Vellithira
Blog on Malayalam Movies, Music, and Arts

Feb
08

From today, Vellithira is moving to a permanent home. With this change comes a name change too. The new site is

http://varnachitram.com

When we started this site we did not know that there would be such an overwhelming response to our articles. As the readership started increasing, we realized that it should have its own domain and should not be piggybacking on wordpress hosted service.

While the wordpress.com hosted service is great for starters, it does not allow the administrator to tweak the templates freely. It also does not allow us to import themes or plugins. We will be enhacing varnachitram.com with new features which will make it easy to navigate and find articles.

So please update your bookmarks, blogrolls and feeds.

Feb
08

From today, Vellithira is moving to a permanent home. With this change comes a name change too. The new site is

http://varnachitram.com

When we started this site we did not know that there would be such an overwhelming response to our articles. As the readership started increasing, we realized that it should have its own domain and should not be piggybacking on wordpress hosted service.

While the wordpress.com hosted service is great for starters, it does not allow the administrator to tweak the templates freely. It also does not allow us to import themes or plugins. We will be enhacing varnachitram.com with new features which will make it easy to navigate and find articles.

So please update your bookmarks, blogrolls and feeds.

Feb
07

mohanlalNavya

Kerala State Film Awards for 2005 has been announced by a jury with Sibi Malayil as the chairman

Category Winner
Best Film Thanmatra
Best Director Blessy
Best Actor Mohanlal (Thanmatra)
Best Actress Navya Nair (Saira, Kanne Madanguga)
Acting – Special Mention by Jury Dilip (Chanthupottu)
Best Actor(Runner Up) Salim Kumar (Achanurangatha Veedu)
Best Actress(Runner Up) Bhavana (Daivanamathil)
Best Film (Runner Up) Achanurangatha Veedu
Popular Movie Achuvinte Amma
Best Screenplay Blessy (Thanmatra)
Best Story Aryadan Shoukath (Daivanamathil)
Best Song Writer Ponkunnam Damodaran (Nottam)
Best Music Director M.G.Radhakrishnan (Ananthabadram – Thira…)
Best Male Singer M.Jayachandran (Nottam – Melle Melle…)
Best Female Singer K.S.Chitra (Nottam – Mayangipoyi …)
Best Background score Ramesh Narayanan
Best Editing Sreekar Prasad (Ananthabadram)
Best Cinematography Santosh Sivan (Ananthabadram)
Best Debut Director Roshan Andrews (Udayananu Tharam)
Best Child Actor Baby Neeraja (Kanne Madanguga)
Best Art Direction Sunil Babu (Ananthabadram)
Best Dubbing artist Sarath Das, Surya S Nair (Achuvinte Amma)
Best Sound Recording Ajith George (Adbutha Dweep)
Best Dance Direction Vrinda (Udayananu Tharam)
Best Lab Gemini Color Lab
Best Makeup Artist Pattanam Rasheed (Ananthabadram)
Best Costume Design M.P.Satheesh (Adbutha Dweep)
Best Short Film Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair(by Adoor Gopalakrishnan)
Best Book on Cinema Cinemayum Samskaravum (K.Gopinathan )
Special Jury Mention Arjunlal (Thanmatra)
Special Jury Mention Ajayan (Adbutha Dweep)
P.K.Pillai Award for Best Cinema Essay P.S.Radhakrishnan
Best Cinema Essay Classicugal Komali Nadakangal Avunathu(Vijayakrishnan)
Feb
07
K J Yesudas K S Chitra

As usual Malayalam Cinema produced good music in 2005 and we have a brief review of what was worth listening. We also talk about each singer’s best work, the best films and the best music directors.

We believe that Yesudas and Chitra are God’s gift to mankind and so let’s start with them. Yesudas had a wonderful year with excellent songs in Chandrolsavam, Vadakkumnathan, Ananthabhadram, Naran and Udayananu Tharam. The specific songs were Muttathethum Thennale (Chandrolsavam), Oru Kili Paatu (Vadakkum nathan), Thumbikinnaram (Naran), Thiranurayum (Ananthabhadram), Parayathey Ariyathey (Udayananu Tharam).

