Pulimurugan Malayalam Movie Review

By chance, happened to read an interview on the eve of director Vysakh's much hyped and publicized movie Pulimurugan's release wherein the director categorically rejects his movie belonging to a mass masala movie in the league of a Narasimham or a Ravanaprabhu with heavy punch dialogues appearing every now and then. As per Vysakh, Pulimurugan is more of a film suitable for the family audience and at the same time one that can appease the hardcore fans of Mohanlal.

After watching the movie, the impression that I got is something justifying the statements of the director only partially as the film is heavy on the mass side giving a glorified picture of its title protagonist. The film has its share of negatives and has cliches on the narrative side but where it scores is on the action side and for that Peter Hein the action director and of course Mohanlal who at this age too has put in enormous efforts to make the stunts look so effortless deserve a round of applause.

Set in a dense forest area called Puliyoor where Pulimurugan is the man the people reach out to whenever tigers are on the prowl creating casualties on the human side. Born and brought up under the toughest of condition, Murugan has this exceptional skill in fighting the wild animal. How he does that and how some uninvited guests becomes his nemesis is narrated in the film.

Its a treat for the diehard followers of the superstar who will be a satisfied lot seeing the actor doing some breathtaking action sequences. Where the film could not make an impression is on the family life of Murugan that was plain irritating and boring creating a feel that acted as a speed breaker. Had these portions been trimmed, it would have made a big difference.

Mohanlal appear in the title protagonist role and as far as acting is concerned its not a challenging one but where he needed his contributions were on the action side. For a man of his age, it was something really commendable executing those difficult steps brilliantly directed by Peter Hein. The character that Kamalini Mukherjee plays as that of Murugan's better half was plain annoying displaying the same set of emotions all the time. It was the result of a badly written role for her with poorly sketched dialogues that did the damage.

On the supporting side, Lal, Telugu actor Jagapathy Babu, Suraj Venjaramodu and Kishore were the notable ones. Siddhique and Makarand Deshpandey didn't get anything meaty to display their acting skills.

The visual beauty of nature as the entire story happens inside a forest has been brilliantly captured by the cameraman. Gopi Sunder's background score gave a major face-lift to the movie and the songs were also quite good especially the lullaby that appear in the beginning. The song sung by Yesudas was also a melodious one worth hearing a second time. Editing was sharp especially on the action sequences but the overall length could have been pruned a little.

As I said, Pulimurugan is a movie for the hardcore fans who will accept it with both hands seeing their star doing heavy action and also doing his traditional twirling of his mustache on several occasions. With lot of thrilling moments with good support from the technical side and at the same time with a predictable and weak storyline, the movie can be enjoyed provided the expectation is slightly brought down.

Rating - 3 / 5

Thoppil Joppan - Malayalam Movie Review


A certain template which is all too familiar is followed in all of his movies. I am talking about director Johny Antony whose latest flick Thoppil Joppan has just hit the big screen. Joining hands with Mammootty again, which is their fourth movie as a combination, Thoppil Joppan is an entertainer trying to cash in on some of the memorable Achaayan avatars of the megastar which are quite popular and successful except a very few. But being too formulaic and with a less inspiring screenplay, the movie end up just as a passable one.

The story revolves around the title protagonist who has a failed romantic story behind him. Starting in a flashback mode, the plot unravel through Joppan, his family and close friends who all try their best in getting a suitable girl for him by any means. But things are not that easy as said as Joppan who is still unable to erase memories of his past love interest is stubborn in his decision to not enter into a wedlock. Rest is all about how Joppan is lured by his close ones to change his mind.

Mammootty's Achaayan roles except a few have always been lively movies and their main success can be attributed to the fondness of the audience for such characters when he is doing it. All these successful films be it Kottayam Kunjachan or Oru Maravathoor Kanavu or Sangham for that matter have been highly effective due to the humor, slang and style that the actor has brought into it.

Here in Thoppil Joppan too, the director has tried to be safe by handing him a character with the shades and similarities of those roles Mammootty has done in the past. Humor and heroism is the main ingredient through which the story unfolds and it has some good moments in parts to laugh and cheer. But with an uninspiring and familiar looking screenplay, the movie does not end up as an outright entertainer but at the best an average movie.

There is no target audience for this movie as the fans and the family and anyone who wants to try something that is primarily an entertainer can give it a shot provided you are not averse in watching the same old thing in the same old format with little bit of changes. Johny Antony has used his all too familiar style in dealing with the comedy part and it is pretty much the same in other areas of the movie too. At times, the script just wander aimlessly but here again the relief comes in the form of average jokes which provide little dose of fun.

