Much Ado About Nothing

For a Hollywood-style thriller, Adam Joan’s plot does not cheat the audiance. Something of Black Magic, and a father trying to retrieve his kidnapped daughter and right a wrong. You think interesting? Well, even I did for a few good hours before the screening taking imdb ratings as gospel. Sigh. (The site has two reviews, one not so much a review, apparently.)

Besides, everything director Jinu Abraham dishes out in Adam Joan is so grim, so bland, so filled with indulgences. It will depress the soul out of you.

The plot – well, there is one – is about Adam Joan, a cynical builder who feels having a child before six months into marriage is a bad rap.

Joan is sick to the point that when he eventually comes to know his wife has suffered a maternal death, he comes off as gross. I wouldn’t want to reveal more, eh heck, the less said the better. This a man, as spelt out by the makers, whose only motif in life is to right a wrong.

To Jinu’s credit, there is no scene in Adam Joan wherein Joan questions the moral righteousness of the culprits. This a man whose motivs for revenge is imbued with grief, and the elaborated climax is vindicative of that.

The climax is also no twist and phony suspense cliches, but even worse, grotesque. Not even Prithvi’s stardom which Jinu Abraham exploits to pander to the audiance won’t save Adam John of its blemishes.

Where one shot will suffice, the cinematographer goes for the spectacular shrouding the gothic looking film with grim undertones, and long tracking shots. Much ado about nothing for a movie shot in Scotland.

As for the performances, well they all try. There was a gleam in Prithvi’s eyes in Ezra but that is long gone. Prithvi should be a “paranormal detective” by now, but for that he should get the movie he deserves. A footnote to Ezra, perhaps?

Prithvi has sung a good song by the way, sung with emotions. That’s Prithvi. Committed, diligent. This was one of those days.

Naren plays Syriac, Adam’s friend. Other supporting cast in Adam Joan include Bhavana, Mishti, Lena, Sidharth Siva.

Adam Joan is a film which fails to honor the thriller genre but had plenty of potential. The concept of satan worshipping is noval, but the goings-on does not yield great viewing. Which is dissappointing especially when a cinema fires on all cylinders, and bores you. May be I will relate to Adam some other day, and may be I will hate him even more.

Anyways, a wise man once told some years back – ‘there is no point ruing about the things you cannot get back in life’.

Wish You all a Happy Onam. Indeed.



Pauly Jr. Pictures Presents. Take a Break.

The characters in certain films often imbue a lump in throat and, yet, evokes laughter as well. In Althaf’s directorial debut “Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavdela,” they never seem in and are constantly finding feet.

Early on in “Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavdela,” an ailing member in Kurian Chacko’s family reminds all they should show support. The smiles galore, I say when that happens.

Kurian returns from London when someone fondly calls him and he thinks he is being invited for his own wedding. In one scene early on in Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idaveela we see Kurian eavesdrop his father’s phone call.

While the senior pro is on to a serious conversation, the son is busy imagining his bride clad in a bridal dress. Too soon Chacko family must face the worst.

Funny one moment, bumpy the next and affectionate throughout. Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idaveela is all about togetherness, interdependency, and spending precious little time with family.

A void is felt most of the time when “Appachan,” keeps mute – it seems like the end is overdue for him. However, when a senior pro in Chacko’s (Lal) family ails the others feel the void too, and they try to fill it by showing deep care and a sense of responsibility.

Kurian’s dad gets a home nurse for Appachan named “Yesudas” (hilarious Sharafudheen) and Kurian falls in love briefly with Rachel (Aishwarya Lekshmi).

Althaf is barely a film old with “Njandukalude Naattil Oru Idaveela”. His thoughtful feel-good film is the affectionate equivalent of getting a flying kiss from someone you love.

Althaf’s approach to talk a serious condition like Cancer sensitively deserves kudos, and like all “one member in the family ails the others cares” movies – someone explain the genre – the story works since love is the focal point than the ailment.

We realize the need for love, and know less about Cancer. In that sense Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idaveela is more simple than complex, and more comforting than affecting. For instance, one may replace Cancer with old age, and this film will still work. And, even though there is something amiss about character arc, the performances hold up.

The missing feel is appropriate for a film like “Njndukalude Naatil Oru Idaveela,” since the characters are unsure about what lies ahead. It is superb writing than flaws in characterization.

