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Salesh Dipak Fernando

Tag: MOVIE REVIEW Page 1 of 3

Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu – MOVIE REVIEW

 

Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t hear much about the film when it came out. There was no warning or the usual critically acclaimed label to warrant a watch on the big screen. There was a positive buzz but nobody screamed that it was an outstanding film. Baiju caught me off guard. 

It was simple, sweet and soul-stirring. I would even call it the best Malayalam of the year so far.  For starters, Baiju’s experiences aren’t alien.  Baiju’s life is a perfect ode to those unfulfilled wishes we have within ourselves. It is an ideal representation of the pauses we yearn for ourselves. In short, we all aspire to be in Baiju’s shoes at one point or another.

There’s no rush or commotion as we travel along with Baiju and his quirky group of friends. It is almost as if Baiju has a lot of time in his hands to cherish the inherent simplicity of life. To the naked eye, Baiju is an overgrown man who thrives on nostalgia. But there’s more to this tale than what meets the eye. There’s a simple soul which effortlessly lives it up. You don’t need a lot of to keep you happy.  Just a simple existence where you don’t have to fit in with the rest of the participants will do just fine.

Baiju’s world explores how affinity to a particular place can instil a sense of belonging and togetherness to members of a particular community. The place becomes a part of their identity. The place becomes a part of their daily existence.  The place and the person are inseparable. As kids, we all had that one place which we loved visiting again and again. The memories remain fresh even to this day.

Baiju’s world thrives on these memories. This is one film which I didn’t want to end. Do yourself a favour this weekend.  If you have nothing else to do live Baiju’

 

TARAMANI – MOVIE REVIEW

Taramani – A film which I loved and hated all at once. A film which starts off with great promise but falls way short of being one of those memorable love stories which we will cherish forever.

Ram gets his women right which deserves a huge round of applause but he gets his men horribly wrong which sort of nullifies the joy that we get from celebrating the imperfections of the women on-screen. The men are half boils who don’t deserve to exist.

The first half sets it up so beautifully but the second half goes on and on and on until it exhausted me. You know your destination is Taramani and board your mode of transport in the hope of reaching there soon but the driver travels the entire city before reaching Taramani instead of opting for the shortest route.

The problem with Taramani is that it deviates too much from the central conflict with too many sub plots which convey too many things all at once.

I find it hard to understand why our creators find it very difficult to write roles where you don’t have to pull down the characters from one gender to elevate the other gender. Why can’t the cry for an equal footing translate on screen too? 

Yuvan’s music is soulful though I am not a big fan of the composer rendering most of his songs. Sreekar Prasad could have done a better job by chopping off scenes which stretch endlessly. The cinematography by Theni Easwar is eye catching. Ram’s voice overs pack a punch where he is brutally honest regarding the things that matter to him.

Andrea gets a meaty role and does a decent job. The debutant Vasanth Ravi tries to do what he can to salvage a half baked character sketch.

The second half screams self-indulgence and that’s where it falls way short of what it could have been. Ram the director impresses in parts but is largely unsure of the journey he wants to undertake. 

Taramani is a plausible decent one-time watch – Nothing more nothing less.

LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA – MOVIE REVIEW

 

 I would love to say LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA a great film but it ends up being yet another plausible film which is saved by a great cast and good performances.

Oh yes, the conflicts that arise when a woman yearns for sex does evoke interest especially when you see it in four different dimensions but after a point, it goes on and on ultimately leading to a finale where the conflict remains as it is without a proper closure. It is as if the creators opted for a safe landing when there was an option to go all out

All the 4 ladies do their best to elevate the film. It is always a pleasure to see Ratna Pathak and Konkana Sen Sharma perform. Ratna Pathak earns the viewer’s empathy as the older woman. Her role is an echo of how the Indian society views sex. It is almost a taboo to yearn for sex irrespective of how badly your body needs it.

If the film had replicated the execution of Ratna Pathak’s portion it would have been one of those spectacular films that we would be raving about. But it falls well short

But kudos for the thought process which alone makes it a worthy one time watch. But lipstick didn’t give me a sense of fulfillment like Parched did. Parched was a complete film.

