The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2015: A Perspective

At the very outset while I do feel that 2015 wasn’t an exceptional year for Malayalam Cinema, there were some interesting films and certain interesting trends were noticed as well. The number of releases overall dipped a bit this year, with an overall number of 153 releases (140 straight and 13 dubbed releases) compared to 163 last year. There were disruptions to the movie business seen in the form of the exhibitors association shutting down the theatres in Kerala on 2 separate occasions. While in July we saw a strike (thankfully only for a day) due to protest over the piracy controversy surrounding Alphonse Putharen’s Premam, we saw the the Christmas releases being threatened thanks to the strike over the Government’s decision to introduce a Rs. 3 cess on tickets intended to be used for helping poor artists of the industry with a monthly pension. There were quite a few films which saw success at the box office, including 3 bonafide blockbusters, all of them bringing in a fresh aspect of filmmaking.Continue reading “The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2015: A Perspective”

Rani Padmini: Trailer

Rani Padmini PosterAashiq Abu who has been having a mixed run of late,came up with the disastrous Gangster last year. He is now back with his latest film,Rani Padmini which is produced by PM Harris and VS Muhammed Althaf and written by Syam Pushkaran and Ravi Sankar. The film features Manju Warrier and Rima Kallingal in the lead, along with Sajitha Madathil, Jinu Joseph, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Dileesh Pothan, Binu Pappu, Rajitha Madhu, Hareesh Khanna. The music is by Bijibal while Madhu Neelakandan is the DOP and Saiju Sreedharan is the editor.Continue reading “Rani Padmini: Trailer”

Ennum Eppozhum Movie Review: The World of Good Hearted Malayalees

Sathyan Anthikkad is a director who has given Malayalees many iconic films. He has represented the dilemma of Malayalees, the struggle of a Malayalee to come to terms with the ever changing world around. Be it Gopalakrishna Panicker (Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam) who wants to sell of his home in the city to pay off his debts, or T.P. Balgopalan (T.P.Balagopalan M.A) a post graduate who is trying to work honestly in an environment where everyone is forcing him to abandon his principles, or Murali (Varavelpu) who returns to Kerala to start his business but eventually leaves Kerala, Sathyan has always presented the issues of Malayalees and Kerala in a way which has made us laugh and think at same time. In the last decade or so however he has been churning out mediocre films one after another. Hence I was apprehensive of how will Sathyan treat his latest film Ennum Eppozhum.

Continue reading “Ennum Eppozhum Movie Review: The World of Good Hearted Malayalees”

Ennum Eppozhum: Sneak Peek

After a gap of 17 years Mohanlal and Manju Warrier are coming together once again in Sathyan Anthikkad‘s Ennum Eppzhum (Always Forever),produced by Antony Perumbavoor. Releasing on March 27th the film is based on a story by actor Raveendran and the screenplay is by Ranjan Pramod. The film also features Reenu Mathews, Lena, Innocent, Jacob Gregory, Renji Panicker etc and has music by Vidyasagar. Neil D’Cunha is the DOP while K.Rajagopal is the editor.Continue reading “Ennum Eppozhum: Sneak Peek”

The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2014: A Perspective

While doing a similar exercise around the same time last year I found it hard to do the analysis of the year that’s coming to an end in terms of Malayalam Cinema’s output. This was especially true while compiling my list of the best 10 films of the year, but this time around the process has been a lot simpler. In a way it is a little alarming as that means the quality of films has dipped a bit as there haven’t been too many films to short list and fight among themselves for a spot in the compilation. While the year began on a cautious note thanks to the satellite T.V. deals not happening like before, resulting in many films from late 2013 waiting in the cans finally releasing one, by one, eventually the year still saw 163 releases (apparently 150 straight releases and 13 dubbed releases). The year saw a few films doing very well commercially, not all of them featuring big stars. Also as usual a few good films were given the miss by the audience despite the good reviews.Continue reading “The Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2014: A Perspective”

The Tamil Cinema Heroine: Mini Skirts and Bar Counters

Two years back, a Tamil movie had a female lead who drinks vodka, albeit unknown to her family and on seeing a girl she calls her “matter”, having seen her profile on desigirls.com. By all means, this was an unconventional Tamil heroine character in a very conventional commercial Tamil film. The film is Thuppakki, one which is talked more about for calling a single terrorist as “sleeper cells” than anything else. I find it as one of the first commercial films where Tamil cinema is getting ready to see its heroine as more than the “veetu kutthuvezhaku” that she has been expected to be.

