Padmarajan’s Interpretation of Dreams.

Sigmund Freud interpreted dreams and even wrote a pioneering book on the topic. Had he been around the time when Padmarajan was breaking path in Malayalam Cinema, he would have ended up a fan of the filmmaker just for the way in which he depicted dream sequences in his films.Almost three decades back, at a time when the term CGI was still unheard of in Indian Cinema, Padmarajan used some basic visuals and music to create a surreal experience for his viewers that resonated with the nightmares and dreams they must have had at some point in their lives.

This is a mashup of scenes from two of his movies, where the characters have nightmares after some truly traumatic experiences.The first is from Moonampakkam where Thilakan plays a grandfather who is mourning the loss of his grandson who has drowned in the sea and is waiting for the body to be recovered.Padmarajan creates an atmosphere thats almost palpable to the viewer with some haunting images which are right out of a dream that you yourself had on one of those bad nights in bed.The most striking image is that of the actor walking down the desolated beach and being startled by a coconut tree that has bent out of shape.Its a visual that you would immediately relate with for some inexplicable reason.
Padmarajan did this again in his film Innale, about a woman who is recovering from an accident and is suffering from retrograde amnesia.Shobhana plays the character here and she has a nightmare on the hospital bed and which reflects her predicament.This sequence would rank behind the one from Moonampakkam to me because its more direct in terms of the visual analogy but it is no less haunting in terms of effect.Padmarjan has used music to great effect in both of these scenes too.
To me these scenes are awe inspiring because this is exactly how a dream or a nightmare would look like in real life .Yes, the images you see have a meaning and a reason always as Freud has sweared by all his life.The only time i have seen a filmmaker come close to beating this is when Nokan took on dreams in Inception.
The detailing and thought that have gone into these scenes are what sets Padmarajan apart as a filmmaker who had a direct line not just to the hearts but to the minds of his audience too.


Villain: The Review.

An ensemble of familiar tropes and then some more.That was Villain for me.B.Unnikrishnan, to whom the mantle of the master of suspense in the Malayalam film industry has passed on from the likes of K.Madhu and Shaji Kailas for lack of a better contender has always tried to show a sophisticated ,suave Mohanlal in his movies.Mohanlal has looked his best in recent times in B.Unnikrishnan movies but there’s always something missing in those films that leaves you dissatisfied as a viewer at the end of the day, they’re like a Venkatesh Prasad spell so to speak, there’s the run up, there’s intent, there’s attitude but lacks the most important deliverable, pace and ultimately gets hit down the park in utter disdain.

Here too B.Unnikrishnan loads his movie with attitude and an urbanity which is totally detached from the reality of our social and political infrastructure in an attempt to emulate the refined cop movies from Hollywood that we have grown up to, over the years.To be fair, the movie tries earnestly to hang on to its tagline, which is basically about the shades of grey in every one of us.Except for Manju Warrier’s , every other significant character in the movie has a twist to their persona which unravels as the movie progresses and in a way justifies the makers claim that there’s a villain in every hero and vice versa.But the movie chooses to deal with this theme superficially and if B.Unnikrishnan was inspired here by Nolan’s Dark Knight and Vishal’s role is intended as a loose take on Legder’s Joker, he misses the mark here by a mile.Getting his actors to break into dialogues that would be more at home in Hollywood than in a Malayalam film doesn’t necessarily make the film suave if thats the intention.And B.Unnikrishnan needs to get over his fascination with crony digital interfaces which again look like an unimaginative rethinking of the gesture interfaces from the Iron Man movies.He had a field day with those in Mr.Fraud, just for the record.Do away with those spinning progress bars and the beeps in the cyber cell please, 2.0 is to hit the screens soon too by the way.The director tells us he’s as up to date as any of us as a viewer of the thriller movies and shows from abroad when he throws in the term “black site” randomly during an interrogation scene.

