Spell Grandeur, Spell Baahubali

When was the last time the whole nation celebrated a movie without saying it’s yours, it’s ours or without any guilt. I don’t remember any. Baahubali was one such film, which spelt grandeur in each and every scene.

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Having watched Baahubali 1 out of compulsion but still to have liked it, its sequel, Baahubali 2’s trailers too didn’t impress me much. But in theatres there wasn’t a single moment of lag, the movie was lengthy, I could feel it but never for a second did I want to end it. I don’t think any director in recent time has got hold of people’s pulse like this. Also to how prolifically to use the canvas. If it was big, it was big for a reason.

Pseudo intellects want to of course read atomic physics side by side while watching the movie like how a thesis on space technology would be necessary to watch a Nolan film. I don’t know why people want answers when the questions are this interesting. The very first scene had a newborn being taken above water by a lady who was almost dead, with the music and tension, it gave me goose bumps, if it didn’t work for you, it’s never going to work for you post that, it’s even waste of time to watch the second part.

Rajamouli wins it with the title card itself, it’s clear how much effort he has put in that. It carries the whole story of first part. As soon as the title card ends and Sathyaraj’s voice start and you are instantly hooked, Ramya Krishnan’s feet adorned by flowers, showing the love of people, son coming to the rescue and like how. I don’t think any movie post MGR era had perfected the Amma sentiment like this. You call it perfection because it’s not cringe worthy, rather when Ramya Krishnan smiles at Prabhas, you actually like it.

Scene after scene, frame after frame, it was awe inspiring, from the chariot to elephant to bow to songs to Anushka to attitude to the interval block. Everything was awe inspiring. Interval block, of all, was the most fabulous scene in the entire movie. When the stones vibrate and the sound increases from people to soldier to elephant, it was nothing but brilliant. The whole theatre was shaking. It was like falling from the tip of the roller coaster where you understand the complete meaning of gravity. That’s how powerful Rajamouli has scripted Baahubali.

I didn’t remember any scene from part one, but it didn’t affect my movie watching experience even one bit. This movie would have worked wonders even for people who had not watched part one. But I don’t think there would have been anyone like that.

I didn’t like Prabhas in the first movie, he was trying so hard. When Rana got introduced taming a bull, that was screen presence, not Prabhas with Siva Linga, in fact, how in a country where we play national anthem and four videos for the ‘benefit’ of us before the movie and any small disagreement from the norm becomes an issue, I don’t know how people didn’t make an issue out of that where a hero breaks an idol and keeps somewhere else. Good for us.

But in the second half Prabhas has such command. You shout as if you should for your local hero. Anushka on the other hand gives one of her best performance, completely understanding the character and delivering it. Her attitude mixed with aggression was a treat to watch. Also satisfies feminists by walking over the shoulder of Prabhas.

Good that Tamannaah was spared of any antics in the film but I’d have really liked to have Rana some more role. See how effortlessly he shows his villainy, the scene where he asks his dad to stop talking in court, till the right moment. Every scene except for the shout in climax works brilliantly in favor of him.

Why Kattappa killed Baahulabi was the question in everyone’s mind, but even if that had been revealed, not even a single soul would have got disappointed while watching the movie.

 

 

 

 

Aval Oru Thodarkathai

I know that anyone who has seen ‘Aval Oru Thodarkathai’ is going to be reminded of it hugely while watching Meghe Dhaka Tara. It has a similar setting. Though Aval Oru Thodarkathai came a good fourteen years later this movie, as a Tamilian I’m more used to Aval Oru Thodarkathai, thus I wasn’t overwhelmed with Meghe Dhaka Tara.

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Here Neeta (Supriya Choudhury) is a self-sacrificing women as opposed to a relentless Kavitha in Aval Oru Thodarkathai. Kavitha sacrifices in her own way too but Neeta is the one who’d immediately evoke sympathy from us. Supriya’s face doesn’t go out of my mind still. Such a brilliant actor. Even the very few time she seem to be having fun you know within yourself that something bad is going to happen to her eventually.

Lets see how cruel her family members were to her. First we hear a person practicing along the river coast, her brother, Shankar (Anil Chattopadhyay). That was an extended scene, the first thing which happens in the movie is Neeta being asked for money. Till the end it’s the same. Curiously, this movie doesn’t start with Neeta but rather with his brother Shankar. Shankar is the first man whom we get introduced to, who asks Neeta, money to shave from four anna to eight anna to a rupee. Neeta doesn’t have any problem giving it to him, in fact she’s happy, every time she said that he’s going to become a big star, I was cringing.