Mammootty effortlessly plays and fits into the title character. Joppan's character is an easy one for him considering the numerous roles he has portrayed on similar mould in his long and illustrious career. Mamtha Mohandas is Maria, one of the female leads out of the two. She was lively and quite good in that role. Andrea Jeremiah the other heroine was okay but the role was too short to make a strong presence. Renji Panicker in a less prominent role made his presence felt while Jude Anthony to put it straight was plain annoying.

Alencier Lay, Saju Navodaya, Sohan Seenulal and Sreejith Ravi are the gang of friends around Joppan and they provided good fun and did their part for the drama to unfold in the right direction. Salim Kumar and his comedy in his trademark style was a major highlight of Thoppil Joppan and it was good to see the actor doing a humorous role after a long gap. Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Harisree Asokan are also part of the onscreen proceedings. Music is by Vidyasagar which was nowhere close to his standards.

The movie is an entertainer providing occasional fun only and just about manages to get the passmark. Anyone who doesn't mind watching a subject that has been presented in different formats in many movies earlier might find it to their liking. Old wine in old bottle, thats the bottom line about Thoppil Joppan.

Rating - 2.5 / 5

Kavi Udheshichathu - Malayalam Movie Review


The premise and setting of Kavi Udheshichathu is way too predictable but the treatment of humour holds together the movie without breaking apart. In the end you have a little film without any tall claims which is good for a time pass as it entertain you for a major part, provided you are ready to forgive little lapses on the writing side. The duo of Thomas and Liju Thomas who had earlier made an impressive and memorable short film Remaniyechiyuday Naamathil makes a decent debut outing on to the big screen with a film that no one can complain about except for some minor faults.

Kaavaalam Jimmy played by Asif Ali and Vattathil Bosco enacted by Narein are the pivotal characters around whom the plot of the movie takes its shape. The two of them are school mates but turned out to be foes as they grew up. They land up in a betting connected with the game of volleyball and the result of the tournament have a far reaching impact on their life.

Comedy is the main element used in the story to lit up things and the director duo have succeeded in making the audience laugh with lighter moments.There is no boredom as such as the film just makes us rooted to the seat and in the end we are able to leave the cinema halls without any damage. That's a big plus for a movie which has a plot that is quite easy to predict where it is heading upto from a very early phase of its narration.

On the making side, the treatment is quite simple giving more prominence for comedy and fun. The short film the director duo have made has been wisely and effectively recreated in this movie and though it was a borrowed concept from their own creation, it gelled very well with this plot with proper writing.

Its the second half where the story really takes its shape from a lighter and simpler first half. We recently saw the game of volleyball as a plot in Karinkunnam Sixes and on that aspect, Kavi Udheshichathu is a little late arrival but here in KU, the sports theme gets a gradual shape unlike the former which is a full-fledged sports film. The only complaint is in the way the game part is treated and quite naturally the element of predictability is way too high here on the total story as well as the gaming side.

Asif Ali did what was expected from such a character. It was well executed from him as per the demands of that character. Sudhy Kopa, Balu, Ganapathy and Abhishek Raveendran played perfect foil to Asif Ali as the gang of friends. Narein was okay but there were some roughness in the way he acted in the comic scenes.

Biju Menon enters into the thick of things only at a very later stage but once he is in, he does it in the way he goes about these days creating good fun. Heroine Anju Kurian is passable along with a long line up of supporting actors like Saiju Kurup, Sunil Sugadha, Lena, Sasi Kallinga, Dinesh Prabhakar, Sija Rose and Bindhu Panicker to name a few who were all okay in their respective characters. Jakes Bejoy and Vinu Thomas are behind the music scene with Jakes doing the background score also. It wasn't a great attempt but was a decent effort on the music side. Cinematography was apt and editing was neat.

I had very little expectation from the movie and was wondering why the team decided to release it with two biggies from Mollywood. But the film was to my liking in a reasonable way as it is an above average entertainer that created some genuine laughs inside the cinema hall.

Rating - 3 / 5

Vijay Speaking Malayalam ● Exclusive

The Scene from the movie Theri where he speaks Malayalam.

MS Dhoni : The Untold Story - REVIEW


The biggest challenge for any director to achieve success while attempting a biopic in my opinion is the time factor wherein they have to condense the entire life into a two and a half hour drama, something which is not that easy considering the different facets of the life of the person to be depicted on screen. So refining the most important, unheard-of but attractive part of life that would becatchy to the audience becomes paramount importance.

We have seen some best sports biopics emanating from Bollywood and I would pick Baag Milkha Baag, Paan Singh Tomar and Budhia Singh: Born to run as my personal favourites. Mary Kom is also not bad but I wouldn't put it in the league of the first three which were much more refined in their narration.

