MOVIE REVIEW: CHINATOWN [Malayalam]


Day 3 of my cold. I woke up at 0330 am to see Vishu Kani. Took a shower in the morning and went to the temple. Prayers for a better year ahead and on the way back, I remembered I was to reserve tickets for the family – to watch a Vishu release movie. Choice was limited, only 2 releases this year – Chinatown vs Doubles. Mixed reviews from the previous day, but Chinatown seemed to have edged over Doubles. So I went forth and booked for the second show.

Come evening, getting into the Archana – Aradhana theatre was hectic. The first show was JAM PACKED in both theatres. Feelings of  ‘Oh, this might just be worth it!’. With a sundae in hand, I sat amongst my cousins, surprised at the amount of family crowd that was out there for a 9pm second show.. either the Vishu effect or the 3 names this movie was riding on – Dileep, Mohanlal and Jayaram. [I go for the latter!]

An Aashirvad Cinemas production [Mohanlal’s], directed by the celebrated Rafi-Mecartin duo, the onus was always gonna be on humor and the humor went through a plateau of phases as the movie progressed.

The movie begins in the beautiful coastal state of Goa, where gambling and Casinos are legal. 4 Malayali friends were running a Casino there and minting money. In the quest for money and power, the local Goonda Mr. Gawda [Pradeep Rawat], murders all 3 of the Mallus, whilst the 4th [Mr. GomezCaptain Raju] survives.

After 25 years, Gomez is back in Goa, purchases a casino and plots revenge on Gawda. He recalls Maathukutty [Mohanlal], Zachariah [Jayaram] and Binoy [Dileep] {Children of his 3 friendsto return to Goa and manage the casino. Maathukutty is known for his avid indulgence in fights and has a number of cases registered against him; while Binoy is a guy who keeps falling in love with girls every 6 months and Zachariah has only one thought all throughout the day = MONEY!

The first half of the movie is filled with umpteen moments where one literally bursts out in laughter at the mimicry, the raw as well as the adult jokes delivered in the script. Jayaram and Dileep deliver comedy with ease, while Mohanlal seems to have lost a bit of his touch.

Kavya Madhavan [Rosamma] alongwith Poonam Bajwa [Emily] and Dipasha [Chandni] form the female trio in the movie. Rose was supposed to marry Maathukutty’s brother, but she eventually falls in love with Maathukutty. Emily is Gomez’ daughter and she pairs up with Zachariah; and Binoy has the hots for the home minister’s daughter – Chandni.

While Kavya has some substance to her role, the other two are merely involved in the merriment. Suraaj Venjarumoodu [Chandran]  as a goonda gives us both the extremes of the good and the bad of humor.

The buildup of the movie until the interval is brilliantly interlaced with humor that is so naturally depicted by all the actors and makes us go for the interval snack with the satisfaction that yes, this movie is gonna be a HIT.

Following the break, the movie does a COMPLETE U TURN to our expectations. The likening to the English movie ‘Hangover’ is strongly felt as the 3 heroes go through varying stages of intoxication as they party all night long leaving the 3 friends in a confused state on what did or didn’t happen the previous night. The sudden complicity of events took a heavy toll on the audience who were enjoying light humor until then. The ugly state of events characterized by the obnoxious Sumo wrestler who spends more screen time than any other in the last one hour, combined with the pathetic dialogues delivered by Dileep  in particular left the audience bewildered and surprised to how quickly the standard of the movie spiralled down!

To cap it all off, Jagathy Sreekumar‘s arrival towards the end of the movie as Jaggu Bhai [the biggest criminal in Goa] – oh well, no one was really bothered to figure that out by then!

Jassie Gift‘s music is foot tapping good as usual, but this will be one movie I will list among my ‘not worth watching 2011’

Kavya Madhavan on twitter: “So China Town..out n out entertainer for relax n watching..Leave ur thoughts n worries in schools n offices n come…..Sit..Relax..n Enjoy”

Final Verdict –  **1|2 out of 5. 