Next comes her younger brother and sister. Typical young people who don’t study and wants money for sports and sister who wants yet another saree to look good. All at the cost of her sister who couldn’t even afford to stich her sandal.  Her mom who curses people for wasting Neeta’s money and dad is the only one who doesn’t talk about her money. But in the next chapter when she gives money to her mother and she gives back five rupees as pocket money, only then we get to know how villainous she could be. So it’s all rotten for Neetu.

Then there is this guy, Sanat (Niranjan Ray), who is called Sanu, I don’t know whether that’s the Bengali way of pronouncing it like Vikram to Bikram. Of all he’s the most wretched guy. When he gets to the younger sister Gita (Gita Ghatak). I could only remember the dialogue which Kavitha says, “Mudhir kanniya vida elam vidhavai better nu nenachitingala.” Perfect! Also Gita looks very similar to Neeta, those wide eyes and round face. I thought they both were real sisters but I guess it’s typical Bengal face which was the similarity.

I didn’t expect Shankar to become big in the end, I loved the phase where Neetu gets TB and resorts herself inside the room, the rain in the end where truly overwhelming. If not, if only I had not watched Aval Oru Thodarkadhai, this experience would have been brilliant.

Life isn’t simple

For people who have read, with a title like this you wouldn’t have expected the story to be like this right? It was the same with me too. We can’t be blamed for that. That’s the intention of Neela Padmanabhan. Such a prolific write. All through the novel I was thinking that in my review, I’d write it as a novel which I didn’t understand. But thanks to the intriguing last one hundred pages I don’t think I’ve to do so.

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Pallikondapuram is nothing short of a marvel. It’d take some time to settle it. If you are religious you’ll start getting into the groove right away. For me it was a tough fifty pages at start. The book starts with detailed description of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. I haven’t been there and I wasn’t really absorbing what was written. The description there painted me picture of Thanjai Periya Kovil rather. I felt like Ananthan Nayar was sitting there right beside the pond at the back of the temple and describing it. To be honest I wasn’t flabbergasted when I went to the temple. It was all weird procedures there. Felt very much like how I felt in Puri Jagannath Temple, not at home. But when I read this book I found an all new meaning for Thanjai Periya Kovil.

Ananthan Nayar is a torn and tortured middle class Brahmin. You’d never want to live a life like that. It was a sadder version of About Schmidt. I felt read bad for him. Initially I was of the opinion that he was the wrong guy, then it got confusing, then felt like he was the good guy and finally accepted that it’s not for me to decide. The book is very much Tarkovskian. Very much like Brothers Karamzov and Crime and Punishment. I might reread Crime and Punishment again next which might give me a clearer picture. It’s accepted universally that Russian literature is the one we connect to the most. The climax chapters of this book was similar to Brothers Karamzov and the confusions of Rashkolnikov was like that of Ananthan Nayar.

It’s actually a one man show. If I had to make a movie of it, I’d cast Poornam Vishwanathan in it. The Malayalam laced language in the book was tough to get onto it. When people said Ezam Ulagam Tamil would be tough to understand, it wasn’t really like it. Ezam Ulagam worked wonders for me but this one was very tough initially.

The book had detailing similar to Lord of the Rings, where the build ups go on and on and literature similar to Crime and Punishment.  What’s best is it’s Tamil and you can completely understand what’s going on.

The characters are not just another human being on the planet earth. Each one is so complex, undergoes such turmoil that it actually makes you fear life. Iranian movies have this capacity to put you into depression. Separation was the last thing which did to me.

If there are works which celebrates life, these are works which make us writhe life. Nevertheless we end up loving both. That’s how life is isn’t it. Not simple!

Trumping Victory

It’s not a review per se, well… nothing much I do is not that per se. While I was watching it and V was broadcasting his message from TV channel, dad was commenting ‘Anniyan Avatharithuvitan’. True. I feel that we are currently in revolution mode, we are on verge of something new, verge on breaking the shackles. I don’t know whether we are fed up with whatever happening or whether it’s because of boredom. People want to break free.

