God’s Mischief -The Journey of Survival

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Pathemari
Direction: Salim Ahamed
Cast: Mammootty, Jewel Mary, Siddique, Sreenivasan, Salim Kumar, Shaheen Siddique, Viji Chandrasekhar and Joy Mathew.

Plot premise:The plot features the life of Pallikkal Narayanan who migrated to the Middle-East during his teenage years in the early 1980s, when the Kerala Gulf boom was at its peak. He belongs to a very poor family and was forced to take up the responsibilities at a young age. He plans to leave Gulf and settle in his hometown when he comes for every vacation; but is always forced to go back.

12107808_10153714338017774_3017800305717842928_nEven adventure enthusiasts would think twice before crossing the Arabian Sea on a dhow without ample gadgets.  50 years ago, desperately poor Malayalees with no hope, little skills and a growling belly, hung on to the billowing sails that took them to an unknown land of plenty. The newly gushing oil wells of the Persian Gulf were beckoning cheap labour in the mid-1960s.

12079518_10153716277907774_2037661269262551633_nThe first generation of migrant Malayalee workers who ended up in the deserts of West Asia knew not where they were headed for. They only knew their Dravidian tongue, the virgin paddy fields, the bountiful rivers and the sound of the never-ending rain, but soon they were all Malayalees of Arabia, turning their desert dreams into mansions back home, building a new Kerala.

10410697_10153494170737774_1450299502487338457_nPathemari” or “the dhow” recreate the journey of a young, desperate Malayalee from the Kerala coast to the Gulf in an old cargo vessel. Malayalees’ Mega Star’ Mammooty, play the role of the carpetbagger. Interestingly, 35 years ago, Mammooty had played a small role in Vilkkanundu Swapnangal(1980) the first Malayalam movie on the Gulf migration. Mammootty’s voice was dubbed by Sreenivasan.

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Every Keralite has at least one friend or relative who is struggling to support his/her family by working tirelessly in Dubai. Pathamari” is about such struggling Malayalis in Dubai. As it is a familiar story for many of us, there is no suspense element in it, but we still sit firmly on our seats just to see what happens next.

USMM 30 - 3The way the movie ends is also quite nice and this adds to the overall good when Narayanan’s coffin is brought in, his best friend proposes that it be kept on the verandah of the new house that was being built, that had been the man’s dream. When his sons think otherwise, Narayanan leaves home once again, never to return.

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SALT MANGO TREE: 3.5/5
SALT (chemistry):The story is not new, but the way it has been presented along with the right casting makes it a must watch. Hats off to director Salim Ahamed for bringing such a real life story to reel life, helping many realise the struggles of each and every pravasi
MANGO (what’s fresh?): Refreshing to see Sreenivasan in a role that tells a tale or two of its own.
TREE (strength): After critically praised C.K. Raghavan in Munnariyippu(2014) & the disturbingly real Venu in Varsham(2014). Mammooty’s Pallikkal Narayanan is yet one more of his most hard-hitting performances during recent times, it is a treat to watch the hero, who portrays the character in a dedicated manner.

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  • Courtesy : various sources
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The Big Hearted Returns

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Dilwale
Direction: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan & Kriti Sanon

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Plot premise:
Raj is a humble car mechanic who helps the needy. He also keeps away from unnecessary fights and quarrels. His ambition is to bring up his brother, Veer. A flashback shows that Raj was actually once a Don named Kaali in Bulgaria. (Inspiration : Baasha – 1995 &  Old Telugu Movies)

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It’s a long date with SRK that occasionally stumble on the edge of boredom, but it certainly isn’t all wrong. Parts of Dilwale, propelled by a spirit of inspired lunacy holds this no-holds-barred action comedy in good town.

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If only it had enough substance to sustain its momentum all the way to the very end, it would probably have been far more fun to watch.

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If you hang in there and do not allow the many distractions and diversions along the way throw you off road, you might find yourself getting into the swing of things, especially in the first half.

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Some of the scenes might seem rather unnecessary and overstretched. Dilwale delivers exactly what you would expect from a Rohit Shetty film: runaway entertainment; that has a crowd-pleaser illuminated all over it.

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The director comes up with a movie that has all the tried-and-tested ingredients of the romance genre that runs somewhat low on velocity at times in his brand of filmmaking.

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SALT MANGO TREE: 3/5
SALT (chemistry): SRK and Kajol.
MANGO (what’s fresh?): Breathtaking locales (Iceland and Bulgaria) & Kriti Sanon.
TREE (strength): Shah Rukh’s mega-stardom & Varun’s enthusiasm.

