Hostar’s Masterpeace: Symmetry and Satire

Sreejith N’s Malayalam web series ‘Masterpeace’ on Hotstar looks like a homage to Wes Anderson.

In the cinematic world, few directors have mastered the art of visual storytelling quite like Wes Anderson. With every frame crafted like a painted canvas and a color palette that capture your eyes.

Anderson’s films are a feast for the eyes and the heart. Don’t you remember ‘Amen’ by LJP filled with quirks, emotions, and political undertones. That’s another example of Wes Anderson style for those who are not aware of this brilliant maker.

This rich element of Wes Anderson’s visuals and narrative brilliance is the highlight in director Sreejith’s latest Malayalam web series, Masterpeace. Compared to Sreejith’s previous flick, ‘Oru Thekkan Thallu CaseMasterpeace is a different experiment inspired by Wes Anderson style of storytelling.

Brief About the ‘Materpiece’

‘Masterpeace’ is a story about a young married couple, Riya and Binoy. They live in Kochi and have problems in their marriage. When they fight, their parents come to their home to help. But, the parents have their own ideas and want to be in charge. The show is satirical sprinkled with some serious moments. Most of the story happens in one day, inside Riya and Binoy’s flat.

Masterpeace Trailer

Religion, feminism, Liberalism, Dowry, Gender Neutrality, Male chauvanism, Intolerance, LGBTQ+, stereotyping of people & even Nityananda swami 😉 . The list is long and never ending, I believe, you will find at least one one-liner from all these topics in a satirical way.

Why You Should Watch This:

A Masterpeace ‘Visual Treat’

As I said in the beginning, that Wes Anderson style is the biggest plus here. Masterpeace is beautiful to watch. The homes, the colours, and the objects in the series are chosen carefully. They make every scene look like a painting, and every artist on the screen looks like a caricature in that canvas.

The series has a special style, you can find a symmetry in every frame just like the way writer Praveen crafted ultra-dramatic characters and Understated or muted characters in every events.

A Unique Story

The series gives a close look at Indian families and how they deal with problems. It’s not just about a couple’s fight, but about how older family members try to solve things their way. This drama gave you some high hopes and entertainment value in the first three episodes.

Humour and Drama

There are many funny moments in the series. These moments feel like they are taken from real-life situations in many typical Mallu families. It will remind you of some family gatherings and personally I felt like it’s laughing riot especially for those who have some ultra orthodox family members.

Director Sreejith made a great comeback with this quirky satirical experiment.

What Could Have Been Better?

Length: While the series starts off exciting, it becomes long. There are five episodes, and each episode is more than 30 minutes. Some parts of the story feel repeated and could have been shorter or edited.

Repetitive Themes: The series with some frsh approaches on how older people behave and how their orthodox views contradict with the neo-liberals. But, after some time, it feels like the same things are shown again and again.

Narration Gaps: Sometimes the voice-over in the series was confusing and slow down the narration. I wondered why it was even there.

A Masterpeace Performance From Ashokan

The series centering around six characters and my biggest entertainment was Ashokan, he will makes you laugh a lot. He hasn’t acted in big roles for some time, but he made a comeback similar to what lalu Alex did in Bro Daddy. 

Maala Parvathi also acts very well as a mother who likes to be in control. These two artists make sure that you won’t abandon this show in midway.

Shanthi Krihna’s & Renji Panicker’s muted characters were overshadowed by the other ultra-dramataic characters in the movie.

The music and camera work in the series are also very good. The director, Sreejith, has made the series look beautiful and quriky. But, it would have been better if the episodes were shorter.

Read more movie reviews and stories here.

Dhoomam: High Expectations, Mixed Outcomes

As an ardent fan of Pawan Kumar, my expectations were sky-high for Dhoomam, especially after being enamored with his last web series, Kudi Yedamayithe. I eagerly waited two long years for Pawan Kumar to unveil his new work, post Kudi Yedamayithe.

Dhoomam Title card
Dhoomam Title card

However, to my disappointment, I couldn’t find the signature sophistication and finesse I had anticipated from Pawan Kumar in Dhoomam. It doesn’t show the output of 2 years of homework.


The plot centers around Avinash (Fahadh Faasil), who is the marketing head of a major tobacco company. He and his wife Diya (Aparna Balamurali) find themselves held hostage in a secluded hilly terrain. The kidnapper issue a series of demands via phone calls, prompting Avinash and Diya to complete certain tasks to save their lives.

The film switches between the couple’s present predicament and flashbacks to Avinash’s career rise in the tobacco company run by Sid (Roshan Mathew). In the past, we see Avinash’s cunning methods to promote the company’s products and influence government policies.