Neeraj Pandey attempts a biopic on the life of M.S.Dhoni. Well, thats a towering challenge considering the stature and fan following that Dhoni has along with some of the criticisms that he is part of. Also the fact that Mahi as he is fondly called by his close associates and relatives is still very much active in International cricket and that makes it almost a herculean task for Neeraj and his team to deliver it big.

After watching M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story, what that comes up to my mind is 'Playing It My Way", the autobiography of Sachin Tendulkar. Just like the book on Sachin, this film on MSD also choose the safe passage of staying away from some controversial innings of the cricketer's life that would have made the film much more exciting paving the way for some hot discussions in the coming days. Of course, some little known but interesting things are shown but overall the film with all the limitations in the form of Dhoni's active involvement in International cricket in the shorter and slam bang versions of the game even now puts it on a safe and watchable platform.

The story, well doesn't need a big guessing game as such. Its the rise of the boy from a little known place called Ranchi who went on to become one of the most successful captain of Team India. Captain Cool as he is referred to, the movie throw lights on his initial years before getting noticed and also gives a picture on how he comes into the limelight of Indian cricket. Beginning from the year of his birth in 1981 till 2011 when India wins the Wkrl Cup, the film is a journey of how he achieve success and who all are the people behind his transformation to a successful cricketer.

A highly impressive first half is where the film scores more and it is this portion that really show his real life from where he starts from scratch and become one of the best finishers of modern day cricket. Little known things like how he learns the famous helicopter shot, Mahi getting the autograph of Sachin for a fellow passenger during a flight journey, his rivalry with Yuvraj Singh at the domestic level when the two are yet to make their International debut are all some highlights that catch your attention. That World Cup winning moment both the T20 and 50 over finals gets recreated and are truly goosebumps creating moments for anyone who loves the game.

The shift in focus in the second half towards the romantic side of Dhoni's life, the movie loosen its style and pace. Screenplay isn't that effective and is primarily intended in glorifying the cricketer and in that the director has succeeded. So for the fans of MSD, it is a treat but for others it is partly good.

There is no mention of any controversies connected with the IPL fiasco nor does the names of senior cricketers mentioned during a selection committee meeting where Dhoni bats for youth and for taking some tough decisions. They have purposefully blacked out the voice part in that scene. The reason for Dhoni getting himself promoted up the order in World cup finals ahead of a padded Yuvraj was a discussion point those days and the answer to that is there in the movie. At three hours the duration is on the higher side but it doesn't affect the pace as such in a big way.

For Sushant Singh Rajput, its never an easy task filling into Dhoni's shoes and transforming himself to a cricketer on screen. The challenge was huge but the actor has put in lot of efforts which is clearly evident from his body language. The way Dhoni walks, his facial expressions and body movement all of which are so familiar to us have been given a perfect facelift by the actor and it was a ideal casting. All those cricketing shots when he plays for India I believe have been morphed but at the domestic level cricket we can see Sushant perfectly enacting the shots that Dhoni plays.

Anupam Kher though had little role effectively did his part as Dhoni's father Paan Singh Dhoni. Rajesh Sharma was a notable actor among the supporting side as he was entrusted to play the role of MSD's coach during his school days. Both the heroines Disha Patani and Kiara Advani were not bad. Bhoomika Chawla in a less prominent role couldn't do much.

Overall, MS.Dhoni: The Untold Story is not a bad attempt considering the challenge it had but it falls short of something exceptional. Definitely a must watch film if you are a die-hard fan of cricketer Dhoni but for a normal audience its just a passable film.

Rating - 3 / 5

Ola Peepi Malayalam Movie Review


Its a rarity these days in Malayalam cinema to find movies with a homely feel. Those films that were too simple and direct in their story telling approach with the essence and flavour of traditional Malayali life have almost vanished from the scene. But Krish Kymal's Olapeeppi has a different tale to tell unlike the kind of cinema we see nowadays.

The movie is a trip down our memory lane, infact a nostalgic ride to the seventies and deliver it with utmost simplicity. The title itself has that homeliness to it, with something that was a valuable playing thing in those days for children which the present generation kids would have no clue about.

Coming to the storyline, the movie focus on a rich Tharavaadu that suffer due to the land reforms of the seventies. Unni returns from United States to his ancestral home after spending a long thirty years of his life abroad to the resting place of his grandmother. He recollect his childhood days that he spend with his Muthassi and goes back to US a satisfied man after realising something new in his life.