Emotional thriller,is the phrase thats been doing rounds ever since this movie was released and if you ask me i honestly do not know what that is, psychological thrillers i know but emotional, that’s new to me.If those are movies where the sequences cut rapidly from forced melodrama and action back to back then maybe this is indeed the genre that the Villain belongs to.Yes,Mohanlal emotes the hell out of himself in a most restrained performance of his in recent times here but please do not invent a new genre just because you feel obliged to justify ever outing of his.Now, that the phrase has been coined, the only Malayalam movie that fits the label that comes to my mind is Kouravar from yesteryear.But thats another time, another era, another film entirely.To me this movie would rank behind Grandmaster and Mr.Fraud amongst Unnikrishnan’s works with Mohanlal.

Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela: The Review.

Nivin Pauly tells Altaf Salim in a scene from Sakhav that its not acting but planning that matters, when told that his acting skills weren’t much to write home about.It was less of an innocent line from the film if you ask me, considering the rank outsider’s career in the malayalam film industry until now and more of a jibe at his critics and detractors.Ironic , because he garnered your attention as a viewer with brief sparks of intensity in his debut movie and you had this feeling that this guy was here to stay.The actor has made the right moves and wise choices to be where he is today and it shows that he has a plan indeed.Nivin without this planning would be say, Unni Mukundan, if you know what I am talking about.The actor proves himself right again with his latest release, Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela.He knows his cinema i should say.

Njandulakude Nattil Oridavela is not the best of the Onam crop of films, it is in fact one of the best films of the year, easily.To say Altaf Salim makes an impressive debut as a director here, would be an understatement.The debutant makes two cameo appearances in this film although one is just his voice and he has earned those, i would say.Poignant and delightful in the same breath, this gem of a film offers a thoroughly refreshing take on a topic that would have otherwise been reduced to another grim tearjerker.For a movie that dealt with a crisis of the greatest magnitude that could hit a family, the theatre was filled with sounds of laughter for the entire running time and none of these were forced or out of place.The casting is pitch perfect and Lal delivers another memorable performance.Shanthi Krishna couldn’t have asked for a better comeback vehicle.Nivin Pauly plays to his strength here as the next door boy and is a reunion of sorts for him with the Premam team with the exception of Alphonse Puthren and Shabareesh Varma.
The movie caught me off guard when it choked me with emotion right before the end titles rolled and the lights came on as my ego certainly didn’t want people to see me with my eyes welled up.Reminded me of an anecdote from a time when you actually relied on big brothers in the neighborhood for movie reviews and its just a coincidence that it’s about one of the greatest family tearjerkers of our times, Akashadhoot.Story goes that two friends are out watching the movie and one of them is wiping tears off his face every other minute thanks to Sibi Malayil when he notices in the dark hall that his pal next to him hasn’t budged in the seat.While he was wondering if his friend was that hard hearted, the lights come on for the interval and he turns to see the guy sitting there with tears rolling down his cheeks and hands gripping the seats hard.

PS: വെളിപാടും ആദാമും കണ്ടു ഇനിയൊരു അങ്കത്തിന് ബാല്യം ഇല്ല എന്ന് കരുതി ഇരുന്ന ഞാൻ ഞണ്ടുകൾക്കു കേറുമ്പോൾ മൾട്ടിപ്ളെക്സിന്റെ മൂലക്കിരുന്നു ഒരു “പുള്ളിക്കാരൻ” ചിരിക്കുന്നുണ്ടായിരുന്നു, ചാത്തന്മാർ നിന്നെ കൊണ്ട് വരും എന്നും പറഞ്ഞു