The plot leaves some loose ends, with questions around who the ‘faceless’ caller is and why Avinash is being targeted instead of Sid, the actual head of the company.

Expectations and Initial Disappointment

Director Pawan Kumar’s effort to highlight a grave issue like smoking deserves applause. However, the film’s execution leaves much to be desired. The kidnapping scene at the beginning of the film is unconvincing and disrupts the viewing experience. The film’s pacing feels off, with crucial events happening too rapidly and without adequate build-up. These elements, combined with a plethora of continuity errors, contribute to a sense of disconnection from the narrative.

Direction and Continuity Issues

When the movie starts, we can see Aparna Balamurali is waiting for Fahad Fazil and it’s raining, but while getting into the car, you can see that she is not at all wet. I couldn’t find any raindrops on her face, hair, or dress. If this movie was directed by any other directors from Kannada, I wouldn’t have cared, but since it was Pawan Kumar, this was a friction point for me.

With poor editing and scripting, the kidnapping scene in the movie was so artificial and unconvincing for me. There were a lot of loopholes in that scene, and I found so many continuity issues in just 20 minutes of the film. For example, I don’t know why the kidnapper took the watch from Fahad Fassil. While driving, there is a watch on his left hand, but in the morning it is not there.

There is a fight scene between a gunman and Fahad Fassil, and you can see a lot of wounds and bruises over his face and body, but after a face wash, he is clean and left with only a scar.

Characterization and Plot Development

When it comes to the plot development, I would say it is highly predictable and filled with cliched events.

The character development also suffered from amateur first thoughts. Take Fahad Fazil’s character Avinash as an example; he was portrayed as a creative thinker, problem-solver, and ambitious individual. However, the writer failed to provide a compelling trigger for this character’s transformation or introspection. I found it unconvincing that such a calculating character would alter his mindset without a strong reason.

All this means I couldn’t enjoy the movie at all? A Big No!!

Why You Should Try This Movie

There are some dialogues from Fahad Fazil as a marketer that really strike every citizen, I believe. For example, the way Avinash (Fahad) marketed the vapes was so brilliant, and as a marketer, I find it so interesting, and I realized how dangerously our emotions and mirror neurons work.

Similarly, the government’s involvement in promoting tobacco usage was represented neatly.

Fahad fazil as Avinash in Dhoomam
Fahad Fazil as Avinash in Dhoomam

Fahadh Faasil, playing the ambitious marketer, delivers a solid performance, reflecting his character’s complexity and moral struggle. Aparna Balamurali, despite a somewhat overly dependent character, brings credibility to her role. Roshan Mathew also offers a convincing portrayal in his role as the head of the tobacco company.

The climax is well-drafted, so realistic, and well-executed. I strongly believe that climax can make a huge impact on anyone who smokes; at least they will think twice next time when they hold a cigarette. The last 15 minutes of the film were really worth it, and that’s where I found the signature of Pawan Kumar.

Despite its flaws, “Dhoomam” delivers a potent social message. The impactful final scenes carry a significant enough message to make smokers reconsider their habits, highlighting the dangers of tobacco usage.

Final Thoughts

It might be best described as a missed opportunity – a film that could have been a powerful social commentary but falls short due to its execution.

For this week’s OTT releases, click here.

Kerala Crime Files: A Thriller Story Stretched Thin

Kerala Crime Files, As Hotstar’s first Malayalam thriller web series, I held high hopes. And I was happy to see that Disney Hotstar managed to meet my expectations in terms of production quality.

The series, set in 2011, showed a clear investment in recreating that era’s technological and ambient milieu. The craftsmanship on display was remarkable.

Penned by Aashiq Imar and directed by Ahammed Khabeer (known for ‘Madhuram’ and ‘June’), I had a feeling that the narrative might have fared far better as a standalone OTT movie instead of a web series.

A Case of Too Long a Tale

The plot, at its core, is simple. Sub-Inspector Manoj and his team of four are on the heels of a sex worker’s murderer. Their leads? A fake address: Shiju Parayil Veedu, Neendakara, and a witness who claims the suspect has squinted eyes. They are solving the case within six days (6 Episodes).

It sounds gripping, doesn’t it?

However, as the story opened up, my interest began to wane. The narrative felt like a wafer-thin premise stretched far too thin; it’s pretty evident that the writer didn’t spend much time with the characters or the events. If it were a 100-minute movie, this writing might work well, but I am not sure about a crime-thriller web series.

The series takes off slowly, with the first two episodes feeling like they could have been compressed into one. The narrative regains momentum in the third episode, establishing a robust motive for the lead character (S.I. Manoj) to track down the killer. But after that, the excitement ebbs again, only to return in the fifth episode.

Although the choice to depict six days across six episodes lends realism, the thrill factor takes a hit, perhaps a side effect of my steady diet of thrillers.

