Category: indian movie reviews

Naalu Pennungal (Four Women) by master filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan is a story retold with restraint about the struggles of women within Kerala homes between the 1940s and ’60s. The movie is comprised of four vignettes: of women in different social roles – the prostitute, the virgin, the housewife, and the spinster. A fragmented narrative that allows Adoor a kind of liberating space in terms of story-telling. The movie has no linear plot, and staves off closure in different ways, giving the director freedom to explore women’s differing positions under different times and in different social strata in Kerala society. Quartet of tales, profiling a domestic/sexual dilemma suffered by women in subservient positions, tend toward repetition while stoking similar thematic points, and extending any one of these to feature length, particularly the finale starring Nandita Das, would have been a smarter option.

The first part of the film is sub-titled ‘Oru Niyamalankhanathinte Kadha’ which means ‘Story of a prostitue’. The woman in this part is Kunjipeenu (Padmapriya) who plays the role of a sex worker who later chooses to live by working as a road worker. The storyline later moves on to what happens when Kunjipennu at last finds someone who loves her dearly and who wants to lead a life with her, as her husband.It portrays how the society treats such women even if they have decided to live in good lines in one part of their life. The story predictably has an ironical ending where the couple is separated and punished for aspiring to build their future together without any official sanction. But, the sweet gist of the story lies in the portion that shows the intimate relationship between the couple, where they discuss their wage or their dream of having a roof on their heads.

The heroine in “The Virgin” is a business-savvy young woman whose parents arrange a match with a man whose reputation in business is her equal. The viewer wouldn’t expect how the husband’s business skills affect their marriage (although the title provides a hint). The changing phase of the society is depicted when the friends of the bride-to-be demand that the girl should have a look at the prospective groom before disclosing her decision.

The third part of the film named ‘Chinnu Amma’ is about the life of Chinnu (Manju Pillai) who does not have children in her life. She is a naive yet strong lady trying to protect(or prevent) herself from commiting a sin.

The fourth story Nityakanyaka is about Kamakshi, a girl from an affluent family, who remains a spinster even after her younger sisters and younger brother get married and live with their families. The plight of Kamakshi and the way society sees her and the way she reacts to the responses of those around her forms the plot. The story of this character occupies the longest space, but compared to others, this is the meekest of all. This is also the story that remains fresh in our minds long after we leave the theatre, maybe because it is the last one to roll out in the sequence of stories. It is also the most conventional and stereotypical story of the lot.

The cinematography was by M.J Radhakrishnan and he has succeeded in bringing the raw realities of life on to screen. The director lets the characters play out scenes instead of prodding their movements. The editing, art-work, sound recording, costume-designing and the background score make the film stand out.

The helplessness and vulnerability of the fairer sex, the inherent strength they have, and the vicissitudes of Fate to which women often fall prey in a male dominated society are some of the issues that get discussed in Naalu Pennungal.



Haneyl Jacob : 

Ending the first day at the film festival with all it’s glory, Kanasemba Kudureyaneri was shot on the outskirts of Bijapur in the southern Indian State of Karnataka, and follows the life of a grave-digger, Irya (Vaijanath Biradar), and his wife, Rudri (Umashree). Literally eking a living off the dead, Irya worships, Siddha, the messenger of death who appears in his dream every time  someone in the village dies. Alerted about the death of the old landlord, Gowda (Akki Chennabasappa), Irya begins to prepare the grave. But he is faced with a difficulty when Gowda’s caretaker, Mathadayya (Sadashiv Brahmavar), denies that his master is dead. Irya and Rudri begin to worry about the dreams going wrong, and their lives get even more depressing.

Vaijanath, a popular comedian in the Kannada film industry shows his audience another dimension to his acting persona. Also accompanying him is veteran actress Umashree who plays a sweet yet powerful role as Irya’s wife, Rudri. The film is a brilliant study of “Faith” in rural India and how one’s beliefs change when tempted with troubles. It also depicts how one person’s dreams can paint guilt on another‘s life, which eventually turns out to be his nightmare, as in the case of Mathadayya. Kasaravalli draws a moving comparison between Irya’s righteous principles and those of the landlord’s rich son, Shivanna (Shivaranajan), who callously leaves the father’s corpse to rot while he completes his main priority — a long business engagement.