Velipadinte Pusthakam : The Review

സോഷ്യൽ മീഡിയയിലും മുഖ്യധാരാ മാധ്യമങ്ങളിലും വെളിപാടിന്റെ ഈ എളിയ പുസ്തകത്തിനെ വലിച്ചു കീറി ഒട്ടിച്ചു കഴിഞ്ഞ ഈ വൈകിയ വേളയില് അല്ലെങ്കിൽ ഈ അവസരത്തില് അല്ലെങ്കിൽ ഈ ഒക്കേഷനില് ഞാൻ എന്റെ വക ഒരു കൂദാശ സമർപ്പിക്കാൻ അവസരം കിട്ടിയതിനു സ്തോത്രം ചെയുന്നു.മോഹൻഭായ് ലാൽജിയും ലാൽജി ജോസ് ഭായിയും (ബഹുമാനക്കുറവിന്റെ കുറവ് പരിഹരിച്ചതാ) ഒടുവിൽ ഒന്നിച്ച ഈ പടത്തിനു പോരായ്മകൾ ആവോളം ഉണ്ടെങ്കിലും ഡീഗ്രേഡിങ്ങിന്റെ ഇത്ര ഭയാനകമായ വേർഷൻ അർഹിച്ചിരുന്നില്ല എന്ന് എനിക്ക് തോന്നിപ്പോവുകയാണ് .ബെന്നി .പി . നായരംബലം ആയ കൊണ്ട് കടപ്പുറം ബാക്ക് ഡ്രോപ്പ് ആദ്യമേ പ്രതീക്ഷിച്ചിരുന്നെങ്കിലും താടി വെച്ച് സൈക്കിളിലിൽ നടന്നു കണ്ട ഇടിക്കുള എന്തിനാണ് കുറി തൊട്ടു കലിപ്പ് ലുക്കിൽ ബുള്ളറ്റിൽ ഇരിക്കുന്നത് എന്ന ചോദ്യം ഏതൊരു ലാൽ ഫാനിനെ പോലെ എന്നെയും അലട്ടിയിരുന്നു.ഇന്ത്യൻ സിനിമയിൽ മാത്രം നില നിൽക്കുന്ന പ്രതിഭാസമായ ഡബിൾ റോൾ ആണോ എന്ന് വരെ എന്നിലെ പ്യുറിസ്റ് ലാൽ ഫാൻ ഭയന്നു .ചന്ദ്രലേഖ ആറാം തമ്പുരാൻ നരസിംഹം എന്ന ചിത്രങ്ങൾക്കു ശേഷം കംപ്ലീറ്റ് ആക്ടറുടെ ഒരു പടത്തിനും എന്നെ കംപ്ലീറ്റ് ആയി തൃപ്തിപ്പെടുത്താൻ സാധിച്ചിട്ടില്ല എന്ന കുംബസാര സത്യം കൂടെ ഞാൻ ഇവിടെ വെളിപ്പെടുത്തുന്നു.

എനിക്കിത് വെളിപാടിന്റെ പുസ്‌തകം അല്ല “ഡെയ്‌ജ വൂന്റെ ” പുസ്തകം ആയിരുന്നു.സ്പടികം മണിച്ചിത്രത്താഴു കിരീടം തുടങ്ങിയ ലാൽ ക്ലാസിക്കുകളുടെ പല രംഗങ്ങളും മുന്നിലൂടെ വന്നു പോയ പോലെ എനിക്ക് തോന്നി പലപ്പോഴും.ക്ലൈമാക്സിൽ ഡോക്ടർ സണ്ണി വരുമോ എന്ന് വരെ ഞാൻ സംശയിച്ചു.മനോരോഗം വേരോടെ പിഴുതെറിയാൻ പുള്ളിയെ കഴിഞ്ഞല്ലേ ഉള്ളൂ.ആദ്യത്തെ പകുതിയിലെ കാലഹരണപ്പെട്ട ക്യാംപസ് കൺസെപ്റ്റും ഉപദേശവും കോമഡി എന്ന പേരിൽ കാണിച്ച രംഗങ്ങളും ഇന്റർവിലന് ശേഷം ചിത്രം ആർജിക്കാൻ ശ്രെമിച്ച തീവ്രതയെ വല്ലാതെ ബാധിച്ചു എന്ന് എനിക്ക് തോന്നുന്നു.എന്നിരുന്നാലും അവസാനത്തെ ഒരു മണിക്കൂർ എൻഗേജിങ് ആയിരുന്നു.
കിരീടത്തിൽ കീരിക്കാടനെ കൊന്ന ശേഷം വിഭ്രാന്തി പൂണ്ടു ഇരിക്കുന്ന സേതുവിന്റെ രംഗം ഷൂട്ട് ചെയുമ്പോൾ ലാൽ ആ അവസ്ഥയിൽ ഇരിക്കുന്ന ഒരാളുടെ മാനറിസങ്ങൾ സ്പൊണ്ടേനിയസ് ആയി പ്രകടിപ്പിച്ചു എന്ന് സിബി മലയിൽ പറഞ്ഞത് എനിക്ക് ചില സീനുകൾ കണ്ടപ്പോൾ ഓര്മ വന്നു.മോഹൻലാൽ ഉള്ള സീനുകളിൽ പ്രത്യേകിച്ച് പുള്ളി അഭിനയിച്ചു തകർക്കാൻ സാധ്യത ഉള്ള രംഗങ്ങളിൽ ഔട്ട് ഓഫ് ഫോക്കസ് ആയതിന്റെ ലോജിക് എന്താണെന്നു മനസിലാവുന്നില്ല .ഒരു പരിധി വരെ എന്നിലെ ഫാൻ തൃപ്തനാണ്.ഇത് തൊണ്ടി മുതലോ മഹേഷിന്റെ പ്രതികാരമോ അല്ലായിരിക്കാം പക്ഷെ ഇത് വാമനപുരം ബസ് റൂട്ടുമല്ല.ആമേൻ.