You don’t settle for a moan when there is an option of screaming in pleasure. But lipstick Under My Burkha is just a moan.

 

 

WONDER WOMAN – MOVIE REVIEW

 

Wonder Woman : Ah! Here she is. Finally we have a super heroine who can give the men in the Super Hero World a run for their money. What a long wait it had been. But the good news is Wonder Woman is here to stay.

I have still not forgiven Marvel for the way it used Black Widow as a mere prop. But then you can’t blame Marvel their Universe is always jolly good fun and doesn’t stretch your imagination.

DC on the other hand consistently haunts you with the Why question. The dark, brooding nature of their world might even make you uncomfortable. These features were very much visible in other DC films too but sadly those films were marred by a shoddy narration. But in Wonder Woman it works admirably well as a whole. The captain of the ship Patty Jenkins hits the sweet spot as far as the Why’s are concerned.

The narration itself is divided into 3 parts – The Origin, the Amalgamation and the Revelation.

The origin takes us back to the roots – The fear of the mother who takes up the role of safeguarding her kid isn’t too far fetched. But how long will you safeguard the warrior princess from finding her actual purpose? You can’t hide from your destiny for too long. The origin focuses on the questions that haunt both the mother and the child.

The Amalgamation focuses on how wonder woman becomes one among the human beings without losing her actual identity. She sees the world like a new born kid. There is curiosity and innocence as she transforms into a warrior princess. Respect and Acceptance follows as she finds love in the unlikeliest of circumstances

The Revelation focuses on giving Wonder Woman the answers to the questions that haunted her in the beginning. It is here she finds out who she actually is and fulfills her purpose.

Each of the three phases is marked by some wonderful action set pieces.  I especially loved the sequences where she surprises both the audience and her co-actors by taking charge of proceedings. She goes full throttle without holding back to give us a breathtaking experience. And the background score that wonder woman’s surge is truly breathtaking.   

 The innocence that is sprinkled throughout the first half is heart-warming as Wonder Woman wears the mask of a curious kid until the action shifts to the war zone and it fits her very well. But once the action begins the narration is inconsistent but I can happily forgive the flaws for one reason – Gal Gadot.

Gal Gadot is a treat to sore eyes. Much like the film itself Gadot is inconsistent but her charming screen presence makes up for the flaws. Whenever the film threatens to fall flat Gadot’s irresistible aura gives the film the elevation it deserves. I couldn’t blink even for a single moment. Her eyes speak a different language. They hypnotize, mesmerize, haunt you and taunt you. Chris Pine too plays second fiddle with enthusiasm

Marvel doesn’t give you the space to question a character’s moral stand for there’s hardly any time for questions as you drown yourself in their world of escapism. But DC keeps it raw, real, gritty and dark and it’s a refreshing diversion atleast for me. The inconsistencies didn’t seem to matter at all.

I especially loved the closure which is filled with love and hope. As someone who is eternally in love with the emotion called love I found it enchanting. It is personal gratification of a different kind.

 Patty Jenkins doesn’t scream woman empowerment but throws subtle hints at what a truly empowered woman could do. The good news she’s already been signed on for the sequel.

  Go watch Wonder Woman on the big screen to cherish the Super Heroine we richly deserve.

 

BAIRAVAA – MOVIE REVIEW

Before starting the review I would like to apologize to Atlee. I thought Theri was a plausible film but after watching Bairavaa even building a temple for Atlee wouldn’t be a bad idea. Bairavaa isn’t a film it’s the mandatory “in your ears” torture that Vijay dishes out every Pongal. Remember Jilla anyone? Thankfully there is no Ajith film to compete or else I would have to sit through 2 films following the same template.

I thought Vijay’s hideous wig would be an exception and the film would more than make up for it. But instead the wig turns out to be a warning sign which screams “ It’s coming for you please run for your lives”. I am not against Hero Worship films but a whole lot of hero worship films tend to undermine the intellectual ability of the audience. It’s easy money minted by re-hashing a beaten to death template.

I want to highlight the good points in the film for there are quite a few but I refrain for that would mean celebrating mediocrity again. Perhaps we are at fault too including yours truly. We showed them that the fate of the film could be decided in three days. We showed them we would turn up for a star film on the first day irrespective of how good or bad the film is.