Girish Kasaravalli’s Riding the Dreams (Kanasemba Kudureyaneri)  is a perfect example of the finest Indian movies up to date where the Director analyzes every bit of the storyline and decides to experiment in a non – linear narration. It’s not surprising that Kasaravalli’s movies aren’t box – office successes, considering the type of crowd that could grasp a movie like Kanasemba Kudureyaneri, undaunted in the face of the current item song/ Bollywood generation of movie watchers in India.


lakers fans ?

Salt n’ Pepper is a great love story but could’ve been much better.

The story revolves around a bachelor (kalidasan played by lal) and bachelorette (Maya played by shwetha menon), both quite aged, and trying to work up a relationship. Both of them live life as it comes, enjoying it, you could say event-driven in a manner. Things aren’t as simple as it seems. Both have good reason to be not married. They both have certain complexities that govern what they think of themselves and what others should think of them, thereby not preventing them from taking the initiative to start working on a relationship. But fate in the form of “great food” creates the necessary spark to ignite the flame of a relationship.
Food is something you will see a lot in this movie. The idea is to live life to enjoy its flavors and experiences. The two leads end up meeting by phone when Maya ends up calling kalidasan’s number thinking it was a restaurant’s delivery number. And then begins the flame. The relationship grows, as they both start cooking recipes.
But things get a little harder as when it gets time to meet in person, they send their younger relatives as substitutes to do some recon work. The subs fall in love (not knowing their real identities) and block the older couple’s relationship from continuing.  The rest of the story revolves around how the flame is reignited and overcoming self-doubt.

The good:
The dialogues and writing is well done.
Story, though slightly predictable, had a few surprises along the way.
The character development is excellent, and acting by lal and swetha menon is perfect. They were perfectly cast .Pretty much every actor, even the supporting cast brings a whole lot to the table.
Asif Ali plays the nephew of kalidasan who plays the substitute, he has really developed in his acting skills, his character is supposed to represent the pre-adult post-college days and along with Maya’s younger substitute creates an example for young age relationships that probably won’t go very well.
The editing and direction are also great and feels completely fresh .
This movie has one of the best opening credits of all time 😀

The bad:
The young couple (the subs for kalidasan and Maya) get way too much screen time, nobody want to see their relationship work, and we even have to see a lame romantic song involving the 2, when we know that both of them just wont work in any sense (she’s smart, he’s an idiot, it’s that smart girl falling for the really dumb guy relationship). It’s not bad per say, but it feels like it just wastes time , all the audience wants to see is lal and swetha.
The movie felt really short, and was ended way too fast. The ending is a music video, which should be in the credits. (Old people got frustrated)

overall:  7.5 / 10 or   B

It’s a good movie, for having a great time with friends. Older people might find this quite boring.  Do not be surprised if you feel hungry 5 minutes into the movie .


Bombay march 12 is an almost documentary-like drama that needs to be noticed for the message it’s trying to tell.  Its screenplay is setup from different time periods in the story, so it may be a little hard for common folk to keep a track off. So if you want to have a fun time at the movies on the weekends, this movie is not for you.

The movie is directed by the script writer for the movie “city of god”, so you can expect the same form of story telling, with bits and pieces of the story being showing to you, and forming a complete picture only by the end of the movie.
The movie tries desperately to show the injustice provided to Muslims   from society because of certain terrorists. The various treacherous tactics used to recruit new young terrorists are also discussed here.
The script writing and acting by the leads is excellent.
Mammoty is excellent in his portrayal of 2 different characters played by the same person. Even the supporting cast helps set the atmosphere as a serious movie that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Though the movie is interesting, its flaws are in the screenplay department.  There is way too much re-usage of footage that you will get a little tired of seeing the scenes more than once.
Stories of 3 characters are told, and how their lives are interconnected, so expect to see scenes repeated more than thrice.
The movie has some great suspenseful atmosphere, at some parts, but most of the time, the story is just trying to push itself to the finale.
The climax is where the movie gets really interesting, and leaves you wishing to see the sequel.
(Yes! a sequel is in store for this one)
the background score too is quite sad though I think that was the intention.

