and foremost, Mohanlal’s Photographer is out of focus! What was writer-director Ranjan Pramod thinking, while making this unbearable documentary, taking a slice out of the Muthanga incident in Wynad? Mohanlal has never been presented so shoddily on screen as he is saddled with an asinine role.

It is hard to write what the film is all about. Here is why…. Dijo John (Mohanlal) is a nature photographer who manages to get his photographs published in prestigious magazines like ‘National Geographic”. He is happily married to a Brahmin girl Satya (Nityasree) and has a young son.

One day on an assignment in Wynad he saves an adivasi boy Thammi from police bullets. The entire adivasi village is ravaged by cops killing many people. An enquiry is ordered by state Chief Minister (Venu Nagavally) and Forest Minister (Biju Menon). The circle inspector (Manoj. K.Jayan) who ordered the firing is dismissed and nothing much comes out of the enquiry commission report, as adivasis still lives in fear and their issues are not sorted out.

Meanwhile Thammi who was put in a juvenile home goes missing and Dijo goes into the forest to track him down. He too goes missing and all hell breaks lose. Dijo’s younger brother Joy (Mohanlal) a happy-o-lucky rich planter and a pulp writer who has a publication try to investigate but nothing comes out. Later Dijo is found walking around the forest in a dazed condition as he realizes that his fight for the rights of adivasi is a futile exercise.

The film will not appeal to any section of the audience even to die-hard Mohanlal fans. No one can grasp what Ranjan Pramod was talking about and the film crawls at snail pace. Suddenly a new Mohanlal appearing and talking very similar to his comedy characters in Priyadarsan or Sathyan Anthikkad films in the 80’s is a attempt by the director to cash in on Mohanlal’s image.

And abruptly the story switches back to Dijo character who walks around in the forest like Zombie! The audience as well as Mohanlal does not know what’s going on here??? The director has no clue about the Muthanga incident, wild life photography and most important how to make a film!!! There is no semblance of either style or substance. The major fault is that Photographer lacks a script and whatever the director has tried to convey has no logic. It is an amateurish attempt by Ranjan.

The only saving grace is Azhagappan’s camera work which captures Wynad in a documentary style. And why was Saranya Bhagyaraj a part of the film? At one part of the film towards the long drawn out climax Mohanlal mumbles- “Etha Swapnam, Etha Satyam..? “ It is exactly the audience sentiments, and in a way succinctly sums up this embarrassingly bad film.

No two ways about it, Photographer is an unmitigated endurance test at 2 hours 25 minutes. That is if you dare to go!



MAHASAMUDRAM

Banner : Revathy Kalamandir Pvt Ltd

Director : Dr.S. Janardhanan

Producer : Suresh Kumar. G

Cinematography : Shaji

Story,Screenplay,Dialogue: Dr.S. Janardhanan

Lyrics : Kaithapram

Music : M. Jayachandran

Distribution : Seven Arts Release

Year : 2006

Cast : Mohanlal, Laila, Rahman, Jagadheesh, Jagathy, Innocent, Sai Kumar, Niyas, Gopakumar, Babu Raj, Kalasala Babu.

What is the safest way to make a box-office hit in Malayalam? Hire Mohanlal and get to rework his mass formula- a larger-than-life do gooder, punch line dialogues, some adipoli songs plus at least four kidilan fight scenes!

The magic formula works once again in Mahsamudram a film strictly for his fans directed by Dr S.Janardhanan, a television serial maker who has nothing new to offer. In fact Janardhanan has helped himself by taking scenes from various films and the climax is a straight lift from a Telugu film Sye. And Innocent’s character reminds you so much of what he had done earlier in Sathyan Anthikkad’s Manasinakkare.

Still, the film is a watchable as it is racy and the plot mixture of high seas romance and action along with an adrenaline pumping football match. But sadly Mohanlal’s first attempt in 26 years to be a fisherman is no patch on other sea faring movies in Malayalam like the classic Chemeen or Mammootty’s brilliant Amaram.

Isahak (Mohanlal) is a Christian fisherman with a heart of gold and looks after the entire expenses of an old-age home run by a priest (Jagathy Sreekumar), where his mentally challenged father Velankani (Innocent) is an inmate. Isahak is a cool guy who is also the star football player for his club ‘Beach Eleven’ of Puthenkara, their rivals are ‘Seven Star’ from Mattukara another fishing village controlled by bad guys. Ishahak falls in love with Devi (Laila) of Mattukara and her brother (Riza Bava) swears revenge.

