Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Malayalam«

“Tiyaan”… A confused, overlong, wannabe-epic that preaches secularism even as it glorifies Brahminism

July 11, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: We’ve all heard of “Hindu-Muslim bhai-bhai.” In Tiyaan (The Above-mentioned), the adage becomes literal: the actors who play Aslan Mohammad and Pattabhirama Giri are real-life siblings, Prithviraj and Indrajith. The casting, I feel, is no accident – for part of Tiyaan’s agenda is to […]

“Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum”… A superbly written and acted drama that keeps you guessing constantly

July 3, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Pay attention to the first few frames of a Dileesh Pothan movie: there’s a nutshell of the story-to-come. Maheshinte Prathikaaram (Mahesh’s Revenge), Pothan’s first film, opens with an image of rubber slippers being scrubbed thoroughly. It isn’t until interval point that we realise what […]

“Godha”… A joyous compendium of sporting-movie (and love-story) clichés

June 7, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: After a spate of red-themed political films, we’re now being inundated with sports dramas. Georgettan’s Pooram. Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu. And now, Basil Joseph’s immensely heart-warming Godha (Wrestling Arena), a sturdy example of how the well-timed, well-tuned collision of clichés can become something… maybe not great, but certainly […]

“Comrade in America”… An unfocused drama about a communist in love tries to tackle big issues

May 7, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Amal Neerad’s previous film, Iyobinte Pusthakam, began with an Emergency-era communist, the narrator. And through this character, we slipped into a Raj-era flashback that showed glimpses of how a prosperous estate owner’s son (the Fahadh Faasil character) began to sow the seeds for a […]

“Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu”… A wonderfully laidback stroll through the lives of small-towners obsessed with cricket

April 26, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Watching Ranjan Pramod’s Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu (Patron Baiju’s Signature), I was filled with fury. First, we got the cigarette/alcohol warnings. Then, someone thought it was important to let us know that, say, the giant bull vanquished by Bhallala Deva in Baahubali was not, you […]

“Sakhavu”… An idealistic, even simplistic political drama that nonetheless warms the heart

April 18, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: The nutshell version of Sidhartha Siva’s Sakhavu (Comrade) brings to mind Oru Mexican Aparatha, released barely a month ago. Both films are about Communism – more specifically, the before/after arc of a happy-go-lucky youth. And both films feature their leading man (Tovino Thomas there; Nivin […]

“1971: Beyond Borders”… A war movie that needed better action, fewer lectures and clichés

April 10, 2017


Spoilers ahead… The latest instalment in Major Ravi’s series following the exploits of army-man Mahadevan – played by Mohanlal, who’s sometimes a Colonel, sometimes a Major – begins with an action sequence in Georgia. Mahadevan, now part of the UN peacekeeping force, saves a Pakistani soldier’s life – and guess what! This soldier’s father once […]

“Take Off”… A beautifully made rescue drama where the personal struggles score over the logistical ones

March 25, 2017


Spoilers ahead… When we first meet Sameera (Parvathy), she’s missing a certificate. She’s at the Department of Health, applying for a job as a nurse in Iraq, but they won’t give her the necessary papers unless she produces that certificate. She screams, in frustration, at an official. She calls her son, asks him to search […]

“Alamara”… A comedy about the great Indian family is charming for a bit, then gets tediously dramatic

March 22, 2017


Spoilers ahead… It’s tempting, sometimes, to zoom in on one scene as the nutshell of a movie, and that scene, for me, came at the beginning of Alamara (cupboard), directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas. Arun (Sunny Wayne) is going to get married to the 47th girl he’s been set up with. This alliance seems to […]

“Angamaly Diaries”… A familiar story of short-fused, small-town men is made thrillingly fresh

March 14, 2017


Spoilers ahead… The Wikipedia entry under “Synopsis” for Angamaly Diaries is remarkably concise: “The story of local people and their life at Angamaly.” In a sense, that is really all there is to Lijo Jose Pellissery’s drama. It’s the story of the man who embraces a tree while preparing a bomb, so that even if it […]