What a lovely film, and what an affectionate turn from Nivin Pauly. I must say that even though his Kurian is a footnote to the role Nivin essayed in “Jacobinte Swargarajyam,” the message to his core audience is obvious – take a break, take heart come what may and soak into the simplicity called life.

Not for once fazed by the camera, Nivin gives Althaf’s movie an emotional heft. Santhi Krishna is really adorable. The duo last worked in Sakhavu.

Lal, Saiju Kurup, Sharafudheen, Saiju Wilson and Srinda Arhaan round off an ensemble cast. A relatively new face is Ahaana Krishna and she plays Nivin’s sister.

Then there is Althaf (Premam, Sakhavu) in a frame on haflway mark, sitting secretly in a hospital chair and making Kurian Chacko stumble. Probably, that is the director telling his crew I’m here so go slow.

Althaf also dubs a character in Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idaveela, and this film belongs to him. The title is taken from a book, the story comes straight from the heart.

P.S. ഇതിലും നല്ല പടങ്ങൾ സ്വപ്നങ്ങളിൽ മാത്രം. ഇത് കാണുമ്പോൾ ആരും നിങ്ങളുടെ തല തല്ലി പൊളിക്കില്ല. എനിക്കൊരാൾ പടം കണ്ടപ്പോൾ ഉമ്മ തന്നു. തള്ളിയതാ. ഉമ്മ പോയിട്ട് ഇവിടെ ഉപ്പുമാവ് പോലും കിട്ടിയില്ല. ഇഷ്ടപെടാത്ത നാറികൾ പറയും “ആ കൊഴപ്പല്യ”. പടം പോരാ അല്ലേൽ ഇഷ്ടായില്ല എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞു നിങ്ങളെ വെറുപ്പിക്കണ്ട അന്ന് ഹേറ്റേഴ്‌സ് മിണ്ടാതിരുന്നോളും. നിങ്ങളുടെ സ്നേഹമാണ് അവർക്ക് വലുത്. സ്നേഹം. സ്നേഹമാണ് അഖില സാരമൂഴിയിൽ. സ്‌നേഹം വേണം. വേണേയ്.


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ആറന്മുളയുടെ ഐതിഹ്യങ്ങൾ

ഓണം. മലയാളിക്ക് എന്നും പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട ആഘോഷം. സത്യത്തിൽ ആറന്മുളയിൽ ആണ് ഓണാഘോഷം തകൃതിയായി നടക്കുന്നത്.

കറ്റൂരിലെ മഹാവിഷ്ണു ക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ ദീപാരാധന കഴിഞ്ഞു ധാന്യങ്ങളും, പച്ചക്കറികളും, സുഗന്ധ ദ്രവ്യങ്ങളും നിറച്ച പള്ളിയോടങ്ങൾ അഥവാ വള്ളങ്ങൾ വെടിക്കെട്ടിന്റെയും, പ്രാർത്ഥനയുടെയും ഇലഞ്ഞിമേളത്തിന്ടെയും അകമ്പടിയോടെ ഏകദേശം 8 കിലോമീറ്റർ അകലെയുള്ള ആറന്മുള പാർത്ഥസാരഥി ക്ഷേത്രത്തിലേക് പുറപ്പെടുന്നു. കാലാകാലമായി.

ആറന്മുള വള്ളം കളിക്കും, വള്ള സദ്യക്കും പിന്നിൽ എടുത്തു പറയേണ്ടതായ ഒരു ഐതിഹ്യം ഉണ്ട്. നെഹ്‌റു വന്നു പോയപ്പോൾ വള്ളം കളി നടത്തിയതാണ് പുന്നമട കായലിന്റെ പെരുമ. ആറന്മുള ജാതി മത വ്യതാസമില്ലാതെ കർക്കിടകം തീരുവോളും ഓണാഘോഷ പരിപാടികളിൽ ഏർപെട്ടുകൊള്ളുന്നു. അഷ്ടമി രോഹിണിക്കും ഉണ്ട് ആഘോഷം.

പഴമക്കാർ പറഞ്ഞു കേട്ട അറിവേ എനിക്കും ഉള്ളു, മുത്തശ്ശി കഥകൾ പോലെ. കറ്റൂരിലെ മനകളിലെ അംഗങ്ങൾ ഗ്രാമവാസികളോടൊപ്പം തിരുവോണ സദ്യക്കുള്ള സാമഗ്രികളും പേറി ആറന്മുളയിലെ അമ്പലത്തിൽ കൊണ്ടെത്തിക്കാൻ പോയതാണത്രേ… ഓഹോ അങ്ങനെയോ…

പമ്പാതീരത്തെ കാട്ടുവാസികൾ മനസ്സിൽ കണ്ടത് വേറൊന്നായിരുന്നു – വിഭവങ്ങൾ എങ്ങനെയെങ്കിലും കൈപ്പറ്റണം. ആക്രമണം ആണ് പോംവഴി എങ്കിൽ അങ്ങനെ.