Written Poor, but Executed Well

The characters, whether the killer or the police officers, lack depth and layers. The addition of officers’ personal lives seemed a ploy to stretch the runtime, lacking subtlety or layers. The writer tried to build an image of the murderer with the first five episodes, and when it was finally revealed, I found a mismatch between the buildup and reality. That’s where I felt the writer should have spent much more time with the scripting.

In the climax, the explanation of the motto felt artificial. The victim character did not pull it off well enough to make it convincing. However, I really enjoyed the villain and his subtle cues.

The series showcases commendable performances from Aju Varghese in the lead role, supported by Navaz Vallikunnu, Zhinz Shaan, and Devika Rajendran. Zhinz Shaan’s constable “Pradeep” deserves a special mention for his steadfast character arc. His obstinate and narrow-minded approach distinguishes him from his colleagues. Another noteworthy performance is that of Lal in the role of CI Kurian.

Watch Kerala Crime Files Here.

Lower the Expectations and Enjoy this Thriller

To sum it up, lower your expectations, and you may find ‘Kerala Crime Files’ enjoyable. While it manages to retain your attention, it falls short of being a nail-biting thriller. The expectations set by the trailer didn’t fully translate into the series, and it spoiled my experience with this thriller.

My Opinion: A Promising Start, but Does It Deliver? Doubtful

For more about OTT releases this week, click here.

Jithin Issac Thomas: A New Wave of Filmmaking

Master of Realism: Immersing Viewers in Jithin’s Worlds

The world of cinema is often filled with spectacle and extravagance. Yet, Jithin Issac Thomas shines as a filmmaker committed to realism. He crafts narratives with a raw authenticity that sets him apart. His movies break away from common film industry cliches, and instead, paint real-world stories and characters.

Jithin Issac Thomas & Rekha Movie Poster
Jithin Issac Thomas & Rekha Movie Poster

Look at his latest film “Rekha, (Read Rekha review here) a movie set in the small town of Kasaragod. It’s a perfect example of how much he cares about staying true to life. Every little detail in the film, like the way people talk and the unique habits of the characters, shows just how much attention he pays to getting it right. He’s not just focused on making things look real, but also on telling stories that feel genuine.

What’s really special about Jithin Issac’s movies is how he pulls you right into the world he creates. You’re not just a passive viewer when you watch “Rekha.” Instead, you become a part of it all.

You feel like you’re actually walking the lonely streets of Kasaragod, experiencing the village’s simple charm, eavesdropping on friendly conversations, and getting a glimpse into Rekha’s life. It’s an extraordinary cinematic experience that anyone can enjoy, no matter who they are.

Jithin’s films go beyond simple storytelling; they establish a genuine connection of empathy between the viewer and the story. Try watching Rekha or Attention Please.

Jithin Issac Thomas: Breaking Stereotypes and Shaking Up Norms

Jithin Issac Thomas is not afraid to challenge societal norms and break stereotypes through his bold storytelling. His films tackle unconventional subjects and explore themes that many filmmakers shy away from. By doing so, he pushes the boundaries of cinema and opens up discussions on important social issues.

In Rekha, he used a subtle method to do this. But In “Attention Please,” he is louder about this.

Jithin is dissecting the sensitive topic of caste discrimination. The protagonist, Hari, played by Vishnu Govindan, is an aspiring screenwriter who faces ridicule and dismissal due to his caste and complexion. Jithin fearlessly exposes the deep-rooted prejudices that exist in our society, forcing the audience to confront uncomfortable truths.

It’s Jithin Issac Film, Expect Turns!

This commitment to breaking stereotypes extends beyond social themes. Jithin’s films take unexpected turns and subvert conventional storytelling norms. He keeps the audience on their toes, constantly questioning what will happen next.

In “Rekha,” what initially appears to be a simple love story takes a sharp turn towards an intense revenge thriller. This unpredictability challenges the audience’s expectations and leaves them in a state of surprise and contemplation.

In Rekha , he is trying to challenge that “I am Man!!” pride set by the conservative society with “I am a woman” pride.

By breaking stereotypes and shaking up norms, Jithin Issac Thomas encourages viewers to reflect on their own biases and preconceived notions. His films have the power to ignite conversations and spark change in society. They serve as a reminder that cinema has the potential to be a platform for social commentary and introspection.

Jithin Issac films serve as a catalyst for change and inspire audiences to think critically about the world around them.

A Voice for the Voiceless: Speaking Up Through Cinema

Jithin Issac Thomas has carved a niche for himself as a filmmaker who amplifies the voices of the marginalized and overlooked. Through his cinematic endeavors, he serves as a catalyst for change and raises awareness about pressing social issues.

