Saturday, 30 November 2013

Punyalan Agarbathis - Movie Review

Punyalan Agarbathis - Movie Review


Directed by     Ranjith Sankar
Produced by     Jayasurya, Ranjith Sankar
Written by     Ranjith Sankar
Music by     Bijibal
Cinematography     Sujith Vasudev
Editing by     Lijo Paul
Studio     Dreams N Beyond
Distributed by     Central Pictures
Country     India
Language     Malayalam


    Jayasurya as Joy Thakkolkaran
Nyla Usha as Anu
Aju Varghese as Greenu Sharma
Innocent as John Thakkolkaran
Rachana Narayanankutty as Advocate Sai
Sreejith Ravi as Abhayakumar
TG Ravi as Achuthan Master
Mala Aravindan as Ayyappan
Idavela Babu as KC Mathews
Vinod Kovoor as Pappan Kottapuram
Lishoy as Pauly


 'Punyalan Agarbathis' tells the story of an ambitious, wannabe Ambani of Thrissur, businessman. After trying out may ventures he finds his last resort in 'Punyalan Agarbathis', special kind of incense sticks made from elephant dung. The efforts to acquire the 'raw material' makes him ruffle feathers with few big-wigs which turns his life for ever. Will Joy succeed in the battle of & for his life, forms the rest of the story.

80s-90s are said to be the Golden period of Malayalam cinema which produced movies which common people could much identify with, dealing with issues faced by common man in his daily lives, like Mithunam, Varavelpu, Vellanakalude Naadu etc. 

Punyalan Agarbathis belongs to such series of movies. It tells the issues a common middle class man has to face to make his dream come true, without resorting to illegal paths. 
It also discuses how bureaucracy, politics etc which are meant for the benefit of people, in many cases end up being the road block, for petty reasons.

Story wise its simple, its the entertaining scrip that works big time for PA. The film is a total rocking entertainer, in the first half with plenty of humor. In the second half, especially towards the end, where the movie gets serious a tone & try to tell too many things, it dags a bit.

Jayasurya has given one of his best performance till date
 and got the 'Thrissur slang' to a 'T', a major highlight of the movie. Most of his one liners brought the house down. Another name worth mentioning is Sreejith Ravi who also got tremendous reaction from the crowd in his debut comic role. Rest of the cast did what was required of them, but wish Nyla had got a substantial role, after a superb debut in Kunjananthante Kada.

Have liked all his previous works, but Ranjith Shankar the writer has finally got the perfect blending of Commercial entertainer and social message drama in PA, which was lacking in his previous attempts preventing them from becoming HUGE box office successes. His direction was good too, presenting the cultural capital of Kerala as an important part of narration. Cinematography by Sujith Vasudev was good, presenting Thrissur in all its glory. Editing by Lijo Paul was efficient, may be a bit of trimming towards the end could have been nice. Music & BG by Bijibal were good too.

 Punyalan Agarbathis is a clean, perfect commercial treat for the entire section of audience - mass or class, family or youth - this season. A well made entertainer.

Rating 3.5/5

Verdict - Good

Last Word - Greene, veedu povoolanna tta thonae.......

Friday, 29 November 2013

Escape From Uganda - Exclusive Malayalam Movie Review

 Directed by     Rajesh Nair
Produced by     Girisch Nair, Usha Rajesh
Screenplay by     Sandeep Robinson, Deepak Prabhakaran, Nithin Bhadran
Story by     Rajesh Nair
Music by     Varun Unni
Cinematography     Vishnu Sarma
Editing by     Ratheesh Raj
Background Score Gopi Sunder
Studio     Vaya Films, River Nile Motion Pictures
Distributed by     Kalasanga, KAS & Right
Release dates 29 November 2013
Language     Malayalam


    Rima Kallingal as Shikha Samuel
    R. Parthiepan as Antony
  Vijay Babu as Jaya Krishnan
    Jojo as Gautham
    Tashu Kaushik
    Winston Witecker
    Micheal Wawuyo
    John Bagenda
    Wilberforce Mutete
    Anita Kyalimpa
    Carlos Ombonya
    Joju George

'Escape from Uganda' deals with events happening to a Malayali family comprising of 3, Shikha, husband Jaya Krishnan aka JK and their daughter,  peacefully settled in Uganda. Their life turns upside down as Shikha gets thrown into a high security prison, for a murder that she didn't commit. As each option for a fair trail & proving her innocence vanishes away JK decides to break Shikha out of the prison with the help of a local thug Anthony, who himself claims to be the only living thing to escape from that prison before. What happens to them forms the rest of the story.

