Lazy sunday, had two movies to choose from. Kerala Cafe, the latest malayalam multi-starrer, or Pazhassi Raja, the multi-‘crore’r historical saga.
Well, personally not interested in spending 2.5 hours over a movie in which the final outcome is certain. (The Raja shouts, fights, horse-rides. Finally, the Indian allies betray the Raja and he gets killed by the British. Replace ‘The Raja’ with any king you have learnt about in history text books, and the plot is the same.) Whats the point? Superb special effects, sound recording and originality? Thanks, but no thanks. What, creating history awareness and celebrating our culture? Oh please!
So, Kerala Cafe was the chosen flick. One movie, with ten sub-movies/short films, each lasting 10-12 minutes each. Attempted for the first time in Malayalam.
< Spoiler Alert >
The movie starts off with Nostalgia starring Dileep, and the plot dealing with an NRI mindset. Considering Dileep’s other recent releases, this gets a 7 upon 10. Good for a start.
The next is Island Express, starring Prithviraj (of course, Jayasurya accompanies) and others. Confusing at first, a superb ending gives it 8 upon 10. Really into the movie now.
Suresh Gopi’s Lalitham Hiranmayam comes next. Er, bad concept for a Malayalam movie and bad screenplay. Can’t get boring in just ten minutes, but still, bad. 5 upon 10.
Of course, ten sub-movies, one of them had to deal with a horror theme. Well, Mrithyunjayam could have just not been there. It is just there, as if for the sake of bringing in a horror theme in the movie. An old mansion with ugly figures popping out randomly and doing ‘booo-hah-got-you’ stopped scaring me years back. Cliched, childish and boring. 4 upon 10.
Happy Journey featuring Jagathi Sreekumar is the pick of the first half. Close second being Island Express) Simple theme, well presented, with of course, awesome acting as usual by Jagathi Sreekumar. 8 upon 10.
The second half starts with Aviramam, starring Siddhique. Well, something looked missing. This one about recession could have been presented, er, differently I guess. 6 upon 10.
Shyamaprasad then brings across Off Season, with Suraaj Venjaramood in the lead. Starts off really well and raises expectations, but goes downhill fast. There could have been more creativity in the only light-hearted subject of the lot. 6 upon 10 again.
Bridge, by director Anwar Rasheed, is beautiful. Really different from his earlier ‘masala’ movies (Rajamanickam, Chota Mumbai, Annan Thambi), this one stands out in the second half. 8 upon 10. Salim Kumar looks fine for the role and the old lady impresses.
Revathy’s movie Makal, relating to child trafficking, carried a lot of expectations, and manages to come out ok. This one could have been presented better too. But I still haven’t figured out what the first scene of this one had to do with the rest of it. Hmm? 7 upon 10.
The last one being Lal Jose’s Puram Kazhchakal, starring Mammootty and Srinivasan. This one does not bring any fireworks, but is good. The general tone built up for the twist at the end is good, and the twist does not let the build-up down. 8 upon 10.
The point was to make all the stories linked to a common theme, namely Kerala Cafe, a railway canteen. The link could have been better, considering the emphasis given to it. Certain scenes in some stories appear forced to show something just to relate to the link. Overall, my man of the match would be Anwar Rasheed. Good work with Bridge!
Though not very original in concept, this of course deserves special applause in the present Malayalam film scenario full of cliched plots and flops after flops. Go and watch the movie! One of the better Malayalam releases of the year!