Jithin’s commitment to giving a voice to the voiceless is evident in his films, which tackle a wide range of subjects with sensitivity and empathy.

Addressing Social Injustices

Jithin Issac Thomas’ films don’t just entertain; they speak. They talk about the folks we tend to forget or ignore. It’s like he hands them a microphone and says, “Here, tell your story.”

In his film “Attention Please,” he fearlessly shines a spotlight on caste discrimination. The character of Hari, an aspiring screenwriter from a Dalit background, faces ridicule and discrimination from his flatmates. Jithin’s portrayal of Hari’s struggles not only exposes the deep-rooted prejudices prevalent in society but also challenges the audience to reflect on their own biases.

Attention Please: Trailer

Another film that showcases Jithin’s dedication to addressing social issues is the anthology “Freedom Fight,” in which he directs the segment titled ‘Pra. Thoo. Mu.’

This narrative explores the themes of rebellion and resistance, encouraging viewers to question oppressive systems and stand up for justice.

Jithin’s storytelling compels the audience to confront uncomfortable realities and motivates them to take action against societal inequalities.

Amplifying Women’s Voices

In the film “Rekha,” the titular character takes center stage as a tomboyish woman who confronts an act of injustice and embarks on a path of revenge. Through Rekha’s journey, Jithin challenges gender stereotypes and highlights the strength and resilience of women in the face of adversity.

Through Rekha, Jithin gives a voice to these women. He tells us that ego, revenge, pride, all these are not just a “Man thing”. It’s challenging “I am Man!!” pride with “I am a woman” pride.

Rekha Movie Trailer

In interviews, he emphasizes the need for more representation and equal opportunities for women in the film industry. By shedding light on their stories and perspectives, he aims to create a more inclusive and equitable cinematic landscape.

Jithin doesn’t just make films. He makes statements. And those statements speak for the people who need to be heard.

The Art of Uncomfortable Conversations

In his own words, he creates “not to please or appease an audience, but to make them think, to make them uncomfortable.” This audacious approach sets him apart from many filmmakers of his generation and makes his films unique and thought-provoking.

I believe, Jithin’s ultimate goal as a filmmaker is to inspire social change and create a more inclusive and empathetic society. Through his films, he seeks to spark conversations, challenge societal norms, and encourage viewers to reevaluate their perspectives.

In an industry often driven by commercial considerations, Jithin remains unwavering in his commitment to meaningful storytelling.

Read more film case studies and stories here.

Jude Anthany’s 2018 – A Stirring Story of Survival With Some Clichés

“2018 – Everyone is a Hero”, directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, is a testament to the power of human resilience in the face of a calamity. This gripping drama, based on the Kerala floods of 2018, showcases a whole community coming together to overcome adversity, proving that heroes exist in every corner of society.

2018 Malayalam Movie Title Card

The Emotional Journey Through the Floods

Jude Anthany Joseph’s direction and Chaman Chakko’s editing strike the right balance between portraying the harsh realities of the situation and the uplifting moments of heroism and unity. The film is elevated by its technical excellence, especially in the flood scenes, which are both visually impressive and emotionally stirring.

The film’s script and story, crafted by Jude Anthany Joseph, are undoubtedly the backbone of 2018 – Everyone is a Hero. The narrative weaves together numerous characters, each with their own unique arc, capturing the essence of a community uniting in the face of catastrophe. The film’s strength lies in its ability to showcase the ordinary lives of people, their petty quarrels, and their extraordinary transformation when faced with adversity.

As the story unfolds, we witness an emotional rollercoaster that peaks during the intense rescue operations and heart-wrenching moments of loss.

2018 – Everyone is a Hero: A Gripping Story with Room for Improvement

However, I must point out a few areas where the script could use some improvement. The first 40 minutes of the film is laden with clichés and predictable sequences, reminiscent of old Tamil movies brimming with “Paasam” and “Pride.” Asif Ali’s love track and Tovino’s side track at the beginning feel like they’re filled with immature writing and clichés.

A more balanced and realistic portrayal of characters in the initial phase would have added greater depth to the story. At this stage, it’s all too easy to predict the upcoming events in the second-half. The film’s scripting and characters brings to mind Major Ravi scripts. I truly hope that, one day, Mollywood will get a survival thriller without much clichéd melodrama.

Secondly, the pacing of the film could have been more consistent. Although the first half sets up the characters in a very slow-steady pace and the film experiences a few dips in the second half. Some scenes feel stretched, while others are rushed, which affects the overall flow of the narrative. Tightening the script in these areas could have improved the film’s pacing and made for a more immersive experience. Lastly, the film could have delved deeper into the political and social aspects surrounding the disaster. Instead, it primarily focuses on human spirit and heroism, albeit with a few clichéd characters and events. Additionally, more thorough research could have enabled the scriptwriters to explore the underlying issues and challenges faced during the crisis more effectively, adding depth and relevance to the story, rather than resorting to clichéd melodrama.