'Escape From Uganda' will be perhaps the first Malayalam film to be shot extensively in Uganda ,Africa and the only one to be shot completely in a foreign land, which is the main highlight of EFU. The locations are real and adds a great deal to the narration. 

The film draws inspiration from French film 'Pour elle' (Anything for Her) which, for a change, has been credited to, in the beginning itself. EFU is adefinitely a brave attempt and something new for Mollywood. The story has been well told. The first half, which sets up the movie is Good, filled with family drama and emotions. The second half deals with the 'prison break' has been done neatly, compared to Mollywood standards. Eventhough it gets a bit tacky towards the end its still above average (2nd half).

In the acting departments 3 names deserves special mention - Rima, Parthiepan & the actor who played chief investigating officer. Kudos to Rima for once again doing a challenging role after 22FK, this time there is Physical effort too. Parthiepan walks away with all the applause with a character tailor made for him, stylish and full of quirky one liners aka 'nakkals' which he is famous for .

Rajesh Nair has directed the movie very well, quite an effort considering its only his 2nd film. The camera work is also brilliant, especially the escape sequence, sky cam shots of Uganda etc. Equally good was the editing, avoiding any unnecessary lags, presenting a crisp film under 2hours of run length. There is just one song in the movie (+1 promotional song) which were okay. Gopi Sunder's BG score was average. 

The director have taken few cinematic liberties which are passable. Apart from few issues with 2nd half its a decent watch

In all EFU is a well made family-darama cum adventure-thriller that suits all kinds of audience, Something new/different from Molywood. Kudos to the entire team for taking Malayalam cinemas to unseen territories, especially to a place like Uganda and breaking several myths about the place. Hope the film also turn out to be a good tourism promotional video for Uganda.

Rating 3.25/5


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal enters profit zone even before release

 Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal enters profit zone even before release

 ESR has been in the news for varous reasons - 7th movie of Dileep-Lal Jose, Writer James Albert working with Lal Jose after All time blockbuster Classmates, the unique lead cast etc. Now the latest that we hear about the movie is that the film is already profitable for the producer.

The film's budget is estimated to be around 6.5 crore [Print & publicity additional] and from Satellite rights [Surya TV] itself producer has earned about 6-6.5 crores which is a record. Various other rights combined the film makes 'table profit'. Dileep who plays the male lead has been paid about 2.5cr which include distribution rights of certain regions too.

The film is all set to hit the screens on December 20th as Christmas release. 


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Mega Multi Starrer Coming from 'Mollywood' helmed by Anjali Menon

Acclaimed Director/writer Anjali Menon's next could be the next big thing in Mollywood after 'T 20' due to its sheer star presence, and by that we just don't mean the actors. The untitled fun entertainer is all set to start rolling in the month of December

Banner - Anwar Rasheed Productions & Weekend Blockbusters

Writer / Director --> Anjali Menon

Producers - Anwar Rasheed & Sophia Paul

Cinematography - Samir Tahir

Music - Gopi Sundar

Cast --> Fahad Fazil, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salman, Nazriya Nazim, Nithiya Menon, Parvathy Menon & Isha Talwar.

Locations --> Ernakulam, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Chennai & Hyderabad

Distribution --> A & A [Anwar & Amal] Release via August Cinemas

Release Date -  May 2014

Thor 2: The Dark World - Movie Review

'Thor 2' takes place roughly a year after the incident in New York aka 'The Avengers' climax. Thor and his friends are busy settling the issues in their own world. 'Aether' a red colored substance of immense power, like the 'tesseract' which Thor's grandfather kept hiding some where in the dark in the past, some how ends up inside of Dr.Jane Foster. This awakens the dark evil forces, who were in 'suspended animation' after losing the battle with Odin's father years back. The dark forces lead by 'Malekith' are in search of 'Aether' which could help them bring back darkness, as  the nine realms are getting ready for convergence. And once again its 'Earth' which is athe center of it all.... Will God of Thunder and co able to save the day once again forms the rest of the story.