Film critic Baradwaj Rangan, tells about Silk Smitha and the image of the vamps of Tamil cinema as “Till the end of the 1960s, the bulk of movies, unlike the Hindi film industry, were not shot at hill stations. They were family dramas with strong family-oriented cores. The heroine was sari-clad, demure and sexy in a girl-next-door way. There was no boa, no bikinis. The first of the vamps were Jayamalini and Jyothilakshmi. They were made to stand for everything negative in society that the heroine could not represent. Who were the heroines at the time? Ambika, Radha, Revathi and Suhasini. These were the ‘sexy’ heroines in the non-erotic sense. They represented the family. As a variety of villains cropped up, they became gangster molls. The vamp began to represent society’s hypocrisy.”Continue reading “The Tamil Cinema Heroine: Mini Skirts and Bar Counters”

Mr. Fraud Movie Review: Once Again a Case of “Old Wine in New Bottle”

Mr.Fraud MovieCouple of days ago I was looking forward to doing a rare three back to back film session, rare not because I was to watch 3 movies on the trot, that’s something I do very often. But rare because all the 3 were to regional films, 1 Tamil (Vallvanakku Pullum Aayudham) and the 2 brand new Malayalam releases- Mr. Fraud and How Old Are You. Now for a film buff in Mumbai, this sort of a scenario doesn’t happen too often. My heart nearly skipped a beat when I was trying for tickets for the 2 Malayalam films and I was told that there is an uncertainty regarding the shows due to some technical issue and it would be confirmed only by evening. Needless to say I was just about hoping that things would get sorted out and that I would get to watch the films as already planned. After all why would I let go of a chance to watch a Mohanlal film on the very first day of release (and also Manju Warrier’s come back film-How Old Are You) and hence was relieved when I heard of the shows happening as scheduled.Continue reading “Mr. Fraud Movie Review: Once Again a Case of “Old Wine in New Bottle””

How Old Are You Movie Review: Return of a Diva

How Old Are You- Manju WarrierManju Warrier is back and how! Rosshan Andrrews’ How Old Are You brings back Manju to the silver screen after a decade and half and one of Malayalam cinema’s most-loved actresses makes a spirited return as a middle-aged woman restoring her identity and finding new direction in life. This easily is one of the more anticipated movies this year and to that extent, there is a sense of mild nostalgia, coupled with a sense of satisfaction that her re-launch vehicle is the perfect one for the occasion.

(Mild Spoilers Ahead)

How Old Are You (HOAY), follows the ‘boring’ middle-class life of Nirupama Rajeev (Manju Warrier), a 36-year old UD clerk in the revenue department. Her life comprises a run-of-the-mill government job which she has been doing for the past 15 years, her family and colleagues, after she settles down and adjusts herself to the reality of a post-marital life. Her husband Rajeev (Kunchacko Boban) who works with All India Radio, and her high school daughter Lakshmi (Amritha Anil), have big dreams in life and want to migrate to Ireland to carve a new life for them.Continue reading “How Old Are You Movie Review: Return of a Diva”

How Old Are You: Trailer

How Old Are You-Manju WarrierIn the 1990’s Manju Warrier was not just one of the most sought after heroines in Malayalam Cinema,she was a rare example of an actress who appealed to almost all sections of the industry and movie audience.With her settling down to a life of domesticated bliss after her marriage to popular actor Dileep, she had quit acting and even dancing (she’s a trained classical dancer). But while she has been making a lot of heads turn with developments in her personal life,her fans and well wishers have been eagerly awaiting her comeback to films. So now the wait is over as her comeback film, How Old Are You directed by Rosshan Andrrews is ready for release. Written by Bobby-Sanjay, the film is produced by Listin Stephen and has music by Gopi Sunder.Continue reading “How Old Are You: Trailer”