An Exhibition of Remarkable Performances

One of the major highlights of 2018 – Everyone is a Hero lies in the powerhouse performances of its stellar cast. The movie boasts of an ensemble of talented actors, including Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Tovino Thomas, Naren, Kalaiyarasan, Vineeth Srinivasan, Aparna Balamurali, and Lal. Each of them has left an indelible mark on the screen, bringing forth the raw emotion, resilience, and courage of their characters.


Kunchacko Boban, with his nuanced portrayal of an everyday hero, perfectly encapsulates the essence of an ordinary family man and a responsible government official during calamities. Asif Ali’s performance as a reluctant volunteer provides a sense of relatability, displaying the evolution of an individual in the face of adversity. Tovino Thomas delivers a gripping performance, capturing the pain, loss, and determination of a man fighting against all odds to save his people. I would say, you can see a more humanised version of Minnal Murali in 2018.

Naren, Kalaiyarasan, and Vineeth Srinivasan play pivotal roles in the narrative, showcasing the diversity of human emotions and responses to the disaster. Their acting prowess breathes life into the story, ensuring that every character contributes to the overall impact of the film.

However, it does fall short in its representation of female characters, who are often shown as helpless and in need of rescue, despite the fact that many women played crucial roles in the recovery efforts. Aparna Balamurali’s character treis to balance it but her character doesn’t have much depth to the narrative, making it just another helpless female character.

2018: A Watchable Tribute to the Unsung Heroes

In conclusion, 2018 – Everyone is a Hero is a compelling story that showcases the best of human resilience and unity, but it could have been elevated further with a few improvements in the script and pacing. Nevertheless, the film remains an engaging and moving experience that will surely resonate with audiences.

“2018 Everyone is a Hero” serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there are heroes among us, ready to lend a helping hand.

Similarly, this movie demonstrates that with great content and quality production, there’s no need for promotional gimmicks. The theatre was packed for the second show.

Read more reviews here.

Adi – A Thriller Exploring Male Vulnerability

Prashobh Vijayan’s Adi takes on the central theme of toxic masculinity and its associated vulnerabilities, with a thrilling plot revolving around road rage in Kerala.

I must say, Prashobh Vijayan’s movies never excited me, which is why I opted for Madanolsavam over Adi. However, when a few people from the theater gave positive responses for Adi, I decided to give it a try. And, let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised! Adi is the best movie from Prashobh, Ahana Krishna, and Ratheesh Ravi so far.

Adi promotional poster

A Thin Plot with “I am Man!!” Pride

Adi revolves around Sajeev, an NRI played by Shine Tom Chacko, and his wife Geethika played by Ahaana Krishna. Their adversary, Joby Joseph, played by Dhruv, oozes with masculine pride. Sajeevan gets badly beaten by Joby Joseph, and it bothers him that it happened in front of his wife, Geethika.

The film effectively highlights the issue of toxic masculinity, with the characters repeating the line “I am a man!” before and after every act of violence. Eventually, the movie shows how Ahaana’s Geetika is challenging this “I am Man!!” pride.

Road Rage, Masculinity & Vulnerabilities

The movie addresses the alarming issue of road rage in Kerala, which is something that we should prioritize. Road rage and revenge have been the central theme of many movies like Hollywood’s “Unhinged” and Mollywood’s “Kali,” and Adi follows suit but with a less intensity compared to “Kali” or “Unhinged”.

Shine Tom Chacko & Dhruva from Adi

Still, As the movie progresses, it turns its colors and Adi tries to explores the congeniality between relationships.

The movie initially gives the notion that it’s all about toxic masculinity, much like Ratheesh Ravi’s previous work, Ishq. Some viewers may have misunderstood as Adi as a male chauvinistic movie. However, in my opinion, the film aims to address the issue of toxic masculinity and its associated vulnerabilities.

Adi’s Cast Brings Depth and Intensity to Their Characters

Ahaana Krishna from Adi

All three main actors, Shine Tom Chacko, Ahaana Krishna, and Dhruvan, excelled in their roles. It was surprising to see Ahaana and Shine’s on-screen chemistry. Normally, the contrast between young actors and experienced actors like Shine Tom Chacko is visible, but Ahaana was able to pull off her character with ease. Dhruvan made a great attempt but there were instances where I felt he could have done it in a more sublr manner instead of exaggerations.

Athira Patel’s character may have been short, but it effectively points a finger at toxic relationships and the male ego.