Story wise it just another super hero movie, and infact has many plot similarities with films like Man of Steel, Into Darkness, Transformers 3 etc. It doesn't push boundaries or give you something unique. But as a part of a large cinematic universe it definitely provide good leads to the future installments of Phase 2 and 3 of Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

The most interesting scenes in fact comes at the very end, the very last scene &  mid-credits scene [teaser for 'Guardians of Galaxy' & 'avengers 3']

The scripting is racy and intelligent. Writing is efficient with plenty of humor, tongue cheek one liners etc. Jane Foster, who didn't had much role to play in the prequel in fact is at the center of all happenings this time around. Loki fans also will be in for sure treat as its him that walk away with most of the clap worthy scenes. Loki teaming up with Thor, with his mood changing from bad/mean, the usual self, to a son seeking revenge to a prankster has been efficiently portrayed onscreen by Tom Hiddleston [Loki might be the only villain with more fans than the hero, that too ladies fans]. Kat Dennings also gets an extended role this time, mainly for comic relief. 

The VFX is once again top notch. The direction is crisp and fast paced. Visuals are outstanding. Giving good company is the background score. The movie doesn't lag or drag, thanks to a wonderful job by the editor. 
Saw the 2D version, which is enough for this movie I think, unless you don't mind paying extra money. 

So all in all a good prelude for Avengers 2/3, Guardians of the Galaxy. A satisfying movie for the fans of the 'Marvel Cinematic Universe' and a treat for fans of Thor/Loki.

 Rating: 3.25/5

Box Office: Already a Blockbuster !!

PS: Don't miss out the surprise cameo by the first avenger

Vishudhan - Malayalam Movie Review

Directed by     Vyshakh
Produced by     Anto Joseph
Written by     Vyshakh
Music by     Gopi Sundar
Cinematography     Shehnad Jalal
Editing by     Mahesh Narayanan
Release date(s)     NOV 22, 2013
Country     India
Language     Malayalam

    Kunchacko Boban
    Mia George
    Suraj Venjaramood
Hareesh Peradi

Vishudhan tells the story of a man who life goes through phases of being God, Human & Devil. Kunchako Boban who has donned the role of priest who gets appointed at a church in a remote village in Idukki & Mia plays a nun from the local monastery. How the lives of these two change when they uncover certain truths which involves church, believers/followers and a local aristocrat (played by Hareesh Peradi).

'Vishudhan' will be Director Vysakh's first attempt at making a non-commercial, serious movie dealing with real life events. In fact Vysakh wanted this to be his debut film, but he ended up doing 4 commercial pot-boilers before, all of which ended up as big hits. Vishudhan takes the exact opposite route compared to his previous films. It is not a commercial, mass masala, potboiler.

'Vishudhan' is a fictionalized version of some real life events that happened in Kerala some time back. Basically its a revenge story but told with some convictions and honest intentions. Any film based on church or priest hood have always created unnecessary controversies, but this tells a controversial story without getting into to much details, without hurting anybody's sentiments. It discusses a issue that due to the influence of some powerful people didn't reaching people and was brushed under the carpet.

But good intentions don't make good films. Films should be entertaining and shouldn't test the patience of the viewers, which unfortunately Vishudhan does. Many scenes are without any purpose far stretched. The slow narration in fact affects what ever noble intention the film had. A non art-house kinda direction would have did the movie a world of good.

But the movie is not bad watch either. Its just that it could have been made much much better.

Kunchako Boban has given his career best performance till date - 3 variant characteristics - Priest, human and devil - shown with elan. Rest of the cast have also did a decent job. Lal's cameo length role felt like an unwanted set piece.Hareesh Peradi's acting reminded pretty much of his own iconic character [especially the dialogue modulation and delivery] , Kaitheri Sahadevan  from 'Left Right Left', which if not intentional, will be a big disadvantage for his future career.

All of Vysakh's previous films owes him a great deal for their success [except may be Sound Thoma], but this time its Vysakh the writer that fails the movie coupled by his direction which felt immature to handle such a theme.
Writing could have been crispier, even though there are quite a few note worthy dialogues.
Cinematography is the another positive aspect of the film, can say that the beautiful locations did half the job. There are few shots which are in fact breath taking. Editing should have been sharper, with many shots moving endlessly. There are 2 songs in the film which are hummable. BG score was okay.