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Now that TASMACs in highways are being closed, people associated with it are trying out new means to open it like having a long barricade more than 500 meters, which would make it fall under the Supreme Court rules. I actually liked the clever thinking there but when I got to know that in my locality a local plot could be used as for opening TASMAC, that’s when I was agitated. My father highlighted few ladies who had broken a wall were TASMAC was supposed to be opened in a residential area. If it happens in my area I want to do that. So we revolt only if it happens to us right. So what should V for Vendetta be, R for Revenge or R for Revolution.  As it eventually happens for a larger cause I feel it should be R for Revolution.

Wachowski’s are such great writers. Don’t know how much of action sequences they were involved because it had a certain ‘Matrix’ effect to it. In spite of being folks from US their writing really worked for UK premise. Excellent English. Even though I didn’t like the all ‘v’ dialogue, the other dialogues were really good. The ‘v’ dialogues looked like a bit overdone.

The opening of the film when the Voice of London, Lewis Prothero (Roger Allam) reminded me very much of Trump. May be they could predict the future. I loved the intentional/unintentional references of Hitler through Sutler. Hitler, Sutler, does it ring a bill. The camera angles, the way Sutler is positioned on stage and the flag bore a lot of resemblance to the Nazi party.

Natalie Portman above all was an excellent choice. She has a very likeable face, a genuine smile where we’d feel that we should protect her. So when a girl with history gets affected we naturally would sympathize with her. That’s what happened here. We become ‘V’ for her.

I loved the scene where she goes as a little girl. I don’t know what was done to achieve that look, there was something different about the camera angles. She indeed looked like a little girl.

The symbol ‘V’ couldn’t have been more perfect, a man from cell five ‘V’, a story from Valerie and finally E’v’ey, a ‘V’ in making, all standing out for one ‘V’ – Victory.

In the TV station incident I felt that Hugo Weaving did pass through unmasked and another ‘V’ came – does that symbolize the quote “But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I’ve witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I’ve seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them… but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it… ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love…”And what about the climax, we see everyone alive. What does that mean.

In a film filled by a number of quotes, my favorite was “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” What was yours?

An uninteresting military diary

Post watching the movie, not even a single emotion had caught my attention. If feels very blank even now to think what was there in the film. This must have been the least impactful films I’ve seen in recent times. Even if there had been movies which I had not liked I would have at least hated it but this movie was as bland as Thukpa.

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I loved the title but it hardly made any sense. Yes of course VC (Karthi) is a super confident fighter pilot who says ‘to your left’ instead of just ‘left’ during crisis, his instincts work. Says Bharathiyar’s verse while coming out of hospital, an ode to the title but what post that. Karthi in this film is the exact problem I had with Suriya. A bad actor is better than an over rated one. Karthi is a limited actor, the boy next door looks suit him the best. He was probably trying too hard here, may be even desperate.

When he wears the Ray Ban ‘n’ number of times it doesn’t add to the style, when he shouts at his dad it doesn’t make us angry, when he says that he wants a single malt for getting Leela back it doesn’t show his villainy. Just imagine how beautiful all these scenes would have looked if it had had Prithviraj in it or even may be Mani’s pet Madhavan. And what’s worse, in many scenes he reminded me of Surya. When he said they’ve a terrific chemistry, it was a total disaster, I don’t know how the crowd could keep mum without howling. Are we forgiving all this just for Mani’s sake? Mani is said to be a director who doesn’t give each and every instruction to act. So would it not work for people who don’t have spontaneity. Classic example is the on-the-jeep song. It could easily have been the best moment if he had acted properly.

As you all know, the first choice heroine for the movie was Sai Pallavi. I’m not only saying this because I’m a fan of her but how lovely it’d have been to see her in Saree in Vaan Varuvan. I’m sure most of you would have noticed that jump into the hands of Karthi. Such beautiful scene. But ever since Dr. Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari) enters the frame by peeping through the window she disturbs our personal space. Most of her shots with Karthi were close ups and camera on top of her. One way of showing how Karthi dominates her. We see her giving ratish-poking-your-nose-out smile, in one way it’s cute with those pink noses but in another it’s annoying. She does it way too much time intruding into one’s body bubble. So you don’t really feel for her when she cries. The scene where she breaks up with Karthi and he goes for the fight should have shattered us but it hardly makes any impact. In a film with so many close ups she had done a sincere job by giving proper lip sync. But every time she talks you feel as if she’s fearing whether she’d lip sync it wrong in the next part. In fact, the only time she seemed to be herself was during Saratu Vandiyila song. Am I the only one who thought Rukmini would have been better choice for heroine than Aditi Rao. That’s some serious miscasting.