Adi’s music is one of its strongest assets, thanks to Govind Vasantha, who composed music for the 96 movie. The music adds an emotional layer to the film’s many scenes, elevating the overall viewing experience.

Adi: A Conclusion without a cliched “Adi”

Overall, Adi has a great start, subtly addressing its core theme. However, when it reaches to the end, I felt like the climax of the film a bit forced and unconvincing. If the filmmakers could work on it a bit more, the movie could have impressed more viewers this festival season. I feel like, Adi is a movie best suited for youngsters, not for everyone.

With standout performances from Shine, Ahaana & Dhruvan, superb music, and a thrilling theme, Adi is a one-time watchable for anyone interested in exploring the issues of toxic masculinity and vulnerability.

Here you can read about the second release of the week, Madanolsavam.

A Modern Version of Raghunath Paleri Classics: Madanolsavam

Ratheesh Pothuval’s Signature Style

Ratheesh Pothuval’s movies always remind me of the old Raghunath Paleri classics.

When Malayalam film industry was filled with slap-stick comedy tracks, Raghunath Paleri scripts transport us to a different world, filled with dark comedy, subtle political satire, and a touch of Deadpan comedy with quirky characters like Pashune Kalanja Paapi, Meesha Vasu, Krishna Kurup, Doctor Vadhu…

Ratheesh Pothuval movies are no different as they are a modern version of those Raghunath Paleri classic films.

Madanolsavam title card

An Unexpected Turn of Events & A Political Game Changer

This title can be the one-liner of this movie.

The story revolves around Madanan, a young man who sells coloured chickens for a living. One day, a girl unexpectedly enters his life, creating the most hilarious (dark humor) event in the movie, even though it’s unrelated to the film’s central theme.

Madanan Manjakkaran, a BDF candidate played by Babu Antony, is about to win an election for the first time in Manjeswaram. However, the opposition party, led by “Porali,” decides to use Madanan as an imposter candidate against Manjakkaran to scatter the vote share. The rest of the story follows how Madanan’s life changes after this event.

Entertaining, But Lacking Freshness

Madanolsavam is a complete family entertainer that has enough elements to keep you entertained.

However, somewhere in the movie, I felt like the freshness of Ratheesh Pothuval’s previous scripting was missing, maybe because of the overused template of Kasargod slang, stereotypical character comedies, and subtle burlesque moments. I believe Ratheesh Pothuval needs to reinvent his writing to avoid losing the punch he had in his earlier works.

Tried and Tested Formula

Ratheesh uses the same eccentric political shades that succeeded in “Enna than case kodu.”

I love the way he builds the first act of the movie. Be it “Enna thaan Case Kodu” “Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham” even “Madanolsavam” he uses a “staright to the point” style. Within just 10-15 minutes, he will settle everything in place and make the protagonist ready for the confrontation.

From his aunt’s weak bowel movements to his marriage, it all happens within a few minutes in Mdanan’s life. With hilarious punchlines from characters like Mohanan (Sumesh Chandran) and Madanan’s aunt, it’s an entertaining gateway to the world of Madanolsavam.

Madanolsavam Poster

Subtle Performances

Suraj Venjaramoodu fully steals the show with his full-fledged comedy role in Madanotsavam. However, there are some moments where he becomes too emotional, adding some material for the family audiences into this political satire. Madanolsavam employs Suraj’s ability to oscillate between comedy (his slapstick style) and serious (but not bordering on melodrama) elements.

Sumesh Chandran’s character, Mohanan, was a laughing riot in the film, and I am sure that he will be viral soon after Madanolsavam’s OTT release.

Rajesh Madhavan’s Namboothiri goon, Chandrika Madikkayi’s aunt role, Rakesh Ushar’s corporate strategist, Babu Antony’s Madanan, and PP Kunhikrishnan’s Chindilayappan are all characters that ensure Madanolsavam is a wholesome entertainer. 

Bhama Arun’s Alice deserves a special mention because even though it was her debut in Mollywood, she truly nailed it. Her chemistry with Suraj was well-portrayed, with awkward pauses, romantic smiles, and emotional eyes. I expect to see her in more movies soon (Hopefully without being stereotyped).

Bhama Arun’s Interview (Credits: The Cue Studio)

Missing a Signature: Sudheesh Gopinath

Though it was directed by Sudessh Gopinath, Madanolsavam has all Ratheesh Pothuval’s trademark humour and deadpan set-up throughout. 

Casting, Narration, Opening, Ending, in simple words it’s Ratheesh pothuval everywhere. Eevn he did an extended cameo role as well.

Overall, I felt if Sudhessh could manage to add some unique elements we could have felt the freshness from a debutant director.

On the other hand, it’s possible that Sudheesh Gopinath’s influence was present in Ratheesh Pothuval’s previous works, as he served as the chief associate director for all of those films.