So, in all Vishudhan is good attempt which got 'lost in translation'

Rating 2.75/5

Verdict Above Average

Last Word: You can watch it, for Kunchako

Nadan - Malayalam Movie Review

 Directed by     Kamal
Produced by     Anilkumar Ambalakkara
Written by     S. Suresh Babu
Music by     Ouseppachan
Cinematography     Madhu Neelakandan
Editing by     K.Rajagopal
Studio     Ambalakkara Global Films
Country     India
Language     Malayalam


    Jayaram as Devadas Sargavedi
    Remya Nambeesan as Jyothi
    Sajitha Madathil
    Joy Mathew
    K. P. A. C. Lalitha
    P. Balachandran
    Hareesh Peradi
    Jayaraj Warrier
    Shankar Ramakrishnan
    Balaji Sarma

Kamal is one such among the bunch of legendary directors on 90-2000's who has still got his strong grip in the changing tides of Malayalm cinema. After the much appreciated, National/state award winning 'Celluloid' he is back with his next. Kamal usually balances commercial and non-commercial movies with each of his release, but by doing Nadan & Celluloid back to back, he has broken that pattern.

If 'Celluloid' told us the story about the birth of Malayalam cinema and the struggles its first director had to go through, this time Kamal deals with 'Drama' & Theater Artists. The film through the title character Devadas Sargavedi portrays the current fate of the once immensely popular art form, in Kerala. 

Devadas Sargavedi belongs to the 3rd generation of theater artists in his family, who also owns the troupe 'Sargavedi' which his father found after a split in Communist party & KPAC [
Kerala People's Arts Club]. The struggles that Devadas had to face to keep the troupe going and make two ends meet forms the crux of the story.

The major plus point of the movie is the incredible performances that every artist associated with the movie had to offer. Leading the pack is Jayaram, who undoubtedly gave his career best performance as Devadas, especially in the later half. Equally good was KPAC Lalitha, she was living as the character with many of the dialogues that we can very much connect with her real life too. The movie features many of the state's best drama artists, which was a great tribute in itself to them. 
The story, because is a fiction [even though based on reality] may find a normal one, but its the skill full direction, dialogues and performances that makes the movie an engaging watch. The movie do get bit of over melodramatic towards climax and gets to drag a bit. where the focus shifts to love, infidelity etc. There is nothing much for mass audience in the movie and is a must watch for all others and especially those who have enjoyed, at least once, the experience of watching a dram in an open stage surrounded by charged up crowd.

Kamal the director once again showed how one can make a class movie, without art house narration., that is equally entertaining and enlightening with out depending upon commercial elements. Kamal once again prooved that when it comes to real life stories, he is master class. Equally supported by  his efficient crew, with pleasing cinematography by Madhu Neelakandan, smooth editing by Rajagopal, Soothing music & apt back ground score by Ouseppachan [think he did both]. The art, costumes and make-up department also deserves a pat on their back for their work, especially in the drama portions.

'Drama' was one of the most celebrated art forms of Kerala and many of them had such huge impact that Govt. were forced to ban them [as explained in the movie]. With the onslaught of new-age entertainment art forms like Mimicry, Serials, Ganamela etc Drama lost its significance and going through a pretty low phase now. But still there are many who consider this as their life and ready to even die on the stage for the art form they love. 'Nadan' is a dedication to such people and a homage to the golden period of Drama & theater artists.

'Nadan' may not be a perfect film, but is definitely one of the best of 2013. 

Rating 3.5/5

Last Word: For the noble intentions and excellent acting, just give it a try

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Mohanlal's latest blog, about Sachin Tendulkar [A Rough English Translation]

 Sachin – An Enlightening Swansong at Wankhede 

As I was busy shooting wasn't able to watch Sachin's farewell speech Live. But when I saw the clippings on news chan nels and read the full transcript in newspaper I understood one thing, a good ending is as important as a good beginning. Like a beautiful song or rain, Sachin wound up his career magnificently, which is must, in my opinion.

So many things has already been written, by so many people, about Sachin already, there is nothing that I can add to that, but would certainly like  to point out the importance of his farewell speech. It was perhaps one of the greatest speeches of all time. There is a lot to learn from it for every body - how to keep your career/work stain free, how to be dedicated, how to concentrate on your work, how to treat your parents, friends and family etc. Dedicating 'Bharath Ratna' to all Mothers of India made it all the more special.

I have been in the film industry for the past 33 years, even though in a relatively smaller industry, the amount of concentration you need to do your work is immense, so can't even imagine how powerful of a human being would be Sachin, with the weight of 1.2 billion peoples expectations on his shoulders. If you don't enjoy your work you can't concentrate, Sachin did it for 24 years, which is evident from his accolades.