Miscasting doesn’t end there. RJ Balaji, I don’t know for what reason was put into the movie. Except for his last scene with Rukmini, nothing was good.

Music was jarring, the BGMs especially. Every time they escape, the same old guitar music. ARR should seriously start doing better BGMs. Even for songs I wasn’t interested much except for Saratu Vandiyila, that was the single brightest moment of the movie be it for music, performance, situation, colors, camera (oh how naughtily it lingers around Aditi’s waist during the start), the scene leading to it, the setting, the scene post it and more importantly lyrics. Only Mani could show marriages in so many different ways. I know everyone would have noticed that line in lyrics “Aanukko Paththu Nimisham, Ponnukko Anju Nimisham”. In Azhagiyae, “Thuli Kaalam Kaettaen, Thuli Kaathal Kaettaen, Thuli Kaamam Kaettaen” Some may call it provocative but this is the liberty only poets have and the way Mani and Vairamuthu so delicately deal with lust is beautiful. “Kaathal Konjam Kammi, Kaamam Konjam Thookal, Manjathin Mael Ennai Mannipaya”.

With respect to ARR I haven’t found any song to have similarity to other songs or older songs of his but here I found it way too many times. Saratu Vandiyila was like Chandiranai thotathu yar, Climax music was like Kadhal Ara Onnu Vizundhuchu, Azagiyae was like Mei Nigara in certain stanza.

Ok so auteurs repeat, that’s fine. But shouldn’t it bring joy to the film viewers. The picturisation of Vaan varuvan reminds of En Uyire from Uyire, Saratu Vandiyila reminds us of Yaro Yarodi, Karthi knowing about her pregnancy reminds us of the scene in Guru in front of the mirror (And how did she pregnant all of a sudden, give some clue Mani Sir), Aditi talks just like Tara, I don’t know whether it was the same person who dubbed. Even though her lip syncs there was absolutely no emotion. The movies structure is similar to Ravanan but at least shot better this time even though the jail parts were a total disaster. Heroes needless to say are clean shaven diplomats. Names are always in full Leela Thompson, Varun Chakrapani and most of the time you get to know about their cast too. Nadar, Thevar, Vanniyar etc.

The hospital scene post Saratu Vaniyila was well made, it came close to the parents talking scene in Alaipayuthey. Needless to say Mani’s eye for details is terrific. Look how Aditi Rao’s lipstick would be smudged in that scene. Lucky girl got superb costumes. Every girl would have loved to wear them. When she comes for the flight in that brown dress I was thinking why Karthi was taking so much time to give her his jacket. Some scenes can never get boring right. That was a good move to show him about her liking to him. Otherwise who wears a sleeveless dress in Leh. The thought process behind the shouting scene in flight was good. That was good acting. First she asks about shouting (typical Mani), then she opens her mouth, turns to his side, then shouts. Terrific. When the flight takes off it feels great. I’ve this fascination but I guess other too would have loved it.

VC is a proud guy who doesn’t want Leela to interfere. Even I didn’t like her wearing his pilot hat but he’s a bit more chauvinistic person. Even though the snowstorm scene didn’t work for me, the hand twisting scene was good, just forceful exhibition of power and he immediately changes into a romantic. Not to the liking of Leela but. When she gets her back and asks for Single Malt, again a scene showing his power was well made but he going to her house to woo her didn’t work. Leela singing and not answering Delhi Ganesh was good but imagining her as a singer didn’t work. More Piya was good but it didn’t look as natural as Malargal Kaettaen, she putting her hand down to tease Karthi in Saratu Vandiyila song was naughty but not as effortless as Shalini having her hand on her friend’s shoulder and saying ‘en mapila matikitan?’

In all, for every good scene there was a bad scene, every good scene reminded of a better scene same like it in some other movie of his. Thus making it as a totally un-impactful movie. Generally, we’d be curious to know someone else’s story, that’s why cinema thrives but here when we think that we’ve got a bumper prize by getting a Warrior’s diary. All we see is an uninteresting note about his self-obsessed take on life.