They wed in the high seas and plan to spend their first night on the boat but her brother plans to cremate them there, which accidentally leads to Devi killing her brother in the melee. Devi is arrested and sent to jail, which leave Isahak heart broken and melancholic. Meanwhile the bad guys kidnap Velankani and the ransom demand is that Isahak should not play the crucial match for ‘Beach Eleven’ in a tournament! At the same time, Devi comes out on parole and Isahak is caught between his love for her and duty towards his father and team which leads to a gripping climax.

There is a huge star cast of supporting actors like Rahman, Jagadheesh, Niyas, Sai Kumar, Krishna Prasad, Indrans among others. Shaji’s camera especially the football scene shots of Mohanlal’s introduction scene and the way he heads a goal are fantastic. Janadhanan himself has written the dialogues including the punch line which Mohanlal says during a game when it gets rough- Pankayam pidicha kaiyum, Goal Adicha kalum aanu… As usual there is one good melody tuned by M.Jayachandran Kando Kando… Kadal Kandittu… sung by Venugopal and Chitra being the pick of the lot.

There is absolutely no chemistry between Mohanlal and Laila, as she looks fragile and timid with hardly anything to do. Mohanlal does his usual superman act and steers this uneven film on his broad shoulders to the winning post. At the best, Mahasamudram is just a time pass Mohanlal masala for Onam sadya



KIRTICHAKRA

Banner : Super Good Films Pvt(Ltd)Mohanlal
Director : Major Ravi
Producer : R.B.Chowdhary
Cinematography : S.Thiru
Story, Screenplay, Dialogue : Major Ravi
Lyrics : Gireesh Puthenchery
Music : Joshwa Sreedar
Distribution : Remya Release
Year : 2006
Cast : Mohanlal,Jeeva,Lakshmi Gopalaswami, Gopika, Sai Kumar, Nawab, Biju Menon,Shammi Thilakan,Cochin Haneefa,Spadikam George,Baby Sanusha, Baiju Ezhupunna, Swetha Menon.

Mohanlal’s Kirtichakra is slick, fast paced action movie set against the backdrop of army among an elite commando group fighting insurgency in Kashmir. Director Major Ravi himself an army man has paid rigorous attention to the minute details in the recreation of an operation against terrorists.

Kirtichakra moves at rapid pace (2 hours 9 min) and the bickering and bonding between men of honour from various states in India is well documented with some finely honed out performance from Mohanlal, Jeeva and Shammi Thilakan. The movie strikes a chord as it is straight from the heart as it is made by a writer who has seen the ugly face of terrorism in Kashmir.

Major Mahadevan (Mohanlal) is an honest, dedicated and fearless officer who heads an elite force in Kashmir against terrorist. Militants led by Afghani Nawab along with his group of mercenaries have come to Kashmir valley with a mission to blow up the holy Hazarathbal Mosque and create communal tension in the country. How Major Mahadevan and his buddies thwart Nawab’s plan forms the rest of the story.

Like Hollywood movies made on the US army and buddy-buddy friendship between an officer and his men, Kirtichakra is about the male bonding between Major Mahadevan (Mohanlal) and Jaikumar (Jeeva). Mahadevan is a veteran who has seen the ugly face of terrorism which has wiped his family (Lakshmi Gopalaswamy) off. The way Major Mahadevan puts his colleagues at ease like Krishna Kumar (Shammi Thilakan) who has an aversion to blood is well shot.

The film pulls at your heart strings as Ravi is able to convey what is happening in Kashmir at the ground level and how the centre is shying away from tackling the issue fearing communal backlash. How ordinary Muslim families in the valley are Indian at heart and does not care really for the Jihadi war is also essayed well by the director who shows the plight of Kashmiri family whose members are brutally raped and killed by the foreign mercenaries masquerading as Azadis. It’s a very brutal scene which could have been trimmed a bit.

The highlight of Kirtichakra is its spell binding climax which is getting the maximum claps especially the scene where Mohanlal is saved by Jeeva who dies in his lap. The punch line dialogues between Mohanlal and the ace terrorist Nawab also gives the film a patriotic fervor. Kirtichakra is given to Jaikumar posthumously at the end of the film though in the acting department Mohanlal walks away with all the accolades. His performance as Major Mahadevan is a tribute to our brave soldiers fighting the unknown terrorists. Watch his lips dry up in the emotional scene and his breakdown when his buddy is shot dead or the scene where his family is wiped off by a terrorist bomb.

Jeeva the Tamil actor has a more heroic role which he has done with felicity. The physical energy he imparts to the role has to be seen to be believed. Shammi Thilakan in a cameo as Krishna Kumar is a revelation. Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and Gopika have walk-in roles. Technically, Kirtichakra is chic with Thiru’s outstanding camerawork with Joshua Sridhar’s melodious music.