Overall rating:  7/10 or B-

This is strictly an award category film, but has hints of a future sequel that keeps me interested.

Review – Dum Maaro Dum.

Let me begin my review of this movie with my condolences to Deepika Padukone's family on the loss of their daughter's roles. 

           "Dum Maaro Dum" is a miserable cocktail of love(Affairs, as I see them), drama and sex. Well, okay, if you count a gun fight in a market as an action scene, okay, it may be called an action movie too. We'll begin with the acting. 90 percent of the movie goes on expression deprived faces. All the actors in the movie are just paid to stand there and read from a piece of paper. But I guess that comes with drugs. Abhishek Bachan does a good job, no doubt. His expressions in the movie makes him worth the money they spent. Zoe, played by Bipasha Basu, does drugs and has affairs. Why she feels the sudden need for getting back with Joki, played by Rana Dagubati is completely senseless and is not explained in the movie at all. Joki, btw, also is expressionless and spends most of his screen time running, screaming and singing. 

          Next comes the story and direction. The story is completely made on a "We're broke. We need a movie" basis. The chances that Joki passes right in front of Kamath(Abhishek) is just plain stupid and clearly shows how bollywood's run out of ideas to execute a movie. And you would think a place like Goa has at least a little police attention in at least one of the beaches. It just seems like the whole state was on drugs(Also explained by the police force themselves). Abhishekh Bachan decides to stop them all. And the drug lords kill everyone but him. The whole plot feels completely made up. 

          Music - What music? All I heard was Dum Maaro Dum accompanied by Deepika Padukone's child abuse victim face. 

Conclusion - The movie could have been a lot better with a location like Goa. The plot could have given a little more explanation. The plot could at least seem a little believable. 

Score = 2/10.

“Seniors” Malayalam movie review

they've nailed the dress code

I had low expectations for this one . Especially since they premiered the movie in a dump of a theatre . But thankfully the four of the guys  seems to have pulled off a great job , with great help from the director (same guy who made pokiri raja) .

The plot revolves around 4 friends (Jayram,Biju menon ,manoj.k.jayan and kunjacko boban ) , from which  jayrams character apparently killed a girl during his college days , and was sentenced to prison for 12 years . The movie kicks off with the 4 friends reuniting . The other 3 of them seems to have done well in life and are quite rich . Due to jayrams request of wanting to regain his missed college days, the other three agree to rejoin college again and complete their PG degrees .
From there I expected a story similar to most other college flicks , but this one had a really good detective vibe to it .
There was a good amount of guess work from my part to find the actual killer (my brother guessed the killer at his first guess) ,  helped also by a similar murder that happens just a few days after they return to college . That had me intrigued. The ending is actually quite predicable and not surprising , but the build to the ending works well .
The four of theirs antics at college break the tension with some excellent humor . for those of you people who miss their college days , this movie is recommended .

acting wise , from the four , Biju Menons really stood out . he was hilarious . didn’t expect him to be the funiest of the bunch. Manoj. k. jayan also gave out a great performance . The other 2 ,Jayram didnt have any funny lines , and kunjacko seems to have matured as an actor (there is this nice scene where the other 3 make fun of his chocolate boy looks with kunjackos 90’s movie “aniyetthi pravu” music playing in the background). Supporting cast was highly underutilized too , considering that they were all great actors. Suraj does his great slapstick humor to great effect in the second half too .  credit to the script writer for making the dialogues simple .

Audio side could’ve really used some improvement , especially since this is a college movie , i expected feet tapping music.

overall : 8\10
great movie for people , who really miss their friends and college life .
great time for release too , considering most final year students are graduating rite now too .
will make you want to reunite and revisit college after 10 years .