Final Verdict

Madanotsavam is a solid family entertainer packed with witty one-liners. However, it falls short as a political satire, especially during the rushed climax. Climax was too fast and disrupts the convincing-natural flow of the film.

So, Madanolsavam is a dark-comedy enteratiner which failed to leave a lasting impact.

Corona Papers: Priyadarshan’s Gripping Crime Thriller Inspired from Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog

Corona Papers is an engaging thriller directed by Priyadarshan.This will be a different Priyadarshan movie for you, since the film is devoid of slap-stick humor or romantic songs.

Corona papers maintaining a thrilling atmosphere from start to finish. In this movie, Priyadarshan demonstrates his return to form as a master craftsman, presenting captivating visuals that keep the audience hooked.

Poster: Corona Papers

Priyadarshan’s crime thriller, Corona Papers, starts with an acknowledgment that the filmmaker was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog. This 1949 detective film revolves around a stolen gun and delves into the social and economic conditions in Japan after World War II.

And this acknowledgement is true I feel, the movie is not actually a remake of 8 Thottakal rather it’s an adaptation of Stary Dog.

The Riveting Plot

The story follows Rahul, a newbie Sub-Inspector in the Kerala police force, who is assigned shadow duty at his first station. Tragically, he loses his service revolver, and the bullets from it are later used in a bank robbery.

As the investigation unfolds, the audience is drawn into the core of the story, with the tension continuing to escalate.

Priyadarshan’s approach in Corona Papers is straightforward and focussed, unlike his previous thriller, Oppam. He eliminates all the unnecessary melodrama and humor, ensuring a laser focus on the script.

Engaging Performances and Visual Beauty

Corona Papers’ first half offers a unique, thrilling experience with the freshness in casting and the fast paced events.

In the second half, although the plot points are predictable, the focus lies on how they connect and drive the characters towards the central event. This intriguing aspect keeps the audience engaged.

Secondly, the film remains engaging due to the skillful execution by the actors and Priyadarshan’s enhancement of the visual beauty and dramatic elements.

For example, there is a memorable scene where characters are exchanging money on a rainy night, adding an intriguing layer to the thriller.

The supporting cast, including Shane Nigam, Shine Tom Chacko, Gayathrie, P P Kunhikrishnan, Henna Reji, and Siddique Lal Jr., all deliver commendable performances.

Corona Papers

Siddique Steals the Show

Siddique stands out as suspended police officer Sankararaman, delivering an exceptional performance that showcases his talent. He effortlessly handles emotionally intense scenes, adding depth to the film.

A philosophical scene unfolds between Shane Nigam and Siddique, and it’s hard to picture any other actor delivering it so effortlessly. And here are few elements around Siddique’s character and it added some philosophical layers to this thriller.

For exmple, a scene where Siddique uses Alexander Pope’s famous quote “to forgive is divine” that voice modulation is an icing on the cake for that scene.

Some Weak Points

While Shine Tom’s character is not insignificant, certain aspects of his role feel disconnected at times.

Shane Nigam excels in emotional scenes alongside Siddique. However, Sandhya Shetty struggles to match their ease. Her acting and dubbing fall short, particularly when sharing the screen with the experienced Siddique, creating a noticeable contrast in their performances.

Sandhya Shetty as Gracy (Corona Papers)

Additionally, her character Gracy could have been written better. It’s not that convincing and there is a lack of depth. It reminds me old Vani Vishwanath era of Mollywood thrillers.

An Anticipated Climax with a Twist

Priyadarshan tried to make this different from typical crime thrillers, the climax of Corona Papers is not a twist but an awaited resolution of the interlocked puzzle.

The film pulls this off decently, but for those expecting a twist, there is one included. However, it feels forced and unnecessary for an otherwise solid thriller.

  1. Experience a sleek thriller with minimal drama,
  2. outstanding acting by Siddique, and
  3. Priyan’s masterful visuals.

These three key elements make Corona Papers a must-watch film for thriller enthusiasts.

In conclusion, Corona Papers is a decent crime thriller with a few flaws, but it will undoubtedly keep audiences captivated throughout its runtime.

Purusha Pretham: A Noirish Crime-Comedy with Layers

Anyone familiar with Krishand’s Aavasayooham or other flicks can easily predict what’s waiting for them. Don’t be fooled by his titles; his film titles are not direct.

Purusha Pretham Poster
Purusha Pretham poster

He always chooses a heavy subject and will deliver it in a fun and thrilling way.  Krishand, I believe, is a fan of superimposing dichotomies, such as war and peace or love and hate.This is his way of leaving his imprint on his works. Purusha Pretham is no different.