Chitra had only a few good songs last year and the ones we liked were Minnadi Minnadi (Naran), Oru Kili Paatu (Vadakkum Nathan), and Kalabham Tharam (Vadakkum Nathan)

Our next favourite singer is Sujatha and she too like Chitra had only a few songs like Munthiripadam (Kochi Rajavu) and Panchayathilu (Pandipada). Among the upcoming singers we like Madhu Balakrishnan’s voice and liked only Kinavil Vannu Nee from Manju Peyyum Munpe

S. Janaki came back with one beautiful song Azhakkadalinte for the film Chanthupottu.. Parasurama once took a vow to cleanse the world of all Kshatriyas and similary Udit Narayan has taken a vow to butcher all South Indian languages. He did Malayalam with the song Munthiripadam (Kochi Rajavu)

All the nasal singers, MG Sreekumar, Afsal and Vineeth Srinivasan had some good songs. MG’s good songs were Pinakkamano (Ananthabhadram), Vel Muruga (Naran), Mindathedi (Thanmatra) and Afsal had Panchayathilu (Pandipada). Vineeth Srinivasan made some background noise for the film Naran, but his noticeable song was Omanapuzha for Chanthupottu. Another nasal singer Pradeep made his debut with Pandimelam from the super hit film Rajamanikyam

Jayachandran had some excellent songs like Amma Manassu (Rapakal), Araarum (Chandrolsavum), and Ithaloorna (Thanmatra). The one song wonders were Gayatri with Thumbikinnaram (Naran), Kalabhavan Mani with Malamallalooya (Ananthabhadram), Manjari with Pinakkamano (Ananthabhadram), Karthik and Meenu with Mele Vellithinkal (Thanmatra), and Sruthi with Mindathedi (Thanmatra)

Our favourite music director Raveendran had only one film, Vadakkum Nathan and it had some good songs. Another favourite music director Vidyasagar had hits in Chanthupottu., Chandrolsavum and Kochi Rajavu. His music for the film Alice in Wonderland did not impress us at all. Our third favourite music director, Deepak Dev, had hits in Naran and  Ben Johnson, but we did not like any of the songs in Ben Johnson including the most popular one Sona Sona.

Two music directors, M G Radhakrishnan and Mohan Sithara had excellent music in 2005. M G Radhakrishnan had a hit in Ananthabhadram and Mohan Sithara did beautiful songs for Thanmatra and Rapakal

Ousepachan, who is an excellent violinist had a disappointing year with Police, Udayon and Thaskaraveeran. Only the song Angethala (Udayon) was worth listening. It was the same with M. Jayachandran who provided music for Bus Conductor, Sankar Dada, Paranju Theeratha Viseshangal but impressed us with the one song Omane in Vinayan’s Boyy Friend.

Alex Paul had a good song in Rajamanikyam. The folks who disappointed us include Suresh Peters (Pandipada), Illayaraja (Achuvinte Amma), Benny Johnson (Five Fingers), Alphonse Joseph (Iruvattam Manavatti) and Thej (Manikkan)

To summarize, the movies we liked most are Thanmatra, Naran, Chanthupottu., Ananthabhadram, Vadakkum Nathan and Rapakal

2005 also saw the death of music director Raveendran. He passed away on March 3, 2005, following breathing problems and we will never have songs of the standard as Pramadavanam and Ezhu Swarangalum again.

We told you that Ousepachan is an accomplished violinist and so we leave you with his instrumental version of Angethala from Udayon

See Also: 2005 – Heroines, 2005 – Year of superstars

Feb
06

vesham

We have lost count of how many All Sacrificing BrotherTM (ASB) movies we have seen, this must be Malayalees answer to Bollywoods Jai-Vijay twins separated at birth type of movies. And with the moderate success of Vesham, it seems that Malayalees still has appetite for these type of movies.

Pappan(Innocent) was a porter in Calicut market but went on to build a huge business empire and some enemies. His arch enemy is Sivankutty Menon(Sai Kumar) son of Pappan’s erstwhile partner and benefactor. Sivankutty is jealous of Pappan’s wealth and thinks that it should belong to him and vows to destroy Pappan and family.

Pappan’s eldest son is Appukuttan Menon(Mammootty). He’s fondly addressed as Appettan by locals, if you have seen Balettan(by the same director), then we don’t have much more to add about this character. Patron saint of poor people, good son, good father, good husband and basically a role model for perfect human being.

Pappan looses his legs in one accident orchestrated by Sivankutty, but Pappan keeps the information about Sivankutty’s involvement to himself. Pappan still wants to reconcile with Sivankutty – this is out of respect to Sivankutty’s father. Pappan and Appu run their business empire, named Leela group, after Pappan’s late wife, more for charity than for profits.

At this juncture Pappan’s second son Hari(Indrajit) returns from London after completing his MBA and job training. As soon as he returns he dutifully marries the girl(Gopika) pointed out by his elder brother. But he does not agrees with the business practices of his father and elder brother. He wanted to modernise and make Leela Group more profit oriented.