The film is very straightforward with its approach without any gimmicks and tell what it wanted in a neat fashion. There are some moments that brings about a feel of sympathy towards the grandmother and her grandson seeing the plight of them now. Many poor people have benefited from the land reforms but some wealthy homes were also at the receiving end. The thing is the ones suffering now are in no way part of or neither responsible for the zamindari and feudal system followed by their forefathers.

Poverty and helplessness are the two obstacles standing tall infront of the kid and her grandmother and the sufferings of the two makes our eyes wet and touch our heart. Krish Kymal, the director is successful in conveying the beautiful bonding that the two share through many finer moments. Making side is quite simple and orthodox. It has its share of faults and uneasiness at times but that cannot take any credits from the other positive things Olapeeppi offer.

Biju Menon is casted as Unni in a character that we haven't seen him in the recent past. Not a challenging role for the actor but nevertheless he did what he was supposed to in a sincere manner. Eighty year old Punnasery Kanchana is the one who plays the role of Muthassi with such finesse with lot of innocence and simplicity to it. She was an yesteryear actress of the sixties, if I am not wrong. She is making a comeback and through this performance she has proven that age is not a factor for making a comeback in acting.

The little boy who enacted the role of Unni's childhood days was also notable along with Paris Laxmi and Anjali Upasana. Sreejith Ravi in a role that doesn't have any kindness plays it perfect as a heartless man. Few more unfamiliar actors are part of the supporting side who were okay.

Cinematography handled by the director himself is a major highlight capturing the beauty of Kerala village life with elegance. Background score was done as per the moods and tone of the film. There is one song in the movie and it was okay.

Olapeeppi trying to stress the importance of relationships, bonding and love is a movie with a heart and deserves a watch. When very little of the traditional Kerala life remains in reel and real life, it is heartwarming to see there are still attempts going on like this which can bring back old memories for the good. My only prayers is that Olapeeppi doesn't end up as another Torrent hit since we need these films also to make a strong presence in theatres.So the recommendation is to go and watch on big screen itself to give the film a befitting response that it deserves.

Rating - 3.5 / 5

Pulimurugan Malayalam Movie Review


By chance, happened to read an interview on the eve of director Vysakh's much hyped and publicized movie Pulimurugan's release wherein the director categorically rejects his movie belonging to a mass masala movie in the league of a Narasimham or a Ravanaprabhu with heavy punch dialogues appearing every now and then. As per Vysakh, Pulimurugan is more of a film suitable for the family audience and at the same time one that can appease the hardcore fans of Mohanlal.

After watching the movie, the impression that I got is something justifying the statements of the director only partially as the film is heavy on the mass side giving a glorified picture of its title protagonist. The film has its share of negatives and has cliches on the narrative side but where it scores is on the action side and for that Peter Hein the action director and of course Mohanlal who at this age too has put in enormous efforts to make the stunts look so effortless deserve a round of applause.

Set in a dense forest area called Puliyoor where Pulimurugan is the man the people reach out to whenever tigers are on the prowl creating casualties on the human side. Born and brought up under the toughest of condition, Murugan has this exceptional skill in fighting the wild animal. How he does that and how some uninvited guests becomes his nemesis is narrated in the film.

Its a treat for the diehard followers of the superstar who will be a satisfied lot seeing the actor doing some breathtaking action sequences. Where the film could not make an impression is on the family life of Murugan that was plain irritating and boring creating a feel that acted as a speed breaker. Had these portions been trimmed, it would have made a big difference.

Mohanlal appear in the title protagonist role and as far as acting is concerned its not a challenging one but where he needed his contributions were on the action side. For a man of his age, it was something really commendable executing those difficult steps brilliantly directed by Peter Hein. The character that Kamalini Mukherjee plays as that of Murugan's better half was plain annoying displaying the same set of emotions all the time. It was the result of a badly written role for her with poorly sketched dialogues that did the damage.

On the supporting side, Lal, Telugu actor Jagapathy Babu, Suraj Venjaramodu and Kishore were the notable ones. Siddhique and Makarand Deshpandey didn't get anything meaty to display their acting skills.

The visual beauty of nature as the entire story happens inside a forest has been brilliantly captured by the cameraman. Gopi Sunder's background score gave a major face-lift to the movie and the songs were also quite good especially the lullaby that appear in the beginning. The song sung by Yesudas was also a melodious one worth hearing a second time. Editing was sharp especially on the action sequences but the overall length could have been pruned a little.

As I said, Pulimurugan is a movie for the hardcore fans who will accept it with both hands seeing their star doing heavy action and also doing his traditional twirling of his mustache on several occasions. With lot of thrilling moments with good support from the technical side and at the same time with a predictable and weak storyline, the movie can be enjoyed provided the expectation is slightly brought down.

Rating - 3 / 5