If you have an appetite for stark and angst and to be a part of an army man’s anguish and ruminations, go watch Kirtichakra.



VADAKKUMNATHAN

Banner : Baba CreationsMohanlal, Padmapriya

Director : Shajoon Karial

Producer : A.V.Govindankutty

Cinematography : S.Kumar

Story,Screenplay,Dialogue,Lyrics : Gireesh Puthenchery

Music : Raveendran

Distribution : Sagariga Release

Year : 2006

Cast : Mohanlal, Padmapriya, Biju Menon, Murali, Shammi Thilakan, Vineeth, Risa Bava, Babu Namboothiri, Madambu Kunjukuttan, Vijayan Peringodu, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Kavya Madhavan, Sona Nair, Remadevi, Saaddique, Sree Raman, Sreeja Chandran.

Vadakkumnathan is a gutsy and gritty endeavour from debutant scriptwriter and lyrist Gireesh Puthenchery and director Shajoon Karial. It is Mohanlal’s third film this year where he tries to cater to the taste of the family audience by making a sensible film.

In the age of shallow and fraudulent mass masala and larger-than-life heroes, Mohanlal had the guts to be a part of an aesthetically well-made film, with outstanding music that haunts you even after you leave the hall. Hats off to late Raveendran who has given some great songs plus the lead actors who have given life-like performances.

The film opens with a mother and son (Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Biju Menon) coming to Hardwar to perform last rites of her elder son who had run away from home and is believed to have died. But the mother sees her long lost son on the banks of River Ganga and takes him back to the family. He is Bharath Pisharody (Mohanlal) a brilliant Sanskrit professor who is respected and loved by everyone including his cousin and lover Meera (Padmapriya). But on his day of marriage he runs away leaving behind a heart-broken Meera and her father (Murali).

Now Pisharody is different man and his family and friends believes that he is on drugs. But actually, the man is mentally disturbed as he suffers from deep depression. Soon his brother discover papers relating to his treatment for mental illness from his locked suitcase. Now everyone starts seeing him in a different way, which leads to the final twist. How Meera helps him come out of this difficult situation in life forms the rest of the gripping tale.

A thoroughly life-like performance from Mohanlal lifts the film to great heights. As the brilliant professor Bharatha Pisharody, his body language, mannerisms, innocent and shy smile during the romantic interludes and his blank look at times of mental imbalance are a delight to watch. Padmapriya as his devoted lover has an author-backed role and she comes up with an insightful performance that captures the nuances of the character and proves that she is an actress of substance.

Kavya Madhavan as Pisharody’s sister is good while everyone in supporting cast like Murali, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Babu Namboothiri and others gives their best. The camera of S.Kumar and song picturisation is eye catching. Malayalam cinema will definitely miss late music director Raveendran whose melodies like “ Oru Kili Pattu Moolave…”, “Kalabham…” and “Gange…” makes the film a musical odyssey.

On the down side, the film is a bit too long and editor Hariharaputran could have made it a bit more crisp. Though the basic theme seems to be inspired from Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind, Gireesh Puthenchery who has written the story, screenplay and lyrics need to be congratulated along with director Shajoon Karial for Indianising it and coming out with a clean family film.

Vadakkumnathan is superior cinema that deserves to be encouraged.


RASATHANTHRAM

Banner : Ashirvad CinemasMohanlal, Meera Jasmine

Director : Sathyan Anthikkad

Producer : Antony Perumbavoor

Cinematography : Azhagappan

Story, Screenplay, Dialogue : Sathyan Anthikkad

Lyrics : Gireesh Puthenchery

Music : Illayaraja

Distribution : Central Pictures Release

Year: 2006

Cast : Mohanlal,Meera Jasmine,Bharat Gopi, Siddique, Innocent, Jagathy Sreekumar, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, Mammukoya, Mukesh, KPSC Lalitha, Bindu Panicker, TP Radhamani, Manisha, Anoop, Sree Kumar.

The chemistry or the Rasathantram between Mohanlal and director Sathyan Anthikkad is as bubbling as it was 12 years back. Savour the feel and emotions in a typical Sathyan film. Don’t look for great cinema, just enjoy as nice guys may lose initially but they end up as winners in the end.

Sathyan follows his time tested formula of a light hearted first half full of humour and a heavy latter half loaded with sentiments. There is nothing new in the Sathyan formula and in fact it is a rehash of his earlier characters and films.

