The stories about police brutality on the marginalized, about the atrocities of the people in power on the weak, on the ostracized need to come up and need to told with all the gutsy fierceness. And the makers of Jai Bhim should definitely be applauded for that. That they brought forward the real life incident so that it could reach out to a much larger audience through the power of cinema. But is that enough to call it great cinema?Continue reading “JAI BHIM : Not An Outright Winner”
Bhramam is a scene by scene remake of Andhadhun, minus the eye catching performances of Ayushmann Khurrana and Tabu, the scintillating music of Amit Trivedi, and the eclectic charm of Shriram Raghavan’s masterful direction!
Prithviraj, Mamta Mohandas and a Wild Boar are not a patch on the original show stealers, and even a ‘Drishyam’ joke falls flat while painting the make believe worlds of the blind-foldeds! In an attempt to notch up the commercial tonality of the film, KA Ravichandran lets go off the subtle, intelligent black comedy treatment of the original and makes way for a louder, banal comedy that’s rather uninspiring!
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2021 is possibly going to be remembered as one of the strongest years for Malayalam cinema. At three quarters of the year milestone, it may very well happen that if we sit down to list the top 10 or top 15 Best Indian Films of the year now, three quarters or at least half the spots will be occupied by Malayalam films. Two films that will most definitively occupy some of the top billings in those lists (alongside Joji and Malik) will be Sanu John Varughese‘s underrated quiet gem Aarkkariyam and the most recent addition to the Malayalam cine bouquet of 2021, Manu Ashokan‘s touching human drama Kaanekkaane. It is important to dive a little deeper into both these films together because there are some striking similarities and colliding dissimilarities between the two when looked through the unified lens.Continue reading “The Colliding Worlds of AARKKARIYAM and KAANEKKAANE”
Rojin Thomas‘s new Malayalam movie ‘Home‘ can be brushed off as saccharin sweet and too emotionally manipulative to be considered as one of those feel good movies that we will go back to again and again and discover new things. Personally if I have to watch movies on dysfunctional families, I would watch a ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ or a ‘Kapoor and Sons’ any day over a ‘Home’, because the former films have relationship dynamics playing at multiple levels of depth and intrigue, and have characters arcs that are fuzzy and complex which gradually get delayered over time. Home is not that film.Continue reading “#HOME : And its Sugar Sweet Heart”
Mahesh Narayanan’s MALIK is as grand in its ambition and as dazzling in its execution, as the marvelously crafted single take 13 minute long opening shot of the film. By the time the film’s title card shows up at the end of that shot, Narayanan has sealed in your attention and admiration for what will follow for the next two and a half hours of his film.Continue reading “MALIK : Dazzles Through and Through”
‘Aarkkariyam‘ is a brilliant example how a film does not need to have any heavy dramatic build up, or big reveal aha moments, and yet can be the most gripping human drama that intrigues you with the complexities of the human mind and the brooding spell of a developing pandemic. One can only be amazed at Sanu Varghese’s craft and the maturity that he displays in his debut feature film, because perfect is one word you could easily use to describe the terrific film. Add to it the tremendous rooted performances from all the three leads where each of them nails down every finer detail of every reaction without needing to have any big ‘performance’ moments, and you are fully satiated with the experience of watching complete cinema.Continue reading “AARKKARIYAM : Subtly Superlative”
Dileesh Pothan’s JOJI plays out like an intensely subtle and starkingly dark lyrical ballad on screen. Inspired by Macbeth, Fahadh Faasil is at the top of his game in the titular character, and for sure delivers one of the top 3 performances of his career! The man is a magician who can pull off a range of such diverse emotions in the same scene without saying a word and without resorting to any overtly physical expressions!
The spectacular screenplay by Syam Pushkaran, the brilliant camera work and the outstanding background score creates multiple goosebump inducing moments. Fahadh Faasil gets ably supported by the entire ensemble and Unnimaya Prasad as Bincy especially stands out. And to think that all of this was done amidst the pandemic calls out for a special round of shoutout!
Do make time for Joji, now playing on Amazon Prime. It is the Best Indian Film of 2021 to date!
And yes, make sure you put your masks on as you experience Joji!
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Mahesh Narayanan‘s new Malayalam film ‘C U Soon‘ perhaps wants you to see the film soon through its wordplay on the title. Backed up by Fahadh Faasil and Friends, Nazaria Nazim and Fahadh Faasil produce one of the better films of the lot that was shot and processed entirely during the lockdown, and thankfully they don’t tell a pandemic laden lockdown story, like many other efforts during the period attempt to.Continue reading “C U SOON: See It Soon!”
Noted Malayalam filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery‘s recent film Jallikattu got released on digital within a month of its theatrical release, and though the dazzling film is crafted in a way to be best consumed at the cinemas, this quick digital release will definitely help it to reach far and wide to many who have been wanting to experience the film, given the interest it has already generated with its critical acclaim and positive word of mouth. In fact there is much to learn from Malayalam and Tamil cinema how well integrated is their digital strategy in the overall distribution planning of their films, which has helped them to move ahead of the curve to gain much wider national/global following and appreciation. Jallikattu is no exception.
Aashiq Abu‘s Malayalam film VIRUS is definitely one of the best Indian films of 2019 and is a masterclass in screen writing by Muhsin Parari, Sharfu and Suhas. Playing out like a gripping medical thriller, the film keeps its humane soul intact on how a group of very brave individuals come together to fight and control the deadly nipah virus attack in the state of Kerala. It is an outstanding story of survival in the face of a catastrophe, where humanity and hope triumphs over every medical, political, or any other obstacle. Compassion can be an overpowering strength, and Virus ensures that it does not deviate from that tonality at any time.