Unknowingly he becomes pawn in the shrewd game played by Sivankutty. Rest of the movie is about how this picture perfect family goes to the brink and brought back by the ASB. Without revealing the plot we can assure the readers that there is nothing new in the plot.

Mammootty has done a good job, but then he has done a lot of similar roles, hence one would say that practice made it perfect. Innocent gave a stellar performance as Mammootty’s father, he was very much in/under control and did a convincing job. Another act worth mentioning is Jagathi’s, like Innocent, Jagathi was kept also in tight reins and gave a good performance in a semi-serious role.

Sai Kumar was convincing in his villain role. Cochin Haneefa tried to provide comic relief by doing his idiot act, but we were relieved when he’s not in the scene. Mohini is Mammootty’s wife in this movie. There were many other place holders, none left an impression.

T.A Razzak’s screnplay is predictable and is a rehash of several simlar movies – like Valiettan, Vatsalyam etc. V.M.Vinu’s direction is average at best. S.A.Rajkumar, Tamil music director, debuted in this movie, and did a decent job.

So if you have not seen any of the big brother movies before, this movie would be a family entertainer, don’t forget to bring the handkerchief along.

Feb
03
Suresh Gopi Bhavana

Apart from the CBI series, not many murder mysteries have come out in recent times. Even if you look back, there are not many memorable ones, except for Mukham, Kariyilakkattu Pole, Utharam and The Truth. Now two new murder mysteries are in the making with Suresh Gopi and Kalabhavan Mani in the lead roles.

In the first one, Chintamani Kola Case, Suresh Gopi plays an advocate, and that too a maverick one which would be like adding salt to a lemon soda. This movie, directed by Shaji Kailas also is quite different in the sense that Suresh Gopi does not carry a gun but instead the gun carries Suresh Gopi (OK, we are kidding here).

In the movie, Chintamani (Bhavana), a college student is murdered and her nine hostel mates are accused of the crime. Lal Krishna Viradiar (Suresh Gopi) takes up the case and solves the mystery.

One problem which director Shaji Kailas faced was that he needed nine girls to ooze glamour. Since it was a Malayalam film it was difficult for him to find actresses to play such roles, and so he had to import some models. If only Shaji had read our blog regularly, he would have a got a clue on how to solve this problem.

This movie also uses spot editing, a technique by which the entire scene can be seen immediately after filming so that problems can be rectified instantly. As far as we know, spot editing cannot fix loop holes in the screenplay.

The second murder mystery, Ravanan, stars Kalabhavan Mani as police officer Ravanan Varghese (no relation to the guy in Ramayana). In this movie, a judge is murdered and Ravanan uses his brain (or ten brains) to solve the case.

Since the mythological Ravanan had 10 heads, he must have been able to think faster, so Jojo K. Verghese tells us. “Imagine a police officer who thinks and fights like Ravanan. He is my film’s hero,” he adds. Jojo has forayed into direction after working as associate to film director Bhadran.[Another whodunit]

Bhadran had only one head and maybe that was the reason most of this recent films have flopped. Hope Jojo learns from his mistakes.

Jan
31

As predicted, the Lion is roaring. According to reports, this political-family entertainer is a big hit due to the unprecedented opening. Lion was also helped by the fact that the release of Balram vs Taradas has been moved to March. The music is by one of our favourite composers, Deepak Dev and he has really disappointed us with two terrible songs. Here is the review roundup.

From SIFY:

Dileep is undoubtedly the scene-stealer of the film with some best written punch line dialogues and his body language after he becomes a minister is commendable. Kavya Madhavan looks like a sumo fighter as she looks too bloated especially in song sequences. The two songs tuned by Deepak Dev with background score of Ouseppachan is added highlight of the film. On the downside, there is nothing new in this political masala and is lengthy at 2 hours 40 minutes. Some trimming might help to make it a bit more racy. If you are looking for some fun Lion adds up to a time-pass political mass entertainer. [Lion]

From nowrunning.com:

Dileep puts on a masterly performance as Krishnakumar. Sai Kumar, Shammi Thilakan and Riaz Khan excel as his three scheming in-laws, bureaucrats who are in cahoots with his father and are out to exploit his political clout for personal gain. Kalasala Babu impresses as the corrupt politician. Jagathy does justice to the role of PA to the corrupt Minister. Dileep himself takes care of the comedy department and is ably supported by Jagathy, Innocent, Cochin Haneefa, Salim Kumar and Harisree Ashokan. The romantic angle is provided by Kaavya Madhavan who is the daughter of an erstwhile servant of Balagangadharan. Joshy has made the best of what apparently is a low budget film. [Lion]

When it comes to animals, Malayalees definitely prefer the Lion over the Tiger.

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