“Oru Mexican Aparatha”… No great shakes as a political film, but an effective (and stylish) reincarnation drama

March 10, 2017


Spoilers ahead… The setting of Tom Emmatty’s Malayalam drama Oru Mexican Aparatha (A Mexican Enormity) suggests a searing, ripped-from-the-headlines political narrative. The story unspools in Kochi’s Maharaja College, and the strife between the two student factions is given real-life urgency by the names of these factions: SFY and KSQ, which stand in for SFI (Student’s Federation […]

“Aby”… This story of a man who wants to fly soars for a bit before taking a steep nosedive

March 8, 2017


Spoilers ahead… There’s whimsy. And there’s WHIMSY. The former is the product of a writer’s fevered imagination, a director’s feather-light execution. The latter is the result of a music director who’s conducting his orchestra not so much with a baton as a machine gun. Keep playing, or else… Aby is a WHIMSICAL film. Quirky music […]

“Ezra”… A well-crafted horror film that needed much better writing

February 23, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Jay K’s Ezra, which is set in Kochi, is filled with Malayalis; the story revolves around Ranjan (Prithviraj) and Priya (Priya Anand). But their domestic help is Maharashtrian, and the large, large house they live in (for once, wouldn’t it be nice if a horror film unfolded in one of those matchbox-sized flats […]

“Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol”… A lovely dramedy woven around the ups, downs in a marriage

February 16, 2017


Spoilers ahead… By all rights, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol should have been a sex comedy – one of those films in which a married man begins to scratch that seven-year itch. Mohanlal plays Ulahannan, a panchayat official whose life is leached of excitement. The first time we see him, he’s snoring in a bus. He’s married to […]

“Jomonte Suvisheshangal”… A trite premise made very watchable by warm performances

January 24, 2017


Spoilers ahead… Sathyan Anthikad’s Jomonte Suvisheshangal is catching a lot of criticism for its similarities with the recent Jacobinte Swargarajyam, but that’s like accusing one love story of being like another. This type of melodrama is a genre of its own: a twist here, a tweak there, and you can name 5000 similar films. We […]

From Love Marriage to Dhoni

October 3, 2016


A short history of cricket in Hindi cinema. Take the topic of cricket in Hindi cinema and the temptation to concoct a quiz is irresistible. For instance, name the actors who played father and daughter in two films featuring the game. That would be Naseeruddin Shah and Urmila Matondkar, inMasoom and Chamatkar.Which is the first […]

The games city people play

July 16, 2016


The recent Malayalam drama ‘Ozhivudivasathe Kali’ is the latest in a line of films that involve game-playing in the wilderness. I caught Ozhivudivasathe Kali (An Off-day Game), Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s acclaimed Malayalam drama, when it was released in Chennai last week. The story is set during an election day, a dry day, and it’s about […]

The heart will go on, and on, and on…

October 31, 2015


Thoughts on a Malayalam documentary (and the movie it inspired) about star-crossed lovers who rival Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha, Ambikapathy-Amaravathi… Why do we love love stories so much? I’m talking about the genre, which we never seem to tire of. When Ram Gopal Varma made Satya and Company, we raved about them, but when his follow-ups were […]

Common men, uncommon stories

August 15, 2015


On the eve of the release of ‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’, Baradwaj Rangan traces the journey of our biopics, which are no longer just about larger-than-life achievers. It all began in 1959, when a landless Bihari from the Musahar community, a scheduled caste that traditionally made a living as rat catchers, decided to make […]

Bullet-point Report: “Premam”

June 25, 2015


I’m sorry, I know a lot of you hate this format, but I like it. I think it’s great for putting forth… impressions on films you don’t always want to write detailed reviews about. Anyway, I’m bringing it back. I’m also bringing back comments about Premam from earlier threads, so it’s all nicely consolidated here. […]