But you know what pissed me the most.  Vijay the star almost always delivers when pitted against a worthy opponent but here the villains are merely present in physical form. They just don’t turn up. How long can sit through a film where the hero repeatedly tries to be the only saving grace of a sinking film.

Oh wait I haven’t discussed the story as yet. I would love too if there is one. There’s a message which is conveyed but I see it more as a flimsy excuse to make up a story. The lack of intent in delivering the message in the right format is very much visible.

Bharathan if your only intent was to prove Vijay’s earlier films were better. You succeeded admirably well. Tomorrow is Bogi I wish Tamil Cinema burns all the beaten to death Hero Template movies and makes a fresh start.

My Verdict – Skip it even if you are a Vijay fan. Your star is capable of much better films.

Rating 1/5   

 

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DEAR ZINDAGI – MOVIE REVIEW

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Dear Zindagi is one of the few Bollywood films which gets it’s title just right.  A big fat thank you to Gauri Shinde for making me fall in love with Shah Rukh again. Having adored him over the years I yearned for that one film which would help me re-discover my bond with the star.  Dear Zindagi is that film.

Dear Zindagi doesn’t overwhelm you with grandeur and star power. The only intention of Dear Zindagi to stir your soul with it’s inherent simplicity and the movie does that without too much fuss. While English Vinglish had  Sridevi who mesmerized us all with an astonishing comeback here it is Alia Bhatt who steals the show with her desperation and her vulnerability. The usual cuteness that epitomizes Alia Bhatt is there too in case you are looking for the chirpy version of our leading lady

The movie is a gutsy effort for a simple film might not be everybody’s cup of tea. But Shinde takes a gamble with a female protagonist and highlighting something which is rarely discussed in the public forum- TAKING CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. Not everybody bares it all. There’s a fear of isolation within each of us which makes us hide our fears, scars and insecurities. Dear Zindagi puts it out in the open asking us to let go of our fears.

I come back to Shahrukh again. It is absolutely delightful to see a star let of his aura and play the part with conviction. An understated subdued portrayal which hits the right notes.

Amit Trivedi’s music is a treat to our ears and Laxman Utekar’s lens gives us a calm, breezy Goa

Kudos to Gauri Shinde for giving us a sweet, feel good film to re-assure us once again that life is a gift to be cherished and treasured

Go for it if you like light, delightful, feel good films.

My Verdict 4/5

KAVALAI VENDAM – MOVIE REVIEW

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Kavalai Vendam – Another attempt to mint money at the box office by making a mindless comedy entertainer. The sad part it remains merely an attempt. Why do the makers find it so difficult to go all out? Are we not mature enough to embrace a proper adult comedy?

The problem with KV is that the movie tries to be too many things all at once. I loved Yamiruka Bayamen. But Kavalai Vendam despite the technical finese didn’t hold my attention long enough to give it a thumbs up. The first half is watchable with the entire cast having some fun and some genuine laugh out loud moments.

But once the second half begins the movie drags on and on testing your patience. The joie de vevre towards the end seems more like an excuse than an actual conclusion. I guess Jiva is the Sandra Bullock of Kollywood Jiva is an actor with so much potential and promise who gets these mundane rotten scripts. In Kavalai Vendam too he is plausible and shines wherever possible

 RJ Balaji, Balasaravanan and Mailsamy have their moments but those are very few. Mailsamy in particular is one of the few redeeming factors of the film. Bobby Simha seems so eager to prove that Jigarthanda was more of an exception than a norm.

As for the heroines I rephrase Bala Saravanan’s lines in the film ” Ellame nut kalanda madiri”. Need I say more. Better luck next time Deekay. Another weekend where Tamil Cinema sinks further. My verdict. Definitely not my first choice movie for the weekend. But I leave the choice to you

 

DOCTOR STRANGE – MOVIE REVIEW

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The last time I fell in love with a hero was when Vijay Sethupathi appeared on screen. The list has expanded today. Rajnikanth, Vijay Sethupathi and now Benedict Cumberbatch.