There is a general phrase saying a bad Mani film is better than many good films but a bad film is a bad film no matter who makes it, whether its Perarasu or Kubrick.

Light at the end of the tunnel

This expression has become quite frequent isn’t it? But how better to describe the film which even makes our regular Vikraman climax trick epic.

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The best part about this movie is that it doesn’t trudge on morality for name sake. Yes the kid gets saved, the pregnant lady gets saved but if it had been any other film there were lot many places where they could have made the morality mistakes. The point where the baseball player dies, he could have retorted, the place where the protagonists come back to regular coach, everyone could have turned against the COO and what best, when the COO escapes in engine I thought that he would get the worst of all deaths, rather when you see him in the driver’s seat he’s already a zombie, in turn affecting the kids dad as well. In fact he’s the only character who looks like a negative one, but he too has a point at most part, like asking to start train from the station and not allowing the other folks to enter the coach. It’s a practical method but only when he gets slapped his ego gets hurt and he becomes a different person, he’s a zombie already.

If any had watched the movie without knowing what it’s about, may be it’d have been terrific. But it stores enough surprise even for the one who watch it knowing it’s a Zombie movie, right from the point where an affected person enter the train. That was superbly shot but even if the signaler hadn’t seen, wouldn’t he have heard the sound of someone entering in. She enters with a thud isn’t it?

Having known that it’s a zombie movie the initial scenes about a distorted family was a bit of drag. You know what’s going to happen with the kid and his dad towards the end. Of course the cliché was made in an engaging way but cliché is still a cliché. Why couldn’t a normal without-any-crisis family get into trouble? Why should it be an overtly happy or sad family getting affected always? Points to ponder…

Funnily the RT rating of the movie is higher than that of IMDB but it doesn’t look like something which only critics could appreciate. It’s a very good commercial film, way better than many zombie films made without emotion, not made with false emotion etc. Shaun of the dead still remains my favorite zombie film even though it’s a parody, the style was truly amazing and further it was Brit.

 

Mad about Madras

While the Madras song ‘Chennai vada Chennai’ gets played in FM Radio city, Sri sitting in night cab tells the driver Charlie “amuthunga sir adha.” And usually crazy crowd which would go crazier when hearing anything related to Chennai stays mute while this scene happens, either it should have been an elation or depression but both doesn’t happen here. They are dumbstruck and continue watching the movie. Although the opposite of this scene where Sundeep says that he belongs to the city was bad, this pretty much sets the mood. I loved the scene where they both unite to take Charlie to hospital. That link! Beauty!

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The film sets the tone right from first. A dialogue which Sri utters would obviously be liked by everyone alike. Then there is that miscommunication and an extremely well shot Acid scene and the link to it. Look how intelligently the director Lokesh Kanagaraj has made that scene. It could have been a scene with which a lot of built up to raise the image of hero and intrigue audience but rather it happens at a very critical juncture in the life of the hero (safely considering Sundeep as The Hero as he’s the one who fights) The director makes us think like Sundeeps friend who thinks that he’s waiting for Regina. But only after he gets into bus we get to know what he’s up to. Also post that, apart from an onlooker’s comic act we get to know the seriousness of the acid scene when Sundeep’s friend hurts his finger. So that moment he puts the acid bottle there and smashes it, Ouch! It indeed would have hurt.

How lovely it was to see Regina in a film again, I had noted her down during Kanda Naal Mudhal days itself. A fine actor, ok, a beautiful actor who acts fine. Even though her role was limited she fitted the character to tee.

Music was fabulous. Be it the song ‘Yendi unna pidikithu’ or the climax BGM. Most of the songs were rightly placed. Except for the one bus stop song, I didn’t feel any song to have intruded the flow of the movie.

Special mention to Sundeep, this guy effortlessly acts as an action hero. I loved the bus stop scene where post the fight he holds his neck and asks the kid, “va da”. The kid gets scared and doesn’t come. He nonchalantly asks him to come again. That’s a mark of good actor to induce emotions effortlessly.

In Agni Natchathiram when Karthik and Prabhu finally unite, it gives sparks. This film beat it in the climax. That’s quite an achievement with two relatively newcomers at the fore.

