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Review: Amen- A Breakthrough

Amen Malayalam Movie Review :

An excellent script cannot  make a perfect movie. But a talented filmmaker can make a classic even out of a cliched stuff. Amen is the most recent example. Lijo Jose Pellissery is a proven director. His previous works like Nayakan and City of God are enough to prove that. But Amen is a breakthrough. It alters all the familiar cinematic norms. Basic thread is a cliched love story. But the packing does all the magic. Amen ties Dante's medieval work's title, Divine Comedy with it and it is apt too. 

The whole story happens inside the Christian community in Kumarankery, a village in Alleppey.   Solomon and Sosamma are lovers. Same old conflicts are there. The whole story is tied together using a peculiar musical instrument; Klarnet. It has an important part to play in the legacy of Christians in Kerala.  Music has a vital role in this movie. All the songs in Amen bear the fragrance of the culture of Kumarankery. 

Abhinandan Ramanujam's visuals make the movie a spectacular one. One song in the movie is created using just a single shot. Camera is very live and always trying to capture something funny. In some scenes past and present are blended beautifully. 

Amen is really interesting because of its making. Each and every scene and characters are built in a different manner and presented with a novel tone. Fahad Fazil, Indrajith and everyone have made their roles memorable. Its a visual epic. 

Amen is certainly an epoch making film in the history of Malayalam cinema. A film with international standard in making. It really needs an applause. The verdict is clear. An excellent movie.

Review : Breaking News Live- A Real Heartbreaker

 Breaking News Live Malayalam Movie Review :

The name makes an illusion of something extraordinary. But when the box is open you don't even feel like sitting on those costly seats in darkness. Sudheer Ambalapaad's directorial debut, Breaking News Live has only pretty Kavya Madhavan as a show piece. Of course, she is gorgeous. But even that is boring when nothing else is there to turn our attention. As one of my friends commented, we can't find a plus in this film and that is the minus of it. 

Obviously the theme makes sense and it is relevant too. It reminds the need of essential reactions. But the way the basic plot is converted into a screenplay is really pathetic. And the cinematic version makes it completely useless. The story is based on the sexual violence against women in Kerala today. Soumya murder case happened in Kerala serves the plot of Breaking News Live. The nonlinear script structure fails pathetically to convey the theme. The premature directorial skills  can't do anything to save it.

Songs are good and the visualization also works well on the screen. Kavya Madhavan is the main attraction of the movie.  She fits well in the role of Nayna. But she is also struggling to strive forward  in a faulty script. Climax scene has close resemblance with  the restaurant fight scene in Chakde India.  No other character demands special recognition.  

The time you spend for this movie is really a waste. That is the underlined box-office verdict for Breaking News Live. Beware of it.

Uchaal- The Celebration of Unity

With the ethereal grace of the fading sun, a tune of wind came out. Not alone. There was the vibrating drum beats in the background. They were approaching the Mulluva colony; Oorali Kuruma people for the commencing of another Uchaal.

Uchaal is a tribal festival of Wayanad, Kerala. It is celebrated only among the Kuruma tribes. And the venue of the festival is the Mulluva Kuruma colony in Paakkam, Waynad.

The Kuruma tribe is one among the prominent tribal groups in Kerala. They have their own unique culture, occupation and life style. They have an ancestral root which is called Nayadikal(Hunters). Since every community has their own customs, style and festivals, their story may not be unique. But the way they celebrate all these and cultural identity which is revealed during those festivities are worth studying. Those festivals are not exactly like other common festivals of modern times. Each has a distinct style, set of customs, beliefs and rituals. Uchaal is one of the major festivals of this tribe. It is celebrated in the month of February. Three-days long celebrations will be there. Kurumas from every nook and corner will come to the colony for the festival.

Uchaal is their Hunting festival. Two divisions of the Kuruma tribe, MulluvaKuruma and OoraliKuruma celebrate it together. Oorali people congregates at the Mulluva colony with drums, songs and dance. They performe their own Thappakkali on the ground near the Mulluva colony. For this they use drums, flute and rhythmic movements. After their performance it is Mulluva’s turn. Their performance is very different and has a good order and coordination. That dance form, Vattakkali, is considered to be one among the major folk art forms in Kerala. They will dance till early morning. Then again thappakkali begins.

