Archive for the Malayalam Category


Posted in Malayalam with tags , , , , , , on April 3, 2014 by Roshan Mathew

This review is going to be a little different. It is slightly personal for me. I have been closely following director Jeethu Joseph’s career for the last few years. He was my husband’s schoolmate in the small town of Piravom near Cochin, Kerala. I found his rise in the film industry fascinating, solely because he was born with a silver or even a gold spoon in his mouth and then choose to put himself out there to face success or failure, come what may. It takes a special kind of character to push yourself out of your comfort zone, especially when there is nothing else pushing you forward other than raw passion and a sense of having a need to crave something out for yourself, instead of taking the much easier route of living off of your inheritance. I can’t help but respect that in a person.

Now about him as a director. He has shown great variety in his subject matter in the movies that he has done and he usually has a strong social,very identifiable moral or psychological commentary weaving the story together. He is a master at capturing the subtle nuances of daily life, infusing reality and warmth to his characters. His movies are very character driven and he spends considerable screen time to flush them out and make the audience invested in their onscreen lives. Drishyam is no different on these scores.

It is the story of an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things, for the people he loves. Georgekutty(Mohanlal) is an uneducated family man, living in a small town with his wife Rani(Meena)and daughters, Anju(older) and Anu. He has made a comfortable life for himself by running a cable TV providing service. Along with a propensity to be stingy, Georgekutty has developed an obsession with movies and constantly refers to movie scenes and uses situations from movies to solve problems in his own life and in his community. His idyllic life is shattered when evil happens in the form of Varun, who is an acquaintance of Anju. In a case of blackmailing gone terribly wrong, Varun ends up dead. The rest of the movie is about how two families(Georgekutty’s and Varun’s) deal with this tragedy. It is setup like a thriller. Matters get tough for Georgekutty’s family when it turns out that Varuns mother Geetha Prabhakar(Asha Sharath) is the Kerala inspector general. Varun’s helpless father is done to perfection by Siddique.

There are no false steps by anyone in this movie. And I mean anyone! Everyone from the cameraman, to music,acting and directing is impeccable. It is very gratifying to see Mohanlal given roles like Georgekutty that actually utilizes this actors tremendous talent. Right when you start questioning his fall from the superstar pedestal, he gets pulled right back on it. The stand out among the kids was the the girl who played Anu( Esther). She is a natural on camera. I love the way Jeethu has captured many scenes that show the microcosm of a small community, which always seem to centre in the local chayakada(tea shop). I recognized a lot of linguistic and attitudinal nuances that are very true to people from those areas between Kottayam and Cochin. I am guessing he drew them from his own life. The only thing that could’ve been done without would be the completely gratuitous screen time given to Anthony Perumbavoor. I guess you have to accommodate the producer.

The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the box office. Drishyam has become the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all time. So if you haven’t done so already, get to the theater to watch this thrilling entertainer. Just like the protagonist in his movie, Jeethu, an ordinary guy has managed to do the extraordinary because of his love for movies.


Patom Pole

Posted in Malayalam with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2014 by Roshan Mathew

This is cinematographer Alagappan’s debut directing venture, with a script by Girish Kumar. The movie opens with the elopement of young lovers Karthik(Dulquer)and Riya(Malavika Mohan). Expecting opposition from their respective Brahmin and Christian families, they decide that elopement is the only way for them to be together. Their parents surprisingly are very calm, understanding and loving(How very Anti Aniyatipravu of them)Once the compatibilty/economic realities of building a life together sets in, they decide to break up and return to their homes. Their families welcome them back with open arms and wants them to be together, especially Riya’s parents as she has compromised her virtue by living with a man for 4 days(rolls eyes).The ex lovers move on with their lives, getting jobs at the same event management company run by Mike(Anoop Menon). Then ensues some probable love triangles complications that lead to the inevitable conclusion of the lovers reuniting, once they realize their real feelings. I realize I just gave away the ending. But who are we fooling here. The ending can be discerned about 15 minutes into the movie. So no surprise there.