 

Death Sentence

The film happens in Ayer, Massachusetts. Now don’t forget that, it’s an important piece of evidence in decoding how bad the movie was.

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That’s how an everyday Hollywood movie’s template is made off. Absolutely nothing whatsoever, no fun, no drama, no emotion, no nothing. You’d fine even Sathyam popcorn stale while watching this one. I had a huge respect for Hilary Swank but not after this one. I guess she was even a joint producer for this one, seriously. That’s some desperation to give a hit.

Ok, here comes the story. Someone kills someone, the first someone is Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) who goes into jail because of his other notorious acts previously. He’s such a cool guy that during the trial he shows how his hooker girlfriend gave him a blow job. Then he gets acquainted with life sentence. DNA test, hello? So if that ringed the bell in your ears during that scene then it’s pretty much going to be the same story as that of mine during climax.

During climax they find a truly extraordinary revelation called DNA test and guess what Kenny Waters gets free to go. Of course not before some so called drama which doesn’t evoke any sympathy for him. Even a tele commercial about DNA testing could have been done more interesting.

So let’s see what all were the irritating parts of the movie. That strip tease in bar by Kenny. Oh man, you might be cool but that’s just not cool enough. He gets into all sorts of mischief trying to get out of constantly fighting parents. His sister adores her because he had saved her many a time. So she finally sacrifices her life and gets Kenny out of jail. Wohoo! Now that’s a story.

Ok her daughter was hot, but not before Betty (Hilary Swank) spoils my looking at her by saying that her dad would have been dead by now if Massachusetts law had capital punishment. Now you see the evidence I was talking about in the beginning?

Not willing to waste any credit for it, she gets a friend she doesn’t deserve, she has twin boys where one asks other whether they’d do that, she nails a police woman for being fraud. And what’s best, there is one policeman who says he actually liked Kenny. With the horror everyone undergoes in jail, here is a guy who fools around policemen and prisoners alike. For a change he should be put in jail instead of Edward Norton in American History X, to know what jail really is.

If all this is not enough, in climax you get to hear the data of people released after DNA test and the second someone’s killer seemed to have never been found out. Oh, what a pity!

Kenny might have escaped the life sentence but it sure was a capital punishment for us.

 

Apappa

I don’t know how many have the experience of reading a biography of a person whom you hadn’t known. I don’t know how many have the experience of reading a biography without knowing that you are going to read one. I don’t know how many of you had combined to do both together. Unfortunately, I answer my questions. I was the one who did both. Now it scares me even more, I’ve exhausted my book shelf with only Mr. Obama’s biography pending. I don’t know how I’m going to read about a person about whom I don’t have much opinion.

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For a change I read the preface of the book first, I don’t know why, but I did. I don’t know why I’m using so many ‘I don’t’ know’s’ here. Anways, the preface didn’t get me excited. I first of all didn’t know who Mr. Naidu was. Yes, damn me. And the fact that it’s going to be a biography like that of a son narrating, didn’t help.

Actually the only success of the book was how effortlessly the viewpoint changed from that of Sivasankari to Appa. She had written the preface in first person’s point of view. And in the first chapter as soon as the narrator says ‘Appa uyarnthavar’ and all that, I could immediately imagine a guy narrating a story. That was beautifully done. But narrative wise, nothing great.

  1. D. Naidu was supposed to be a mischievous child who burnt a barn and threw sand on his teachers face. These two incidents were brilliant and could have added interest to a story but as it’s said from his son’s point of view we don’t get to know the details of it, rather than a line or two. I guess that’s where the son telling story becomes a drawback.

In spite of that there were a lot of incidents like the one where he servers his guest with ‘vepan kotai’ sambar. That was hilarious. And he handing out his assets was outrageously awesome. All these great moments were told only in few words and only fatherly advises were given more importance. May be what Sivasankari asked in the epilogue was correct. I guess Naidu’s son would have been feeling guilty that he couldn’t understand his dad much.

His fatherly deeds to be quite honest were irritating, in spite of Naidu’s son telling a million times that that generation was different, this generation is different. Also all his daddy talks were like ‘Daddy’ in Varanam Ayiram. After a point it was funny. I don’t know why, for some reason I’m getting more irritated by him than the writer who wrote it in this way.

With someone as charismatic as G. D. Naidu (from what I know only through this book), one could have done something like Wolf of the Wall Street. But sadly Sivasankari is no Scorsese.