What do Michael Bay, Rajiv Rai and I.V Sasi have in common?

If a cinematic parallel is drawn across film industries the world over, for every kind of film making out there, the names Michael Bay,Rajiv Rai and I.V Sasi would figure on the same line for more than one reason, I’ve felt for a long time now.For one, their films were always intended to do just one thing mostly, to entertain the audience that is.All three of them have a penchant for featuring ensemble cast in their movies too, apart from being synonymous with big budget blockbusters in their home turfs.While the critics have rarely been kind to Bay and Rai, Sasi has had the best of both worlds i’d say.They have always played to the gallery and have been the favorites of the viewers if the box office records of their movies are anything to go by.Goosebumps are what they dealt in primarily and its no mean feat to draw those kind of emotions from audiences irrespective of their color, creed and race on a consistent basis.

Some of the best names in the Malayalam film industry, from script writers to actors to technicians frequently collaborated with I.V Sasi to deliver the most memorable films of our times. Devasuram, the film that redefined Mohanlal’s image as an actor and marked the birth of his larger than life on screen persona is seldom spoken of as an I.V Sasi film but the signature is evident throughout, if you care to notice.The scene where the antagonist played by Napoleon, literally makes his thunderous debut on screen in the film is a fine example and is a personal favorite.

With movies like Tridev,Vishwatma,Mohra and Gupt, Rajiv Rai proved on more than one occasion that he had a direct line to the pulse of the Indian masses.The bad guys of Rajiv Rai movies had a sense of humor and a colorful persona too with actors like Amirsh Puri,Raza Murad and Gulshan Grover making regular appearances.He also gave those champions of serious cinema, Nasseruddin Shah and Om Puri, their most memorable turns in commercial cinema.Om Purim’s deadpan delivery in Gupt is priceless and is almost a tribute to his roles in the Nihlani films if you ask me.Viju Shah faithfully delivered his best work in the Rai films every single time they collaborated too though he had his moments of “inspiration” if you know what i’m talking about.

Michael Bay of course had all the privileges and options that the studios of Hollywood endows up on their artists and though he’s been a director that the critics love to hate, has delivered some of the most popular action flicks of our times,The Rock being his magnum opus.Sean Connery in his mid 60s was nothing less than the rock star he already was, in The Rock, with a classy Ed Harris in full throttle and Nicholas Cage at his “Cagiest” best keeping him company.If Bay were to make a western, the cowboys- yeah there would be more than one for sure- would be riding into the sunset for ever in slow motion with the most rousing of scores playing in the back ground.

If you still feel that i am not making any sense at all, this scene from the first Transformers movie where one got to see a glimpse of the Michael Bay signature for the last time in a long time might help, though i admit i would have a hard time explaining what’s so damn overwhelming about a scene where – no, i’m not talking about Megan Fox- a truck just rumbles up a dark alley to a BGM thats so “Hans Zimmerish”(for obvious reasons).