MOVIE REVIEW: GADDAMA خادمة [Malayalam]


Earlier this week after returning from Mangalore, I watched Arjunan Sakshi, but left the theatre disappointed, as the story had so much scope for being moulded into a blockbuster, but somehow the director seems to have missed the plot with the second half losing all the excitement and bite which the movie kicked off with.

To cover up the disappointment of a wasted 40 bucks, I decided to go for Gadamma. A Kamal movie gets its own respect. The movie is expected to carry over nice and easy to the target audience. So I had no second thoughts to catch the movie on the day of its release itself.

In Kamal’s words: “One of the biggest sources of Kerala’s socio-economic boom over the last five decades is the sweat and hardwork of our Marunaadan Malayalees who toil day in and out to earn the daily bread for their family back home. Some get the blame, the abuse if they don’t keep in touch for a bit, but little do Keralites fathom the perils of the NRI! This theme has never been presented in India in any industry, and as a Malayalee, this is the least I can do to convey our gratitude to them”

The movie revolves around a typical Malayalee girl hailing from Palakkad,  Ashwathy [Kavya Madhavan] who due to the financial constraints of her family and the unfortunate death of her husband [Biju Menon] is forced to be the bread earner of the house and opts to go to the gulf [Saudi Arabia]. One of the strictest Arab states in the Middle East, we are very well aware of the difficult living conditions for women, the amount of restrictions they have in life. She is forced to wear a Burkha at all times, and is taken up under a sponsor to work for him as a Maid.

From here on the story pans out into the numerous troubles Ashwathy faces– sexual abuse, battery. Ashwathy is accompanied by Usmaan [Suraaj Venjaarumoodu] who is the car driver at the sponsors. He indulges in a sexual affair with the Indonesian maid there and gets caught and is kicked out of the sponsor’s house. Ashwathy helps the other maid to escape the premises and in turn is battered as punishment.

One fine day, she calls it quits and tries to runaway from the sponsor’s house and in the entire second half of the movie, we see her running into some good and bad people, eventually culminating in a deportation. On a parallel, there is a Malayali social worker [Sreenivasan] who makes an effort to try and identify ‘Unknown Indian’s whose bodies arrive at the mortuary and secure their return back home. In other words, he plays out the role of a helpful social worker, who eventually helps Ashwathy also leave the damned place.

M. Jayachandran does his magic with 2 beautiful songs, though this time I felt maybe a Malayalee singer should have sang the emotional number, ShreyaG’s dictional tone kind of didn’t sync well, but then that is just my opinion 🙂

Final Verdict – 8.0

  • This is not a movie you would list to watch on a weekend after a long tiring week, cause this is no stress buster, and for the fainthearted, well it is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Any household having anything to do with a person in the Gulf, should go watch this. It is so easy to write off saying, ‘Oh, he is in the gulf, look at the wonderful life he is leading’. This movie highlights just one incident as the main, with a few more other small small issues surrounding it, and will help shed a little light on the hardships people face there.
  • No doubt, being born and brought up in the Gulf, I have heard from my mom many times about the hardship my dad faced and I dint have to think twice to go watch this. I am fairly sure everyone also agrees to the different ‘eye’ with which people look at us.
  • Sreenivasan delivers one of the strongest messages in the movie when he states. “If a small shrub is able to grow all alone fighting the scorching heat of the desert, then we as humans can even swallow the bitter pill of a ‘came to the gulf and all went wrong’, to return back home and pretend as if it was all a bad nightmare and start all over again.
  • Kavya Madhavan has carried the character brilliantly. The subtlety with which she expresses the pain and anguish through her eyes alone [in a burkha]; makes your heart go out to her. And to her credit, we can very much say, she is back with a bang.
  • This is surely one movie meant for the middle aged and above and any youngster with something between their ears.

 

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: