Tag: films

The Best Malayalam Movies of 2016 So Far

Following is a video I created of the top 7 films based on the 60 or so odd titles released between January and June. For the chart, scroll down.

As per Wikipedia, a total of one hundred and eighteen Malayalam-language feature films have released in Mollywood so far (November). While that may sound hard to believe, it is even more perplexing to know that only a fraction of these titles are watchable. Do you know there is a Mallu film called ‘Appuram Bengal Ippuram Thiruvathamkoor‘ that released in the first week of March and which is one of the better films of 2016? Guess not.

The full list of 15 best Malayalam films can be watched below:

Here we have the best Malayalam films of 2016 that are worth the ticket (or DVD or BluRay disc) price and won’t be a waste of time in this fast-paced, continuously-changing lives of ours where there is no shortage of entertainment material.

This list is based on the mean value of my personal ratings, and those of Malayalam film industry’s eminent film critics like Veeyen of NowRunning; Sify.com; and Lensmen Movie Reviews. Updated monthly, and last on: 30 December 2016.

List of top Malayalam Movies of 2016 so far –

  1. MAHESHINTE PRATHIKAARAM (Last month – 1; Peak – 1) – Review
  2. KISMATH (Last month – 2; Peak – 2) – Review
  3. ANURAGA KARIKKIN VELLAM (Last month – 3; Peak – 3) – Review
  4. ACTION HERO BIJU (Last month – 4; Peak – 2) – Review
  5. OZHIVUDIVASATHE KALI (Last month – 5; Peak – 3) – Review
  6. AANANDAM (Last month – 6; Peak – 5) – Review
  7. MOONAM NAAL NJAYARAZHCHA (Last month – 11; Peak – 4) – Review
  8. GUPPY (Last month – 7, Peak – 3) – Review
  9. KALI (Last month – 8; Peak – 3) – Review
  10. KATTAPPANAYILE RITHWIK ROSHAN (Last month – 9; Peak – 9) – Review
  11. PULIMURUGAN (Last month – 10; Peak – 9) – Review
  12. ANN MARIA KALIPPILANU (Last month – 12; Peak – 9) – Review
  13. PUTHIYA NIYAMAM (Last month – 13; Peak – 4) – Review
  14. KAMMATTI PAADAM (Last month – 14; Peak – 6) – Review
  15. LENS (Last month – 15; Peak – 8)
  16. 2 PENKUTTIKAL (Last month – 17; Peak – 5) – Review
  17. PRETHAM (Last month – 18; Peak – 13) – Review
  18. JALAM (Last month – 19; Peak – 6)
  19. OLAPPEEPPI (Last month – 20; Peak – 18)
  20. PAAVADA (Last month – 21; Peak – 7) – Review
  21. JACOBINTE SWARGARAJYAM (Last month – 22; Peak – 9)
  22. LEELA (Last month – 23; Peak – 8)
  23. SCHOOL BUS (Last month – 24; Peak – 9)
  24. ORU MUTHASSI GADHA (Last month – 30; Peak – 29) – Review
  25. KOCHAVVA PAULO AYYAPPA COELHO (Last month – 27; Peak – 24) – Review
  26. SWARNA KADUVA (Last month – 25, Peak – 25) – Review
  27. OPPAM (Last month – 26; Peak – 13) – Review
  28. KARINKUNNAM 6s (Last month – 28; Peak – 13)
  29. VISMAYAM (Last month – 29; Peak – 22) – Review
  30. JANATHA GARAGE (Last month – 40; Peak – 35)
  31. JAMES & ALICE (Last month – 31; Peak – 14)
  32. VETTAH (Last month – 32; Peak – 9)
  33. KASABA (Last month – 33; Peak – 26)
  34. OOZHAM (Last month – 34; Peak – 23) – Review
  35. KAVI UDDHESHICHATHU..? (Last month – 35; Peak – 33)
  36. HAPPY WEDDING (Last month – 36; Peak – 19)
  37. DARWINTE PARINAMAM (Last month – 37; Peak – 17)
  38. MONSOON MANGOES (Last month – 38; Peak – 8)
  39. POPCORN (Last month – 39; Peak – 32) – Review
  40. MUDHUGAUV (Last month – 41; Peak – 18)
  41. KING LIAR (Last month – 42; Peak – 11)
  42. INSPECTOR DAWOOD IBRAHIM (IDI) (Last month – 43; Peak – 31) – Review
  43. MOHAVALAYAM (Last month – 44; Peak – 15)

[Note: Titles marked in orange are fillers, meaning they have a combined rating of less than 50%. Titles marked in blue are both new entrants and fillers. Titles marked in green are new entrants but not fillers, meaning they have a combined rating of more than 50%; titles marked in red were part of the list, but are not anymore; they have combined rating of less than 40%, so not included.]

