Friday, September 30, 2011

Best Actor

Director: Martin Prakkat
Cast: Mammootty, Lal, Nedumudi Venu, Sruthi Ramakrishnan
Year: 2010
Language: Malayalam

A really weak title for such a good movie! I think malayalam directors should stop using English titles for their movies. The titles they choose (Best Actor, Loud Speaker, In Ghost House Inn, Notebook) tell you nothing about the movie, and can often keep you from watching an otherwise good movie. I almost didn't watch this movie because of the title.

Best Actor is about a struggling actor named Mohan (Mammootty) whose dream is to act in movies. His dream is the primary driving force in his life. He visits directors' homes on weekends and holidays to beg for a "chance". They all politely advise him on what it takes to be a good actor, and then send him on his way saying, "We'll call if there's anything that suits you." Tired of all the rejections, he takes a drastic step with hopes of getting a role in a new movie

Monday, September 26, 2011


Director: Mohan
Writer: Padmarajan
Cast: Ashokan, Idavela Babu, Nalini
Year: 1982
Language: Malayalam

I watched this for the first time a few days ago. What a beautiful movie! I've always been a big fan of Padmarajan. This movie reminded me why. While watching this movie, I felt like a fly on a wall spying on other people. I felt like a voyeur, because it was so real. There wasn't a single moment (except maybe for some reaction shots), where I felt like I was watching a movie. Padmarajan created some excellent characters and Mohan does the right thing by keeping things simple. It's good writing like this that made Malayalam movies the envy of the rest of India for a while there in the 80s and 90s.


Manikya Kallu

Director: M. Mohanan
Cast: Prithviraj, Samvritha Sunil, Nedumudi Venu
Year: 2011
Language: Malayalam

Manikyakallu is director M. Mohanan's second venture. His first was the hit Katha Parayumbol, which was built on a script by Sreenivasan. With Manikyakallu Mohanan truly struck out on his own -- he's credited with the story, dialogues, screenplay, and direction.

The movie is set in the village of Vannanmala (വണ്ണാന്മല), whose government high school is notorious for it's zero percent pass rate on the SSLC exams. A new teacher named Vinayachandran (Prithviraj) is determined to turn things around.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

24 Hours

Director: Aditya Sam Abraham
Cast: Kuldeep, Komal, Manoj K. Jayan, Devan
Year: 2010
Language: Malayalam

This was another movie that had glowing online reviews. Here's a sample:

24 Hours - Gripping
The new Malayalam movie 24 Hours is an impressive film considering it is by a debutant director Aditya Sam Abraham. Starring newcomer Kuldeep in the title role, 24 Hours is a well-made gripping thriller... [Read article].

Now Running:
Just when we thought the real thrillers had disappeared into the dusk, along comes 24 Hours with its sturdy barrels raking up a welcome din. The film is captivating and clever enough to keep us absorbed, and in crafting it, Aditya boosts the sagging genre and offers us an adventure ride that lasts for ninety minutes that's indeed worth taking... [Read article].

Overall, the film works for those who want sensible and racy entertainment. The technical values were excellent and with crisp performances from the cast, the film appeals to all genres of audience.
Bharatstudent Verdict : Well made thriller, recommended ... [Read article].

After watching the movie, I felt terribly betrayed by these reviewers. I know that from now on I will never rely on online reviews. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plus Two

Director: Shebi Chavakkad
Cast: Roshan, Shafna
Year: 2010
Language: Malayalam

Glowing online reviews prompted me to watch this movie. After watching it, I had to wonder if the reviewers had seen the same movie that I just saw. Since I don't live in Kerala, and no one in my circle of family or friends watch malayalam movies regularly, I am totally dependent on online reviews to pick which movies to watch. More often than not, those reviews have failed me. They failed me with this movie, too.

I am a sucker for romance, and in my opinion, malayalam cinema has not had enough love stories. My favorite love story of all time is Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal. Plus Two is also a love story, but unlike the Padmarajan classic, this one is made for high schoolers.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Arjunan Sakshi

Director: Ranjith Sankar
Cast: Prithviraj, Ann Augustine, Mukesh, Nedumudi Venu
Year: 2011
Language: Malayalam

Like his first movie, Passenger, Ranjith Sankar's Arjunan Sakshi is a thriller with a social message: ordinary people who stand up to threats from corrupt elements have the power to change society. 

Prithviraj plays Roy Mathew, a young man who inadvertently becomes enmeshed in a murder mystery. When his life is threatened, he chooses to stand up to his harassers and fight instead of running away.

If you've read my previous posts, you know that I don't like "message" movies. This one is definitely preachy. I personally find it insulting to my intelligence to be preached to. I don't watch movies to be enlightened on political issues. That's what you read or watch the news for. Movies are meant to entertain. I don't find someone shoving their personal political views down my throat entertaining.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Director: Leo Thaddeus
Cast: Jayasurya, Rohini, Lal, Anjali
Year: 2011
Language: Malayalam

If I had a way of screening out movies I know that I won't like, I would have used that on this movie. This one would definitely not make it to my "watch" list for any reason. Not as a "must watch", or an "okay to watch", or even as a "watch if there's nothing else". 

Blonde-haired white women have become a trend in recent malayalam films. The creators of this movie must've decided to jump on that bandwagon. For the first 20-30 mins, we are shown a parade of white women.  These women are portrayed as idiots and easy targets for groping. As a malayali, the drooling (olippikkal) over white skin made me cringe. And as a woman, the illicit touching of these women made my blood boil. Men are shown taking advantage of the liberality of the western culture to abuse white women. Showing such behavior on screen is equivalent to condoning or even encouraging it in real life. How would we like to see our women groped in foreign movies?