There is a shrine nearby. Main rituals will be performed there. A never ending water source called keni is there in the colony. This pure water and the surrounding place bear a mark of holiness in their mind.
Mulluva leader is the head of all celebrations and rituals. The oracle will talk to the leader and people. “It is more like a democratic parliamentary system. People share their problems and needs with the god through a mediator or an oracle and pray for a good future,” says John, a social activist working for the welfare of the tribe.

Food is the main attraction of the festival. Mulluva people will make a grand feast for the Ooralis in the festival days. In the early period they used to hunt and fish in the forest. Since the laws are strict now they use chicken only. “Years before,the festival was really joyful and people celebrated it with utmost interest and dedication. People used to sing, dance, eat and drink. Lot of food was available. But now the condition has changed. The olden day charm is missing,” says Kappi, the present leader of the colony.

Each and every ritual and art form performed with the festival can be viewed as symbols of their unity, past prosperity and never ending hope. “When they perform vattakkali, the way they hold each other reflects their belief in unity which is inherited as a cultural strength,” John adds.

Uchaal is a merry making festival accompanied by religious rituals. At the end of the festival, Mulluva Kurumas will distribute rice as remuneration to the Ooralis. Oorali leader will receive it and distribute among his people. The whole expense of the festival will be on the Mulluvas.

“The younger generation doesn’t feel the need of preserving these cultural treasures. Their attitude towards the festival is not promising. Many consider these traditions and celebrations as something which make them inferior or uncivilized,” says Sareesh, an educated youth from the tribe.

It is the present scenario. May be we are witnessing the twilight. As the drum beats fade, a tradition may be losing something which is of their own and something which cannot be restored.

“When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.” 
― ThichNhatHanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Photos : Nideesh Babu

Review: Celluloid - A Perfect Tribute

Review of Malayalam Movie Celluloid :

Kamal's latest movie Celluloid has become a hot topic in the state. It has bagged seven state awards and a handful of controversies too. Celluloid is the story of Dr. J. C Daniel, the father of Malayalam Cinema and Rosy,Malayalam film industry's first ever heroine. J. C Daniel made the first Malayalam movie, Vigathakumaran. Cinema was his life. And he lost both. The social setup which was prevalent in Kerala had crucified the lives of few innocent people who had tried to surpass the inhuman boundaries of caste and creed for cinema. Kamal's Celluloid is based on the novel Nashta Naayika by Vinu Abraham (which is about the story of Rosy) and the biography of J. C Daniel by Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan.

Prithviraj shines in the roles of J.C Daniel and Haris Daniel. But in some moments we will see Mr. Prithviraj himself on the screen. But it doesn't affect the pace and emotion of the movie. Mamtha, Chandni, Sreenivasan, Sreejith Ravi etc. have done their best.

Venu serves a beautiful visual feast. M. Jayachandran's music demands special mention. It takes the audience back to the exact period. Lyrics, music and vocals blend beautifully.

When comes to the box office verdict, Celluloid is a must watch. If you are ready to ignore few factual errors, script problems and directorial faults, Celluloid is a true tribute to the father of Malayalam Cinema. And it marks the powerful return of Kamal as a fantastic filmmaker.

Evergreen Melodies In Malayalam - Part 2

Film music of Kerala in particular is the most popular form of music in the state. Kerala has a rich tradition of Carnatic Music. That legacy reflects in Malayalam Film music also. India's top singers like Yesudas, K S Chithra, Hariharan, P Jayachandran etc are from Malayalam. Malayalam film music is a treasury. Countless maestros have drawn beautiful world of music with all the popular, classical and folk elements.

Click here to listen to Evergreen Melodies In Malayalam- Part 1

Here you can listen to another  top 10 evergreen hits in Malayalam. These are some of the purest melodies released after the 80s.  You will fall in love with these soothing melodies. You will touch the string of romance, pain, nostalgia and every single shade of life.

Evergreen Melodies in Malayalam- Mp3 Collection Part 2- Listen Online

Kandu Njan Mizhikalil - Abhimanyu (1991)

Chemboove Poove - Kalapani (1996)

Varuvanilla - Manichitrathazhu (1993)

Ponnilkulichu Ninnu- Sallapam (1996)

Mele Mele Manam- No. 1 Sneehatheeram Banglore North (1995) 

Mazhavilkothumpil- Advaitham (1991)

Moovanthi Thazhvarayil- Kanmadam (1998)

Raree Rareeram Raro - Onnu Muthal Poojyam Vare (1986)

Chandana Manivathil - Marikkunnilla Njan (1988)

Koothambalathil Vacho - Appu (1990)