Pork Chops

I thought I titling it as Bon Appetite as it’d sound a little classier but for some reason Pork chops looks the apt title.

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The opening of the film sets the tone on the place. It doesn’t do a ‘Manhattan’ but it’s not Manhattan to do a ‘Manhattan’. It’s Angamaly, so they do a perfect Angamaly Diaries, the title cards were not subtitled in the theatre I watched. Whether it was missed or there were no subtitles at all I don’t know. But as I couldn’t read Malayalam, the only English words that caught my attention was Angamaly. There were various ways it was used right from hoardings to name plates to store names to bus route to everything. And needless to say, food… hmm lip smacking it was. I guess majorly beef was shown out there but the whole film deals with pork. Don’t know whether my eye to identify meat had gone this bad. My bad!

If people who had watched the movie without knowing anything, they’d have thought it would be a culinary treat. On the contrary, it was not in the mainstream level. But we do get to see a lot of food, talks about food and making of food. Those were great moments.

I don’t know whether it’s the Premam and food effect or Malayalam cinema and food effect. It’s just some rich lip smacking retreat. Great to watch. Now I’ll never miss a chance to go to Angamaly if I visit Ernakulam and more than that I’d never miss an opportunity to eat pork chops, in what’s that shop? Jacobs? Oh boy, I should go eat, pork the first thing.

The film takes tones of various films but prime suspects would be City of God and Premam. The former might be intentional, I’m assuming it to be so as the director had already made a movie with that name and his affinity towards gangster films is quite evident. The opening scenes were very similar to favelas and chicken in City of Good. If it was Favela there, it was Angamaly here, if it was chicken there, it was pork here. We get to see a lot of slaughtering too. Thanks to CBFC, the director couldn’t dare to share the whole one. It’d have been lovely to see one though. The next thing I don’t know whether the food part was taken from Premam, it was done subtler there, also the fight scenes where he takes steps first and the pre interval scene, all reminded me a lot of Premam. You can easily take that song out, put Kalipu and get an equal amount of awesomeness, if not more. But I’m not entirely sure whether it was due to directors liking of Premam or the Premam effect on me on its just plain simple Kerala.

The movie’s tone slightly changes from its rustic bloody standpoint to underlying humor every now and then. If the guy in scooter gives you a serious tone, the guy in bus drinking liquor defies it, if the team who come to see them a serious tone, the teacher slapping the guy for stealing python defies it. So it takes you a while to define the film which defies a particular genre without really knowing which path it’d take. The scene is followed by a great bar fight and the introduction of hero, ‘Jesus’. Kartharae… cigarette kudu. Lol. Excuse me for not taking their names, it’s not really easy to remember all of them. Trust me!

Once it goes to flashback, we tend to forget that we were left hanging in the middle. I don’t know how the directors achieve that, making us completely forget the first few minutes of a movie. So when the red scooter shot appears in the movie, everyone was damned. Damn it!

The movies story is similar to that of many unimposing movies that we’d have watched. Hero worship, jobless people, crime, blood etc. But the take here is different. These people don’t take violence too seriously and they themselves know their range. Every time a fight happens, you see Rajan getting irritated with is Brother-in-law, rather than supporting him blindly, he doesn’t involve in a fight as Pepe takes goods from him. But he’s the same guy who throws bomb in his shop. So it’s all a matter of living. They could easily apologize and take a 10ml. I again had a confusion with that. Did you guys seriously think it was a 10ml, I thought it would definitely be a ‘Small’. If not correct that camera angle Lijo Jose, you’ve an experienced campaigner speaking.

These people go to their home and take care of family, they roam at nights, they carry on with their work. Thank god the jeep which crossed Lichie (the only name that I could remember, thanks to the nice little explanation) and Pepe didn’t have a goon hitting them. It’s that liberty they had with their lives. They are not constantly threatened. They live their life too in a fulfilling manner.

What was the best scene for you? For me it’d be the scene where Pepe takes her sister to church and his mind voices. That was totally me, may be totally us. I laughed my hell out inside.

P.S: Don’t go in with a hungry stomach

P.S.S: Is Pepe’s sister the one who appears in Premam? Who sits in the row in front of George’s gang (Damn Premam) I found both the ladies equally pretty though.