Purusha Pretham is a noirish crime comedy that is stuffed with numerous layers of Indian politics and social evils that still prevail including discriminations, domestic violence, exploitations and bureaucratic red-tapism.

When it comes to the plot, Krishand always crafts a central character, with confidence being an essential factor. SI Sebastian, aka Super Sebastian, is renowned for his bravery and is feared by many in Purusha Pretham.Sebastian’s reputation is tested when a lady named Susan comes to his station and wants to check whether an unidentified body is her husband’s or not.

Sebastian’s Macho-chauvinism and some Rashomon effects(another pattern in Krishand’s movies) are what make the first half of the movie. In the second half you will witness the fragility of the same macho elements and the shades of femme fatale.

Some of the frames in PP remind me of Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam and Pudhupettai, and those cinematic frameworks reflect Krishand’s outside the box making. Here everything is connected, be it an Orange juice, a bottle, a Rose flower, an underwritten character, everything serves a purpose and that elevates the experience of the viewer.

Darshana stated in a recent interview, “Usually, you have a master shot and then you go for a person’s close-up or over-the-shoulder shots and you are familiar with all of that.”But in Purusha Pretham, it wasn’t.” This is pretty evident in the film. All the characters are at the margins of the frame leaving a space besides (no spoiler 🙂 )

There are no stars (except Darshana), dramatic stunts, or slapstick comedy in the film. But director Krishand incorporated all the tiny elements that will entertain every category of viewers. There are parts of the film where silence would have been appropriate, but he still included some haunting background music and songs by Ajmal Hasbullah.There are some raps that replicate the contemporary style of mallu trends that will elevate the mood of the film, and that’s the beauty of this dark noir crime comedy.

I truly admire Krishand’s research for this film and the way he incorporated some cliches in Malayalam films when it comes to police officers (maybe he was mocking). In his previous film, there is a scene where the character Vava suddenly gets a lot of fish; similar cliched elements to excite the common man can be found in Purusha Pretham as well. Especially, in the climax event of ‘Super’ Sebastian.

Purusha pretham Climax scene
A scene from Purusha Pretham credits: SonyLIv

Krishand and writer Ajith Haridas deserve praise for their nuanced portrayal of police characters in the movie. Instead of painting them all with a khaki shade, Krishand added separate character sketches for each police officer, which made them stand out from one another. Furthermore, the way he humanizes the police force is another entertaining factor in the movie. Sanju Shivram, Jeo Baby, Rahul Rajagopal, and Zhinz Shan all bring a smile to your face with their delightful performances.

Alexander Prashanth and veteran actor Jagadeesh were the two people who stole the show. The way Prashanth delivered ‘The Shades of Sebastian’ was impeccable. At some point, I felt like this character was written specifically for him. Jagadeesh’s portrayal of Dileep was an extension of his character from ‘Rorschach’.

In one word, this is a movie for every set of audience. This is an ideal material for a post-Friday film (a film that will be popular upon its release). I hope next time Krishand will deliver a Friday film since this is going to be the talk of the town soon.

Rekha: Jithin Issac, Vincy Aloshious & Minimalism

Jithin Issac Thomas’ new malayalam film Rekha is about Rekha and Arjun, Arjun sneaks into Rekha’s house one night to spend time with her, but the next day, he is missing. The film explores how that one night changes everything for Rekha. Are you intrigued yet?

Lyz Lenz quote related to the theme of Malayalam Movie Rekha
Image credits: instagram/I_Filmiholic

In the beginning if you think you are getting a feel-good film, think again, It’s a Jithin Issac Film. He makes us uneasy from the very start of the film.

I love the way Jithin scripted its confrontation act. A casual question about a pet dog asked during a sweet moment between the couple and a casual answer turns everything upside down. It is an intelligently written scene.

The star of the film is undoubtedly Vincy Aloshious, who portrays the titular tomboyish woman perfectly. It’s truly one of her best performances yet.

The visual and sound design of the movie is immersive, despite the minimalist approach. The director of photography, Abraham Joseph, who previously worked on “Kumari,” does an excellent job of creating an atmosphere filled with grit and menace.

As with Jithin’s other films, “Rekha” delves into politics. The movie sheds light on how people are labelled based on their origin(Character: Savitha Teacher or even Rekha), and the way Jithin incorporates Dalit politics into his movies is fascinating.

Remember if you compare this with a revenge drama like the Kill Bill/ 22 FK space I would say it’s a half-baked attempt because of the several pointless extended scenes of violence.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an engaging movie with a captivating storyline, “Rekha” is a great choice. Don’t miss out on this must-watch film that showcases the talents of Jithin Issac Thomas and Vincy Aloshious in its most minimalistic appraoch.

Read more about Jithin Issac Thomas here.