Premachandran (Mohanlal) is the middle class friendly neighbourhood Mr Nice Guy who goes out of his way to make life better for others. He is extremely hardworking and devoted to his work as a carpenter and is an expert in Vaastu shastra. The man virtually lives for others with his gang of expert carpenters Manikandan Asari (Innocent) and others.

People in the village have blind faith in Premachandran and he stays with his father whom he calls Master (Gopi) a retired teacher. His neighbour (KPAC Lalitha), her daughter who has a silent admiration for him, house owner (Oduvil Unnikrishnan) a failed carpenter (Mamukoya) are the other people in the village.

One day while repairing the house of a rich contractor Roy Joseph (Sreekumar) Premachandran comes across Kanmani (Meera Jasmine) the maid servant who is like a slave in the house. He saves her from suicide and due to certain circumstances he disguises Kanmani as a boy Velayudhan Kutty and she comes to live in his house.

But one day police nab her after a complaint from Roy. In the court she blurts out that she is in love with Premachandran creating fresh problems for the man. Actually Premachandran has a past as he has taken upon himself a murder committed by someone else to save his sister’s honour! Now Premachandran has to look after Kanmani, the burden of his father and the entire village which has been evicted by the government for a power project.

The problem with Rasathantram is that it lacks a story but works on the Sathyan formula of Mohanlal as a do-gooder and provides comedy and sentiments in the right dose. Mohanlal is simply superb and his comedy timing, controlled emotions and outburst in the climax take the film to great heights. The scene where he removes the roof tiles and accidentally sees Meera taking a bath brings the house down (No actor can beat Mohanlal in such chammalscenes!).

Meera is perfect foil for Mohanlal and she does a great comedy act. As Velayudhan Kutty in disguise, her body language is a treat to watch. The way she falls for Premachandran and slowly makes him interested in her can be done only by a versatile actress like Meera. Sathyan regulars –Innocent, Oduvil, Mamukoya all are good. In the climax, Jagathy’s character is a bit contrived. Gopi as Mohanlal’s father is a right choice as the father-son emotional scenes are well handled.

Technically Rasathantram is far superior to previous Sathyan films. The director has paid more attention to the camera movements and outdoor locations near Thodupuzha are eye catching thanks to Azhagappan. Added to this, music score by Ilayaraja are all melodies especially the “ Attinkara Orathil…Chattal Mazha…” sung by Manjari and picturised on the lead pair in Vakamon being the pick of the album.

On the downside, the film drags especially in the second half and is too lengthy at 2 hours 40 minutes. The comedy and gags could have been scripted with a little more zing and credibility. Meera’s character almost disappears in the second half as the focus shifts to father-son sentiments. And even a new born baby can predict the end!

But what saves the film is the overall packaging by Sathyan and the way he has made it like ‘Saravana Bhavan thali meals’ with something for everyone in the family and is sure to provide entertainment to all. And at the end and you come out of the theatre smiling, it is only due to Mohanlal as nobody can do comedy so naturally.



THANMATRA

Banner : Century FilmsMohanlal, Meera Vasudev

Director : Blessy

Producer : Raju Mathew

Camera : Sethu Sree Ram

Story, Screenplay, Dialogue : Blessy

Lyrics : Kaithapram

Music : Mohan Sithara

Distribution : Century Films Release

Year : 2005

Cast : Mohanlal, Meera Vasudev, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy, Arjun Lal, Baby Niranjana, Innocent, Manka Mahesh, Prathap Pothen, Shoba.

At a time when crass commercials rule Malayalam cinema, Blessy has been successful to deliver a film with the right sensitivity and restraint required when sketching an intimate portrait of a man doomed by Alzheimer disease.

If further proof is required that Mohanlal is India’s finest actor, watch him in Tanmatra as Ramesan Nair. His anguish, agony and anxiety as he dreams big about his son, but gets inflicted by Alzheimer. The actor is mesmerizing and has given his best-ever performance since Vanaprastham and re-invents the idiom of acting once more with feeling.

Ramesan (Mohanlal) is an officer at the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram who has a 9 to 5 job in which he is honest, hardworking and goes by the rule book. His happy family consists of wife Lekha (Meera Vasudev), teenage son Manu who is preparing for the crucial 12th standard exams and a little daughter.

Ramesan is a good husband and the perfect dad for his children. His colleagues and friends envy them and the way Ramesan guides his son Manu who is an all rounder in sports, cultural activities and is the best student in school. Joseph (Jagathy Sreekumar), a colleague is Ramesan’s friend, philosopher and guide who get things done.

Ramesan’s big dream is to see his son prepare for civil service exams and get an IAS, something which he was not able to achieve in spite of being a very bright student himself. Ramesan slowly discovers that he often forgets small things in life and consults a doctor (Pratap Pothen) who dismisses it off as tension seen in parents about their ward’s exams and future!