ഭാഗ്യം എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞാൽ മതിയല്ലോ, കറ്റുരിലെ ഗ്രാമീണർ അപകടത്തിൽ ആണ് എന്നറിഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ പാർത്ഥസാരഥി ക്ഷേത്രത്തിന്റെ പ്രാന്തപ്രദേശങ്ങളിൽ ഉള്ള ഗ്രാമീണർ അവരുടെ സഹായത്തിനെത്തി. ദൈവഹിതം.

വള്ള സദ്യ തകൃതിയായി നടക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. അതും ദൈവഹിതം.

പിന്നീടങ്ങോട്ട് ആറന്മുള വള്ളംകളിയും അനുബന്ധഘോഷങ്ങളും ചരിത്രത്താഴുകളിൽ എഴുതിച്ചേർക്കപെട്ടു. ഒരു പള്ളിയോടം പണിയാൻ 30 ലക്ഷത്തോളം ക ആവും എന്നത് ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ ഐതിഹ്യം. എന്നാലും ആറന്മുളക്കാർക്കോ കറ്റൂർ ഗ്രാമീണർക്കോ അതൊരു വിഷയം അല്ലത്രെ. ഓഹോ അങ്ങനെയോ… എന്തുട്ടല്ലേ…

ഓരോ തുഴച്ചിൽ കാരനും കൃഷ്ണ ഭഗവാനെ സ്തുതി പാടും – വഞ്ചിപ്പാട്ടാണത്രെ…

ഉത്രട്ടാതിക്കു ആണ് ആറന്മുള വള്ളം കളി. അഷ്ടമി രോഹിണിക്കും ഊട്ട് ഉണ്ട് പാര്ഥസാരഥി ക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ. ഊട്ടുപുരയിലെ വള്ള സദ്യ തിരുവോണം നാൾ.

തിരുവോണത്തോണി ഒന്നാം ഓണത്തിന് കറ്റൂരിലെ മഹാവിഷ്ണു ക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ നിന്നും പുറപ്പെടും. പാർത്ഥസാരഥി കറ്റൂർ ഭട്ടതിരിക്കു മുന്നിൽ പ്രത്യക്ഷപെട്ടു എന്നും, വലിയസദ്യക്കുള്ള സാമഗ്രികളും പേറി തിരുവോണനാളിൽ ആറന്മുള പാർത്ഥസാരഥി ക്ഷേത്രത്തിൽ ആഗതൻ ആവുവാൻ ആരാഞ്ഞു എന്നുമാണ് ഗ്രാമീണരുടെ വിശ്വാസം.

ചില കീഴ്‌വഴക്കങ്ങൾ ആവുമ്പോൾ….

തിരുവോണ നാളിൽ കേരളം ഒട്ടാകെ ഓണസദ്യ കഴിക്കുമ്പോൾ, ആറന്മുളയിൽ ചില കുടുംബത്തിലെ ബ്രാഹ്മണ കാരണവർ ഉപവാസത്തിൽ ഏർപ്പെടും. പണ്ടേതോ കാരണവർ ഏതോ ഒരു ദളിത്‌ സ്ത്രീയോട് ചെയ്ത പാപം (ഓണസദ്യ കൊടുത്തില്ല്യ) ഇപ്പോഴും ഉപവാസത്തിലൂടെ തിരുത്തി കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു. കാലാകാലങ്ങളായി അതും തിരുവോണനാളിൽ. സത്യത്തിൽ ആറന്മുളയിൽ ആണ് ഓണാഘോഷം തകൃതിയായി നടക്കുന്നത്. ഓഹോ അങ്ങനയോ.

ഓണം. മലയാളിക്ക് എന്നും പ്രിയപ്പെട്ട ആഘോഷം. ചില കീഴ്‌വഴക്കങ്ങൾ ആവുമ്പോൾ. അല്ല ഈ കഴിവുകൾ എല്ലാം ജാത്യേന ലഭിക്കണം അതുകൊണ്ടാണല്ലോ ബ്രാഹ്മണർ ജന്മിത്വം കൈവിടാൻ ഇത്ര താമസിച്ചത്.