How many have you watched? Which is your favorite Malayalam padam this year?

NEW – The Best Malayalam Movies of 2016 – List

A video countdown of the top 20 Malayalam movies of 2015 released between December 2014 and November 2015. Best viewed in 1080p and using headphones. Enjoy! (For some reason the video does not play on mobile devices. Please use your desktop to avoid missing out.)

(Special thanks to Rolling Stone Staff Writer David Ehrlich for the inspiration.)

“The Double Theme” by Andrew Hewitt
“Arike Pozhiyum” by Govind Menon (100 DAYS OF LOVE)
“Shaji Pappan Intro Song” by Shaan Rahman (AADU)
“Looper Theme” by Rajesh Murugesan (PREMAM)
“Wild Tales Theme” by Gustavo Santaolalla (WILD TALES)
“Drumline Beats” by Jeff Russo & Ryan MacMillan (FARGO TV Series)
“High Speed Drifting” by Rajesh Murugesan (PREMAM)
“Unfinished Hope” by Rajesh Murugesan (PREMAM)
“Beginners Theme Suite” by Roger Neill, Dave Palmer, & Brian Rwitzell
“The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)

Malayalam Hit Movies of 2015 List: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls076103957/
Malayalam Flop/Bad Movies of 2015 List: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls076593525/
Greatest Malayalam Films of All Time: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls072575464/
All lists: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur34967775/lists

15 Best Hindi Movies of 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnpkJW7Gcn4

Thank you for watching!

At The Movies With My Future Son

The year is 2025.

My wife has ditched me and instead gone to a girls-only party. A fanatic movie enthusiast that I am, I took my ten-year old son to the movies. Since 2015, I have never heard an offensive/objectionable word in a film, nor have I witnessed any glorification of bloodshed (a feature I instead witness daily at my home during the frequent, high-intensity fights with my wife) in them. For nudity, I often turn to my wife and she to me. Let me not talk about our extra marital affairs. Porn in the internet has lost its glory. The Indian government has banned my favorite websites, and the few ones that have the capability to run a proxy server demand my credit card details. To be precise, going to the movies is like going to an exhibition which displays everything polished, with fiction. Realism is nowhere to be found.

The film was a 90-minute crime drama titled “In The Glory.” I didn’t mind taking my pre-teen son for a crime drama movie, thanks to the responsible CBFC. I had grown much fond of the censor board for thoroughly regulating the films that these imbecile producers throw at us, and in fact, had even led me to follow their scrupulous way of handling things in the complex modern world. Once I even pulled off a Pahlaj Nihalani on my work group: what I did was slashed the salaries of all my juniors and then blamed it on my seniors, of which there were none. I told them, with the tongue firmly on my cheek, “This was not my decision. I have merely slashed your fat salaries on the command of our company Board which I also happen to be the Chairperson of. You will have to manage with this because, all this time you all have easily gotten away with a lot of objectionable behaviour by bending the guidelines. I cannot allow this anymore.”

The following is part of a duologue that occurred just seconds after we left the theater hall.

Tejas: So, what do you think? How was it?
Tejas Jr.: The hero’s intentions were not clear. What was he trying to say?
Tejas: I think he wanted to avenge the death of his virgin girlfriend. So he traces her murderer.
Tejas Jr.: Eh? Wait, what? What does a virgin mean? Besides, they never told us she was murdered.
Tejas: Virgin means a person who has never had an intercourse. I learned that when I was a child like you. I had gone to watch a romantic movie with my girlfriend. When this word was mentioned in the film with a proper but vulgar definition, I asked my girlfriend whether she was one? I never saw her again.
Tejas Jr.: You had a girlfriend?
I dismissed it to be a rhetoric question.
Tejas: The montage where they pixelated the body of his girlfriend clearly told us that she was murdered.
Tejas Jr.: Wrong! That montage was a fantasy-led dream the boy had after a date with her. Also, there was no blood.
Tejas: Oh please! We are not supposed to see blood or nudity. It is against our culture. I believe you did not get the message the movie wanted to convey.
Tejas Jr.: Oh yeah? You think you understood the movie?
Tejas: I understood it very well. I had seen it back in 2015 when it was known as Badlapur. This is estimately the 6300th film on the topic of revenge.
Tejas Jr.: Nonsense! Your puny mind has been exposed to too much violence, cuss words, and bloodshed through films. I cannot help it, and it will be few more years until you totally acclimatize yourself with the safe movies of our generation.
Tejas: Okay, okay. There is no need to shout. Just tell me, what do you think was the movie about?
Tejas Jr.: The movie was a safe drama about crime. Although, I still cannot figure out why it got an A certificate.
Tejas: Back in my time, this movie would have been banned.
Tejas Jr.: Why?
Tejas: Because, few minutes after the beginning credits, for a split-second, when the heroine adjusted her tee-shirt, I could see a part of her neck’s skin. Remember the time I shut your eyes with my palm? Beta, it is not safe for us to watch even a tad bit of nudity in films. It is against our culture, the great Indian culture.

As a film enthusiast, I am strongly against the latest guidelines that the CBFC has laid out, limiting the art of cinema as a craft. It does not make any sense in regulating a film’s language given that it is the most essential part of a motion picture. A film, with its story and themes, cannot stand as an art by itself if some of its integral parts are pruned off. Many National award winning films in the past have had to use strong language to convey a particular theme to its audience, and now, if the censor board members are going to behave like overprotective parents, then clearly there is no hope for growth in Indian cinema. Internationally, Indian celluloid will hold no respect. India is currently regarded a developed nation, and it should start following other free-world countries. USA, Australia, and even the UK have a peer-based review system when it comes to arts. And they rarely regulate a film based on sex and nudity. If they did, Lars von Trier would better shift to catering. So, why can’t India, where more than five hundred movies release in a year, have one? Yes, India’s folklore is a lot different from other countries, but limiting a film’s essential factors will only mean that the film will be less authentic. It directly threatens creativity.

This latest attempt of purging objectionable content from films is as nonsensical and immature as it sounds. Even though the idea that “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it” does not hold much strength, regulating language, nudity, sex, bloodshed, and other offensive materials will only mock the art of cinema. Indian cinema, which has braved so many things in the past, should not submit to the guidelines of a board which has lately been showing traits of fascism.

WATCH a countdown of the 15 Best Hindi Movies of 2015!

CBFC should be dissolved, and then will I even think of watching Fifty Shades of Grey in an Indian theater. That is, if I am even slightly impressed by the book, why, which I wonder, was not banned in the first place.

In Front Of The Screen

Explicit content warning: The post is not suitable for children. Read responsibly!

When it comes to movies, nothing beats a theater experience, the 30 x 70 foot screen being the prime factor. But going in every week to catch the latest movie wouldn’t be possible as far as the wallet is concerned, and it will be better if I don’t talk about money and deviate from the topic in hand here. So, let’s not talk about it.

Empty IMAX theater with multicolored seats

Empty IMAX theater with multicolored seats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It isn’t very hard to choose a cinema theater. While in Mumbai, you have 4-5 options viz. traditional single screens, multiplexes, IMAX screens, domes and illegal setups. I’m sure you are most interested in the last two, but let’s not talk about them either. Single screens usually go for the best movie of a lot i.e. if 5 movies of different languages are releasing, it will opt for the popular, Hindi language one. Also, since the boom of multiplexes, single screens suck at everything: from hygiene to service to quality to the movie selection itself because nowadays the popular movies are the ones which displease. Not many people go there and the ones which go are not quite in line here. And IMAX playhouses are very less in number & costly & screen only 3D flicks which leaves us to only one option: multiplexes.

Online ticket booking sites have revolutionized the way we plan our movies. No more serpentine queues on Friday mornings except if its a Rajinikanth movie playing, no more lovable awkwardness upon the question, “corner seats?” followed by a wink after you say yes from the seller, no more fear of the H word, no more fear of poor selection of seats, and what-not. I always book my tickets online and I can’t even remember the last time I stood in a queue or if there was a queue for that matter. So, for this year’s Valentine’s Day, I planned a movie with my sweetheart. I could never imagine what I was to set my eyes on few hours later, but that is what this post is about.

Let us call the theater in question as “X.”
Two tickets each worth INR 180, which were quite reasonable on the first day of release. There were two other multiplexes but they either didn’t have a showtime that was suitable or the ticket costs had the capability to insult my wallet. Upon arriving late, all thanks to my sweetheart, we somehow found our seats to the H row in less than a minute. Corner seats, of course.

12 perfect faces of displeasure greeted us as we maneuvered (that’s the right word) our way to what she might have thought to be Valentine’s Day bliss. Thanks to my smartphone’s flashlight, I didn’t miss an expression. I pivoted the corner seat for her to sit and then sat on my chair. Next moment was funnier but I saved it for later. She got squeezed between the seat’s cushions and to support herself she caught my shoulder with one hand and with other, oh son of laughing god, a pack of waste which was dumped by some irresponsible patrons after munching on during the previous show. Terrible! Upon examining her ketchup smeared hand, I got a fair idea of what the theater canteen’s menu consisted of.

We walked out to the restroom. The 12 faces’ displeasure meter ticked at low, because now a song was playing and it was an antonym to the word music. The movie was at approximately at its 30th minute. We came back and opted to sit on the front than going back for 2 reasons: she was uncomfortable and I didn’t want another sight of those 12 examples of wrath.