But one day life turns topsy-turvy in a bizarre incident at office; Ramesan is hospitalized and is diagnosed for Alzheimer’s disease that causes loss of memory, intellectual decline, changes in personality and behaviour and an increased dependence on others. The rest of the film is how Lekha, Ramesan’s father (Nedumudi Venu) and especially Manu faces this big crisis as Ramesan takes voluntary retirement and goes back to his ancestral home where he was born and brought up.

Tanmatra asserts that Blessy is a path-breaking writer-director, one to be admired and concerned about. He has been able to convey an individual coping with his middle-class urban life suddenly devastated by a dreaded disease. Blessy has also brought out the relationship of Ramesan with his father as well as his son and in the end when Manu is being interviewed by the Civil Service board he says it all- “My father has been my biggest inspiration”.

Above all, it is Mohanlal’s performance which is the major highlight of the film. Meera Vasudev is simply terrific as Lekha who gives love and support to her husband till the end. The chemistry between the lead pair is touching and honest. Arjun as Manu is the scene stealer and has the making of a good actor. Jagathy Sreekumar and Nedumudi Venu have once again proved that they are the best. Kaithapuram’s lyrics and Mohan Sitara’s music creates the right mood. Sethu Sriram’s camera work is marvelous.

Tanmatra is an intelligent, insightful and unconventional film. It is a touching, thought-provoking drama for sophisticated audiences.



NARAN

Banner : Aashirwad CinemasMohanlal

Director : Joshy

Producer : Antony Perumbavoor

Camera : Shaji

Story, Screenplay, Dialogue : Ranjan Pramod

Lyrics : Kaithapram

Music : Deepak Dev

Distribution : Central Pictures Release

Year : 2005

Cast Mohanlal, Jagathy, Innocent, Siddique, Madhu, Devayani, Bhavana, Sona Nair, Bheeman Raghu, Salim Kumar, Vijeesh, Keerikkadan Jose, Rekha

If you thought that you have seen all the nuances of a calibrated performance from Mohan Lal, you are wrong. There is still a lot more of Mohanlal Mania to be seen and savoured in Naran, directed by Joshi.

Veteran director and his script writer Ranjan Pramod uses Mohanlal's larger-than-life image and blends it with the milieu, successfully in this action adventure film laced with sentiments. It is old wine in a new tetra pack with hardly any story or twists but the great man simply lights up the screen with his sheer presence.

And Mohanlal creates a brand new assembly of speaking frames, where words become irrelevant the face speaks. The actor uses his eyes and body language to express it all- anger, dismay, rage, anguish, affection, gratitude and love. Mohanlal the actor and superstar makes Naran a gripping story of grief and heroism due to his powerful performance.

Mullankolli is a interior rustic village, near a river. Velayudhan (Mohanlal) is an orphan who came floating on a reef during floods and he was brought up by Valiya Nambiar (Madhu) a do-gooder and a feudal landlord of the area.

Velayudhan grows up into a riff-raff, drunkard and a local rowdy with a good heart. He hates injustice and has set his own rules for the villagers who are scared of him including local moneylender and politician 'member' Kurup (Jagathy). Gopinathan Nambiar (Siddique) son-in-law of Valliya Nambiar who wants to lord over the village in his own way.

When Velayudhan plants a stick like lord Murugan's Vel, it means that it has his stamp of authority. The only man who he listens to is Valiya Nambiar and to a certain extent Kelappan (Innocent) who looked after him as a child. The villagers including Kurup and Gopinathan regularly bring goondas from outside the village to eliminate Velayudhan but they fail. There are three women in his life- a prostitute Kunnil Shanta( Sona Nair) old flame Janaki( Devayani) and Kelappan's daughter Leela (Bhavana). But things turn bleak for Velayudhan due to the machinations of Gopinathan which leads to the climax.

The only aim of producer Antony Perumbavor, director Joshi and writer Ranjan Pramod is to somehow cash in on Mohanlal image during the Onam season and make a hit. The music of Deepak dev is hummable especially the Kavadi number, though there is only two songs. But what makes the film look fresh is the Hogennakal and Polachi locations and the art work of Joseph Nellikal and camera of Shaji is top notch mainly all the river and underwater scenes.

On the downside, post interval the film drags and it is a bit mushy and has really no story to say. The entire film runs on Mohanlal's image and characterization. Still if you are a fan of Mohanlal, go for Naran, he is mesmerizing!

2 comments:

anoop said...

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sagar said...

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