Bottom line is there is nothing good about this movie other than Dulquer Salman. Even his presence during the movie just makes you question his judgement in selecting this role. The only couple of good scenes in the movie belong to him and Anoop Menon. The script and direction are the weakest links. The script starts of good enough, but then meanders along aimlessly, crammed with chockfull of love story cliches. There is no story element that gives us a convincing argument as to why these two people should get back together other than a couple of half hearted attempts to conjure up a love triangle. Alagappan is a cinematographer through and through. Every frame is constructed beautifully, but that’s about it. It felt like he directed the movie, just so that he could direct his own camera, rather than telling a story. There are a multitude of beautiful shots of Allepey backwaters. The songs are average and shot very badly with terrible choreography. Newcomer Malavika is not a very good actress. All eyes and breathing, a la Kristen Stewart. I found her on screen presence very distracting.

The context of the movie was good if it had ended up in the hands of a decent scriptwriter. But even that would not have been good enough, with Alagappan at the stern. There is no saving this one. Never ever watch it.


Posted in Malayalam with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2014 by Roshan Mathew

I have been really heartened by all the great malayalam movies that have been coming out in the last 2 years. New generation phenomenon or not, there has been an influx of great, intelligent, thought provoking movies that has gotten me excited about malayalam movies after the dreadful years of sub par performances and stupid scripts from the veterans, except Sreenivasan of course!

Following in the foot steps of intellectual movies like Manjadikuru and Ozhimuri, comes the thought provoking Shutter, written and directed by Joy Mathew. This movie was a total surprise for me. I picked it up because I saw Sreenivasan on the cover. But he turned out to be the most insignificant part that would contribute to the enjoyment of this movie for me. The stars of the movie are definitely Joy Mathew and Sajitha Madathil.

The plot is simple and is set in Kozhikode. It shows events that happen during two days in the life of Rasheed (Lal)who is on leave from his job in the Gulf. He finds himself locked up inside a store warehouse with a prostitute (Sajitha Madathil). He procures her with the help of his friend Sura (Vinay Fort) who is supposed to return to unlock Rasheed after enough time has passed for Rasheed to conclude the nights business. Sura fails to return after being detained by the police for drunk driving. This leads to Rasheed and the woman spending some unintended time together which becomes a hell for both of them especially Rasheed who is in danger of being caught with a prostitute and losing his well protected image of being an upstanding citizen in front of his community and family.

The story is a moral thriller. Rasheed is a very orthodox, very strict parent and husband, who is forever protecting the virtue of his teenage daughter. But he has completely different values regarding women and their uses once he is out of his house and in the company of fellow “men”. As any woman who grew up in India(especially Kerala) knows this is the leading thought process that controls their everyday lives. Walking down a street we would meet hundreds of Rasheeds among the throng of men that cat calls, comments or gropes women they meet on the streets. These men have to be someone’s son, brother or husband,right?

Joy Mathew’s script is brilliant in the way he shows Rasheed’s bravado and confidence from the beginning of the movie melt away , as his carefully constructed social image is in imminent danger of falling apart. The analogy between the physical shutter of the store and the shutter hiding Rasheed’s heart is the central theme of the script. As long as the his real self is hidden behind the shutter he is confident in his moral outrage and as soon as the shutter is in danger of being lifted and his real self is in danger of being exposed, he falls apart because of the destruction of his place on the fake moral pedestal he has cultivated his whole life. While the prostitute is unaffected as she lives her immoral life out in the open.I throughly enjoyed watching Rasheeds moral pedestal fall apart. I have to say this movie gave a sense of personal vindication for all the ladies who have had to survive this special brand of moral outrage that usually seems to be reserved for only Indian women.

Brilliant performances by Sajitha Madathil and Vinay Fort. Sajitha imbibes the role of the prostitute and Vinay is perfect as the jittery auto driver Sura. He even has the body language down pat. I hope we get to see these two actors in the future. Sreenivasan and Lal give predictably good performances. Even experienced directors cannot hope to deliver a movie like this and this is an amazing directorial debut for Joy Mathew. His theatrical background give the shots in the movie an intimacy that we expect from a stage. The intimate camera work by Hari Nair is also noteworthy, as creating that effect of being locked up with Rasheed and the prostitute is an important factor for the audience’s experience.

Very gratifying and revolutionary story telling. Definite must watch