The first half was almost ruined but we didn’t miss much ’cause of the songs. We held hands in the second half and after thorough analysis with the help of my nose, I understood that the ketchup she had her hands covered in was not of a specific brand. There was this pungent smell coming out of somewhere and that interfered in my analysis. My sweetheart had first sensed it since her little juicy incident in the back row. As an adult, I could guess what the odour was of. It was of the spermatozoa.

I was under an impression that only those back seats were famous for kinky sexual escapades. Even I have stolen few kisses out there, but this thought itself was repugnant. As my sweetheart here somehow got engrossed to the movie, I tried to look around because the movie was making no sense. We were in the E row. A gander at what looked like D row revealed a couple snogging expressively. The act kinda aroused me, but what happened next knocked me for six.

I started wondering about the reputation of the cinema theater X. It was a well-established chain brand serving since at least when Dil Chahta Hai came out more than a decade ago. The stench clearly gave away the idea of how cleanliness is not an item on their daily agenda. But, the intensity of the reek told me that it was more than a blob in the seat or few drops on the floor. As sickening it may sound, the following move by the couple left me flabbergasted. What was slightly exciting, now proved to play against it.

The couple were so eloquent and upright-looking that I could easily perceive what came out of the guy’s jacket pocket after she pulled her head out of his groin area in a jerk. In seconds, the latex sheath sachet was torn open and was probably put into use. The view was not that sympathetic but I could see. It was definitely G row of the other side and there were no watchers on that side’s E & F rows. The ushers on both sides of EXIT were engrossed in the movie, just like my partner.

The lady, I believe helped him in putting the condom to use and she stooped back to where she thought was heaven. She started stroking harshly and the guy took his head to control and display the exothermic pleasure. The guy’s left hand moved over her back and to the front, probably to where the actual heaven is. I don’t know if an Aladin’s lamp was at play, but for an aggressive stroking like that, his organ should be chafed red. Few more strokes and she retreated slowly. She, still all horny, insisted on kissing while the guy used his right hand to remove the sheath. The love (or lust) which was ample while the thing was worn diminished to zero while it was removed, as is globally common. But what was not common is how he discarded it. He bent down and tossed the heavier condom under his front seat, simultaneously playing a 20% part in smooching act. He then forced his girl to bend again, but she shook her head like girls do when they are mad in love and you ask for a break-up. He buckled up as she set her brassiere and they started whispering which was evident from their nuanced body language.

Minutes later, the hall lighted up and I saw their faces. I don’t wait for the credits to roll, much like 80% of moviegoers and we were the first one to walk down to the exit. My girl babbled as we walked, but I wanted to turn and have a better look which I did. Both in their twenties, dressed suave and svelte, with goggle hanging over her cleft, walking hand in hand. They looked like decent lad and lass yet their behavior so disgusting. I don’t pray much but if God ever decides to have a word with me, I’ll be ready with a pencil and a sketch-board. I have invested a spare part of my memory for those miscreant bastards.

Now we know the origin of the repulsive stench and latex answers the intensity. How theaters don’t clean after each show is another story; nowadays shows are screened with only minutes between them. Funny how often like this, it is the show in front of the screen that is unforgettable.

PS: H stands for HOUSEFUL; The movie was Gunday.

A Theater Habit

Last day I booked three tickets for the largely hyped Hollywood space drama film “Gravity” at an INOX Cinema (formerly FAME Cinemas) through an online portal. Not only was the 3D excellent, but the film also was worth the price. I rated it 10/10 here! And guess what, the 3D goggles cost me nothing. Everything was brilliant, until the film hit an abrupt interval…

The 90 minute science-fiction film has to be seen in a single stretch for two reasons: one, it is made so & two, the enjoyment factor. The screenplay requires you to focus on the story in a single setting. Introducing an abrupt, yes you heard right, an abrupt interval just so the patrons go and burn a hole in their wallets purchasing heavily priced popcorn and tiny samosas is the modern-day malevolent technique these theater owners adopt. At least they could find a pre-planned apt seek position for the interval! And what’s worse, the so-called interval goes for 20 minutes playing ridiculous commercials of beauty products and stuffs. Imagine the latest Idea cellular 121 advert on big screen! Disgusting! It took me around ten minutes to get into the flow of the film after it resumed. Few minutes later, credit roll diminished my whole experience. I had planned to watch it once more, but now I think I will wait for the rentals!

The level of exasperation cannot be expressed in words, although my friends could write a book about that. I would understand if during a movie like “3 Idiots,” you give me an interval; the Indian makers also include the word starting with an “i” for being friendly, but when short movies are screened, theaters should act accordingly. They need to generate revenue, all right but what about the ultimate purpose of theaters? It gets obliterated completely. But the people behind this business know that aficionados will return to catch the next week’s big release.

A solution can be made, but it will only materialize if like-minded people start building theaters. Or is there any way that we can coax these theater owners to shun the “i” word? Is there?