“മാനം ത്യജിക്കാതെയും ഓണം ഉണ്ണാതിരിക്കാം. കാണം വിക്കണം എന്നില്ല.”

That is the lunatic motto of The new age brahmin when it comes to celebrating onam.

Explaining ഓഹോ അങ്ങനയോ: കർഷക ലോൺ എടുക്കുവാൻ വന്നതാണ് ഞാൻ. ഓഹോ അങ്ങനയോ…..

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Stranded Souls; Victory it’s Not.

There is something about Nolan’s last two films featuring Tom Hardy. The British actor plays Farrier, a naval aviator trying to fend off German Messerschmitts on mid air in Dunkirk. A mask partly obscure Bane’s face in Dark Knight Rises, but in Dunkirk Farrier embody the Dunkirk spirit.

“Operation Dynamo” Winston Churchill term the Dunkirk spirit. The survival movie is mostly based on facts, filmed on IMAX Cameras, tell perspective through extended war-like footages meshed with silences and equal parts dialogue. Dunkirk is equal parts Hitchcock suspense (action explodes, suspense is not knowing the bomb under the table ticks) and visceral camera work.

Dunkirk aerial shots remind us of Stanley Kubrick the master who convey perspective through minimalism. Nolan keep politics anonymous calling the Germans “Enemy, ” anything but filmmaking from a visionary. Nolan knows being British he is entitled to take cinematic liberties, and yet he keeps survival tale peripheral to the Dunkirk beach.

Brilliantly filmed, Dunkirk is a “survival tale” as the director calls it and no World War II epic of the Hollywood kind. The Hollywood, as we know it, would have made an anti-war Dunkirk but not Nolan. It shall be noted an anti-war Dunkirk would have served better more emotional pay offs but fail to revisit the devastating Dunkirk evacuation to its essence.

What war causes wreckage nothing else would, yet Dunkirk is a miraculous escape. English soldiers and allies stranded on Dunkirk awaits fate as the Messerschmitts and the Luftwaffe bombs comes flying by from the night sky in Occupied France. Nolan present the popular Dunkirk story through a non-linear narrative that intercuts. One happens mid air, the other two strands on the sea and land.

The stranded Dunkirk keep up quite well throughout the 106 run time unlike some Nolan puzzle films. The movie is also a reminder that battles can be defended, if not won, through air combat. Many lives lost, celebration of cinematics on display and in that Dunkirk becomes a “Nolan masterpiece” and a “World War II Failure”. All in all an absolutely great piece of cinema seems devastatingly real.


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Difference Between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer As Explained by an Ardent Federer Fan

On Sunday, Roger Federer the reigning Wimbledon champion hardly put a step forward from the baseline. The gathered crowd in the Centre court witnessed history being made as the Swizz maestro became the 8 time Wimbledon champion and won his 19th Grand Slam.

So, what makes Roger Feeder the Athlete so special in this day and age?

Certainly with age sportsmen and athletes are bound to back their inherent strengths, and go for glory with go-to shots. Federer’s go-to shot is the backhand on the run. I have reasons to believe Rafa got a measure of the simply powerful Federer Forehand, yet even Rafa couldn’t beat Roger the last they met in Australia.

Essentially, athleticism is what makes the two greatest living athletes – one a purist’s delight and the other a savage beast. Rafa plays Cross Court Forehand often enough, even as majority of his game is spend behind the baseline.

“Rafa, you are a pal and my nemesis in the Tennis Court”

Implier Federer once graciously as ever. Nadal must realize that playing Tennis beyond thirties means to play from behind the baseline as much as possible. Rafa beats Federer by playing drop shots and mostly by generating leap bounce which scream past many a opponent.

What about other Tennis players apart from the Spaniard King of Clay?

May be when Djoker and Federer met in Wimbledon volleys may have splurged, but, hey, I have no memory of that. I must admit I have been an Ardent Federer fan for all these years and have remained to be so even when Power Tennis came into the being.

I am no purist. I love watching Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in full flow or Andy Roddick who has one of the forceful service games in Tennis. Federer is no less a beast either – his aces still packs a punch (1000s) even as pure Tennis remains to be the Federer forte.