Barn Owl

Vellimoonga (1)

Vellimoonga
Direction: Jibu Jacob
Cast: Biju Menon, Nikki Galrani, Aju Varghese, Tini Tom, Lena, Siddique & K. P. A. C. Lalitha

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‘Velli Moonga’ is not the film that takes the house down with vulgar belly laugh, but it’s a fine comical that’s a total cash winner. The story is not exceptionally novel either & yet it scripts quite a few stirring witty jiffies that are splashed all the way through.

Jibu240914_mThe movie holds its own ground even in the burst of new gen cinema that’s generating waves at the moment. The film proves that films – old school or new – will go on to bill if the language that it tells comes straight out of the heart.

PosterBiju Menon stay alive on the borders of Malayalam cinema doing second lead or negative roles in superstar films until directors learned he has a knack for comedy. Ever since then he is given an equal billing with the hero. As Mamachan he excels in a role tailor-made for him. Aju Varghese delivers bounteous backing and leaves his streak on a few scenes.

vellimoongaHaving arrived with limited titles, here is a surprise winner that’s enjoyable and possibly the finest choice in the midst of the latest ones.It has a platform which many flop films had in the past and an unconventional hero heroine equation. Even with these odds Vellimoonga succeeds in becoming a clean entertainer by having creative humor all over the script.

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SALT MANGO TREE: 3/5
SALT (chemistry): The comic sequences between both Biju Menon and Aju Varghese.
MANGO (what’s fresh?): A well narrated comedy that is not wildly exaggerated.
TREE (strength): A wholesome entertainment with humor that is genuine & not a mad caper.

Rain Man

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Varsham
Direction : Ranjith Sankar
Cast : Mammootty, Asha Sarath, Mamtha Mohandas, Prajwal Prasad, T G Ravi, Irshad & Sudheer Karamana.

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After several half-hearted struggles during recent years, Mammootty has finally hit the bullseye in director Ranjith Sankar’s ‘Varsham’. Mammootty loans his heart and soul & comes up full-circle with a sensitively fresh performance that will leave your eyes wet on quite a few instances.

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This pacifying shower of sympathy and generosity is definitely Ranjith Sankar’s best work yet. It is an exceptional story of spirit and a mournfully moving narrative of kindness. One monsoon that each one of us need to get fortunately soaked in.

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Ranjith Sankar has made a name for himself by conveying a social message through his films. This time he sequences his firearms on the non-banking financial companies that rip off the common man by loaning money at a ridiculous rate of interest and taking families to the lip of suicide.

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It is a revised style of those typecast movies from the past, but even then it has been presented well.
Numerous scenes are weepies, but they loan an air of matter as no other film in the immediate past has been able to. Reasonably orchestrated, these renderings are appealing, deeply moving, rich and original.

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SALT MANGO TREE: 3/5
SALT (chemistry): Varsham carries the brand of Ranjith Sankar which is heightened by Mammootty’s company.
MANGO (what’s fresh?): The act by the performers and their selection for the movie.
TREE (strength): Flashes that take benefit of the stand-in expertise of Mammootty.

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Winners & Losers

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Happy New Year
Direction: Farah Khan
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Vivaan Shah, Sonu Sood and Jackie Shroff

happy-new-year-posterThere has at all times been this dispute of the common-sense and the no common sense. The inspirational and the masala. It is vibrant since previous years that the so called “No brainers” rule the box office when it comes to Bollywood.

Be it the Ajay series (of the likes Golmaal, Singham), Salman series (of the likes Ready, Dabangg), Akshay series (of the likes Rowdy Rathore, Housefull)… Yes & the largest of them all till date Dhoom 3.

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So what’s mutual here in this Ocean’s eleven indianised? They all are amusing while it lasts, but it might not leave the viewer with the sense of having watched a film that is truly exceptional.

There are two kinds of people…

One; those who correspond to Shah Rukh Khan & Two: those who share the same amount of distaste to Shah Rukh Khan.

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This latest entry into the Blockbuster-100crore club-No brainer (all the same) is only n only  for Shah Rukh fans. All those Anti SRK who walk into this Farah Khan gala will feel mixed up and will gather the final joke of Happy New Year is on you, the viewer. They will obviously bring home more disgust for this longtime Super Star of Indian Cinema.