Dr Strange is nothing but a marriage of the Matrix and the Batman Begins. Ideally this marriage should not work for we have seen it before in endless movies which challenge time and space. But it works because you have a sincere charismatic hero and some stunning imagery.

The two components which more than make up for a wafer thin script. I can understand why the critics find it underwhelming because this movie challenges the conventions of a Marvel Movie and gives us a feeling of sameness.

The one thing which put me off was Rachael McAdams such a talented actress wasted in a minuscule role. Is she a mandatory fit in or a lucky charm for Movies dealing with the concept of time?

But Doctor Strange has re-written the casting rules of the Marvel Universe. For the first time Marvel can actually experiment an ensemble movie without the presence of Iron Man. A possible Iron Man vs Dr Strange face off perhaps. The prospect looks enticing.Mr Tony Stark you have finally met your match

Despite the flaws this is one movie where you can say let the critics be damned and watch the movie to drool over Benedict Cumberbatch. The man deserves it. Welcome aboard Dr Strange the Marvel Universe needs you. Strictly on the big screens only if possible in IMAX.

Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada – Movie Review

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Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada – What do you do when a creator’s vision is hindered by constraints beyond his control. Do you forgive the lapses and praise the director’s self indulgence or do you dismiss it as trash. I would have left it alone if it was a one off misstep.

I desperately want to say Gautham Vasudev Menon is back with a bang but he flatters to deceive yet again. Gautam Menon as a director left me unimpressed with Nithya and Sathyadev. Both his earlier films felt more like an ode to himself. So I walked into the movie hall hoping that it would be a fresh start. Unfortunately the genre switch doesn’t work at all.

Despite the flaws I have never regretted watching a GVM film. But AYM made me regret like never before. A tired non committal hero and a fresh heroine never make an enticing pair at all.

Simbhu is an enigma. How else would you justify a talented star losing his way in one mediocre movie after another? He makes an attempt in Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada but the aura of young star is missing. It is one of his better roles but somehow the execution was shallow and left a lot to be desired. Manjima deserved a better partner to light up the screen.

A director’s style should lure you. But Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada tires you with two contrasting halves. Hopefully this is the last of Gautham’s obsession with voice overs too.

The flaw with today’s film makers is self indulgence. We already know you have made a great film before. We have watched it and applauded. What is the purpose of re-cycling it again and again? No recycling and no references please. We are exhausted

But my biggest disappointment was the way a killer soundtrack was wasted in a mediocre film. An ARR special is like gold dust. If only the director’s vision was in alignment with the soul stirring music we might have had a better film. Better luck next time GVM. This is the third time i am repeating this line for a GVM film. Desperately hoping that i dont repeat it again. AYM – Wait for the DVD.

My Rating 2/5

KAASHMORA – MOVIE REVIEW

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Kaashmora – The trailer fooled me or should I say fooled us – I wasn’t expecting an old wine in a new bottle but unfortunately that’s what Kaashmora is. It is a pale amalgamation of Arundhathi and all those historical movies we have seen over the years and a supernatural element which made me WTF. Just how many horror – comedy will the makers churn out. It is tiring, repetitive and boring. Horror is supposed to excite you and give you chills. The Horror comedy movies these days are like sleeping pills.

Ivlo thana idhai naanga vasantha maligailai pathotum that is the sense of deju vu you get after Kaashmora. You don’t cut scenes from different films and make it into one whole. The sad part is you have a hero who gives it his all. Karthi is at his explosive best in the pre-interval sequences that you almost sit up in hope. Post Interval the script once again meanders towards mediocrity.

And let me add that Nayanthara is only playing a guest role so don’t walk into the cinema hall hoping to drool over Nayanthara you will be in for a disappointment.

I loved Rowthram and Idharkuthane Asaipatai Balakumara. Both were mounted on a fairly simple premise and worked big time. But here the grandeur is out of place. Kaashmora to me is a hurriedly shot montage which falls shot of what it is supposed to be.

Raghava Lawrene thank you for re-introducing the horror- comedy genre but please do something to stop this idea from reverberating again and again. we will be grateful. Kaashmora isn’t too bad a film but you will miss nothing if you skip it.

 

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