Usually every one likes to talk about the money Sachin made from Cricket, but if you consider the sacrifices he made for the sport he love it will weigh at least 100 times more - Privacy, moments with family, freedom etc thing which are priceless. The hard work to keep both sides balanced is a tough job & only those who experienced it will understand it.

Sachin's farewell speech should be made a part of our School carriculum. 'Take no shortcuts to reach your goal' is an important lesson for all our youth, taught to sachin by his father. Those are enlightening words for the future that came from his Soul. The light from those word will help one guide when the going gets tough.

In the blessing of those light I will travel the rest of my journey.......

With Love


Read the original blog (in Malayalam) here, handwritten by Mohanlal:

Its a very very rough translation for those who can't read Malayalam 

Watch Sachin's farewell speech

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN - Exclusive Detailed Censor Reports [India + UK]

 Indian Censor Board (CBFC) Reports

Film Rated - U/A [Parental Guidance]

Run Time - 147m 57s


1     Deleted the word "Pichwade" (Replaced with Pachad) spoken by Anupam Kher (Anupam face has been blown up)    
2     Deleted the word "Khadi Kurta" (Replaced with Environmentalist)   
3     Deleted the visual "Gandhiji note pe achhe lagte hai date pe nahi"   
4     Muted the word 'Bhenchod" spoken by Imran   
5     Disclaimer to be added in the beginning of the film 'The name or words used in the film is not meant to hurt the sentiments of any individual or group'whatsoever

British Censor Board Report (BBFC)

Rated '12A' - No-one younger than 12 may see a '12A' film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a '12' rated video or DVD.

Approx. Running minutes 145m

Contains moderate violence


A scene of moderate violence features when the main character threatens a local villain's son by holding a razor close to his throat. He lets the man go and is then beaten by local men. This includes blows with sticks and punches as the hero is kicked to the ground. There is no sight of blood or injury in this brief scene.

There is also a scene in which there is a partial, mouthed use of strong language in one fleeting moment where the main character looks at a bridge and his lips form the word, 'bh** ch**'. The film also contains Hindi and English uses of mild bad language, including, 'saala', 'haramkhor', ' shit' and 'ass', as well as some mild sex references.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Philips and the Monkey Pen - Movie Review - Mollywood's Chillar Party

'Philips & the Monkey Pen' tells the story of how Ryan Philips and his bunch of friends, who excel in everything except studies, especially Mathematics. How the lives of Ryan and those surrounding him changes with the arrival of a 'Monkey Pen' which is believed to have magical powers, forms the rest of the story.

The film beautifully narrates how a kid learns about life, god, parents, work, worship etc which has been presented in a fairly entertaining manner.

Monkey Pen is definitely one of the most entertaining and accomplished work, about kids and for kids, from Mollywood. Every department shines in this well made film. Director duo Rojin & Shanil have done an excellent job. Usually they take such movies for granted, but here the director duo have presented film in the best possible way one could, thanks to the support from Producers Vijay Babu [who also played Pappan Sir] & Sandra Thomas. The passion the producers have for cinema is very much visible here.

Master Sanoop [Sanusha's brother] who played 'Ryan' has done an excellent job. It hard to believe that this is his first film, don't be surprised if he win both best actor & best child actor awards this year, such a treat was this young talent. The rest of the Kids in the gang were also excellent, special mention to the ones who played Jahangir [a character Modelled on 'Jangiya' from 'Chillar Party'] and Juan. Kudos to Jayasurya & Ramya for agreeing to be a part of the movie which is not focusing on them.

The film has lots of touching moments and great dialogues with depth. Full credits to the writers.
Cinematography was very good, a treat to your eyes. Editing was good. Music & BG gels very well with the narrative and doesn't try to go over board.

The film do try to pack in quite a few messages in the second half and also enters the preachy mode quite often.But the humor laced writing prevents it from being out of control.

So if you liked films like 'Tare Zammen Par' 'Pasanga' 'Chillar Party', 'Philips & the Monkey Pen' is a film that can very much be added to that elite list.

Please make sure you definitely watch the film with your entire family, especially with Kids. Its one of the rarest opportunity that Mollywood gives Kids, to be what they are, Kids.

No Rating, just watch it !!!