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Disagreeing to them are the loyal fan base of King Khan, who hanged on to see their idol; his trademark dialogues, his hyped 8-12 packs, his charming romantics & his now iconic standing pose. The movie originates, develops and finishes with Khan. Adding to the fun is the ever loving Boman, the innocent Sonu, the chilled out Vivaan, the beautiful and funny Deepika & the surprise package of the movie; BachanJr. Abhishek is at his comic best, perhaps a show that averages with Bol Bachchan. Suggesting a road BachanJr should dome alongside more.

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There is nothing wide of the mark with Happy New Year if all that you are eyeing for is a good old timepass, entertainment & Shah Rukh Khan. The film grips your attention till the end credits. Happy New Year offers Shah Rukh fans ample reasons to stay inside the hall. Happy New Year is a film which all solid Shah Rukh fans will force you to see as it has all the basics of the popular Shah Rukh films.

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SALT MANGO TREE: 2/5
SALT (chemistry): Farah Khan teams up back again with Shah Rukh Khan.
MANGO (what’s fresh?): Jackie Shroff excels in a villainous role.
TREE (strength): Its grand, beautiful, exotic locations across Dubai & all the SRK moves which fans love.

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The Seven Noble Thieves

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Direction: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Reenu Mathews, Asif Ali, Sanusha, Neeraj Madhav, Nedumudi Venu, Vinod Chemban, Sudheer Karamana, Joy Mathew and Mangolian artist Flower Battsetseg. (Lijo Jose Pellissery in an excellent cameo).

sapthamashree-thaskaraha-re.jpg.image.784.410A satire that conveys a lot of things in the public we turn eyeless to, or don’t pay attention to. Seven strangers bump into in a prison, after finishing their prison term; they set off on a heist operation by framing a plan.

content_10538592_689095611145506_3741195954160660132_nThe film speaks some best one-liners, and at least a couple of them are bound to have you in splits. Exclusively gripping is the setting of the narrative that has the story straightening out in the form of a confession.

sapthamashree-thaskaraha-still-1Taking place in the middle of the confession box at the church, where the exchanges are mixed with wit, and the jail surroundings, Radhakrishnan bit by bit lets his characters grow upon the audience. He has devotedly etched each one of them in great detail.

SALT MANGO TREE: 4/5
SALT (chemistry): Totally out of the regular, the narration gives the cutting edge. Asif Ali, Vinod Chemban and Neeraj Madhav gather applause & impress everyone.
MANGO (what’s fresh?): Simplicity. The movie linger in the mind long after it is over; a film that leaves a lasting impression in the minds of the audience.
TREE (strength): Radhakrishnan has attempted a different genre from his North 24 Kaatham (2013), and once again he scores.

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The Perfect Guest

@The Guest - Releasing on 09 October 2014

The Guest
Direction : Adam Wingard
Cast : Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer and Lance Reddick.

Old soldier David shows up suddenly on the doorway of the Peterson family made up of parents, a teenage daughter named Anna and grade-school-age son Luke. He claims to be a good friend of their eldest son who had been killed in war.

THE GUESTDavid is the picture-perfect guest, welcoming and ready to lend a hand. The Petersons comfy David into their household and into their lives, but the minute folks start strangely dying in town, their teenage daughter Anna, ducked in her bedroom decked with Goth-Girl skull-and-crossbones, frantically tries to number out further about the hot guest, now asleep in the room next door.

Sequence 01.Still017CDavid’s actual motives for arriving are at no time to a certain extent clarified. The climax (set in a decorative spooky house designed for a school Halloween dance) feels a little average and slightly self-conscious as a horror homage, given the powerful material that pave the way to it. And the fadeout “gotcha!” is neither very startling nor substantial.

THE GUESTEven when it goes off the bars and becomes silly it’s still entertaining as an unspoiled suspenseful story. This one is easily an engaging and competent low-budget thriller. It throws you back to the 1970s and the 1980s political thrillers, involving glowing board-rooms populated by stone-faced military brass & top-secret briefcases.

THE_GUEST_709DOM_OAR_PRORES_4444_20140522 (1.45.47.21)CSALT MANGO TREE: 3/5

SALT (chemistry): The standout, badass performance & winning presence from Dan Stevens (probably best known as Matthew Crawley on “Downton Abbey”).
MANGO (what’s fresh?): The tense, action-packed and unpredictable plot.
TREE (strength): Adam Wingard is ready for as big a budget as anyone is willing to give him.

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