As for Rafael Nadal, he is a Spaniard and a bulldozer with a racquet in hand. I have seen nobody else except Rafa straddle behind the baseline freely. Rafa is a strange bulldozer one who nullifies a Forehand winner, and yet straddles the Tennis Court. There in Federer becomes a pure Tennis player, and Rafa a bulldozer who straddles like a horse.

No disrespect to Rafa by the way – the French Open shall be renamed “Rafa _ The Clay Mire Challenge” and Wimbledon “The GOAT Lives Here”.

(Read : Greatest of All Times minus elongation).

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In Ceasar’s Planet All Are Equal

War of The Planet of The Apes depict the immature side of human beings, and the mature side of the homo sapiens. Set in a concentration camp, the greyish characters in the movie are American soldiers. This could very well be the America of Vietnam war, or the factious present.

Such is motion capture, Hollywood termed the technology as cold years back, but Andy Serkis’s “Ceasar” is “emotional” as said by Colonel (Woodey Harrelson). Mocap maybe cold at present, but Serkis far exceeds our imaginings of what is possible with technology. His turn is a soulful one imbued with genuine feelings characterstic of a human.

Ceasar lead the Apes team to an apocalypse now with the soldiers embroiled in the everydayness of what is seemingly Vietnam War. Early on in War of The Planet of The Apes is that fabulous scene wherein Ceasar overhears Colonel.

“I have killed the Kong” announces Colonel in an amusing way terming the apes savage. Enough said. You know the rest. Ceaser must save his own race from extinction, and Colonel from an oblique warfare, in War of The Planet of The apes.

The war is a footnote in Ceaser’s planet and we know that right from the beginning itself. For director Matt Reeves what matter most is depicting the everydayness of war. Apes in the concentration camp hopes to live another day beyond the trenches, and Ceaser must prevail in combat for freedom.

Colonel tells Ceaser that he had to take extreme measures mainly because the simian virus has spread. Ceaser seems to have trusted Colonel, but he chooses rage to show compassion.

The movie is not a fun filled blockbuster ride as such. If you are here for thrills alone, you better watch Chewbacca mumbling in Star Wars or Planet Apes on prosthetic make up.

War of The Planet of The Apes also depicts bonhomie and brotherly love. Watch Ceaser lead his troops on 70 MM, but come back thinking about the Colonel ways of War. Caesar treats everyone equal; Colonel a quasi-religious person.

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An Ode to the Friendly Neighbor Spiderman

Peter Parker wears a onesie

Spidey web-slings his way into peoples fantasy

Tailing him from behind is the Vulture

This a comic book for the pop culture

A theater vulture may say otherwise

Even as the title rhymes “Homecoming”


Thankfully, we are spared of the obligatory scenes showing Peter Parker getting bitten by a spider, of the friendly neighborhood chants, and of a grumpy old uncle Sam reminding Peter to use power responsibly. Jon Watts has Michelle (Zendaya) in place of Mary Jane as the love interest of Peter Parker and Marisa Tomei reprises Aunt May.

Spider Man Homecoming is all fun, and quite an entertaining watch. Those of you who had grown up watching Tobey McGuire in the naughties would enjoy this Spidey. Don’t expect a one-size-fits-all reprisal of the Stan Lee comics by the way, but a reprisal nonetheless.

What to expect? Parker grows up and gets accustomed to the Spidey powers, showing off his signature moves with techie gadgets. Tony Stark is there to mentor him just so the kid won’t spoil the hard work done by the Avengers. Sorry, this is supposed to be Spiderman vis-a-vis The Vulture and not US versus The World?

Anyhow, Homecoming is not an origin story per se but a teenage movie with a brimming heart. Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s partner in crime cum close pal, Ned Leeds. In one of the early exchanges, we see Spidey crawling the room ceilings of his with Leeds sitting underneath, slack-jawed. The fun begins when the duo cracks down Vulture’s universe; the poor criminal does crime to get money but not to evoke doomsday. What’s more, the Vulture speaks like a villain and gets angry quoting the Haves versus Have Nots as an excuse to his wrongdoings.

The Spider Man Homecoming reminds me of John Hughes comedies despite the Marvellous action. I loved watching Tom Holland, the man behind the mask is born in England and works in Hollywood. Holland’s boyish charm is enough to watch Spiderman Homecoming, at least once. Michael Keaton plays the Vulture.

When Spidey catches up with the villain and his sinister plans we are in for kickass fun in the climax. Chris Evans features in the movie as Captain America.

Leeds: Do you know him?

Pete: I have stoled his SHIELD once.

Which is to say, stay tuned till the end credits.