Rip roaring political satire comedy Malayalam movie “Panchavadi Palam” (1984) directed by K.G. George and starring Bharath Gopi, Nedumadi Venu, Thilakan among others.
Such brilliant satire i have not seen in any other Indian movie to date, its pulsing and rippling with satire of the brutal kind never seen before. Every single dialogue is dipped with the satirical pen. Those were the times when such political satire movies could be made fearlessly without rankling the establishment.
A henpecked politician brilliantly played by Bharath Gopi is coerced by his fellow crooked right hand man Nedumadi Venu into making a demand for destruction of a good bridge and construction of a new one with the name of Bharath Gopi etched into it.
A rival politician Thilakan gets into the act and demands his share of the pie. Ultimately the politicians on both sides of the divide are seen to share the spoils in the form of rich juicy contract, pay offs, kickbacks, drowning the common handicapped man Sreenivasan, who is also a kind of narrator in the movie, the guy who sees all but is unable to do anything about it. He is the metaphor for the common man, crippled and dazzled, but scarcely able to mount any resistance.
The characters also have funny names from mythology like Dussashana, Shikandi, Tharakan, Mandodhari, Habel, Kathavarayan, Anarkali among others. The film has shades of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, the brilliant satirical movie by Kundan Shah starring Naziruddin Shah, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, among others. IMDB 10/10.
Image above taken from the internet for representational purposes only, not with an intention to violating copyright.
A poignant comedy cum tragedy Malayalam movie “Bhagyaavan” (1993), directed by Suresh Unithan and starring Sreenivasan, Sithara among others.
Again a malayalam movie starts and dwells with unemployed graduate. Sreenivasan is down in the dumps with no job offers and no industry also to go and get employment. Instead he wiles away his time enacting plays for his the village fest. The drama flops but his destiny turns in a nasty way.
The village priest sees his horoscope and sees him as a lucky charm, but only for others, not for himself. The entire village descends on his house seeking to improve their fortune. And there are charlatans, scamsters, politicians in the fray as well.
Movie turns completely from comedy to tragi comedy and becomes a satire on many fronts – people’s superstition, rivalry, jealousy, political culture etc. Good strong script with super direction and some very super super fine performances by one and all – Sreenivasan, Narendra Prasad, Mamukoya etc. IMDB 7/10.
Image above taken from the internet for representational purposes only and not with an intention to violation of copyright.
Rip roaring Malayalam comedy film “Mazhavil Kavadi” (1989) directed by Sathyan Anthikad and starring Jayaram, Sithara, Urvashi etc.
Its a typical story of Kerala youth failing to find a job (any job) and being averse to doing any business, vile away their time, chasing girls or trouble. Jayaram is in love with his cousin Sithara, but her father Innocent is a staunch patriarch not letting any leeway for romance.
Its a family squabble gone wrong since at least two generations, so the angst is carried down. Jayaram goes to Palani to find a job but ends up as a barber under the tutelage of his proposed to be father in law in Palani. His daughter Urvashi falls in love with him and to add to the tangle is MamuKoya a pick pocket but with wise ideas.
Sufficient laugh gags to keep the audience entertained, good script and very efficient direction by Sathyan Anthikkad – he is one of the more recognized directors in Malayalam cinema. Good time pass movie to watch any time. IMDB 6/10
Image above taken from the internet for representational purposes only and not with an intention to violating copyright.
Malayalam comedy film “Mutharamkunnu P.O.” directed by Sibi Malayil and starring Mukesh, Lizy, Nadumedi Venu among others.
Mukesh (Dilip Kumar) is a postmaster posted to a small sleepy village called Mutharamkunnu in interior Kerala. There he falls in love with Aminikutty (Lizy) who is the daughter of local wrestler Kuttan Pillai (Nadumedi Venu).
He has to undergo several trials and tribulations which involves among other things jealousy from his rival postmaster Sreenivasan, some local Kerala politicians ever ready with slogans and marching, Chaplinesque wrestling match with Dara Singh in a special appearance and his own fears and insecurities in fighting which he has not done before.
Good script with super fine acting skills by almost everybody, a rich cast Jagathy Sreekumar, Jagadish, Kutharavattam Pappu among others embellish the movie with their fine acting skills. Much laughter, comedy, tragedy and relief. IMDB 6/10
Picture above taken from internet for representational purposes only and not with an intention to violation of copyright.
Brilliant hard hitting legal drama film “Jai Bhim” directed by T.J. Gnanavel and starring Suriya, Prakash Raj, Lijomol Jose, Rajisha Vijayan among others.
Based on a true story of a fight for justice by Justice Chandru who was then practising as a senior advocate in Madras High Court. The case was one of wrongful arrest, torture and custodial death for which the police tried as much as possible in fabricating false evidence and bringing in false witnesses. The accused were members of a tribal community, the Irulas, one of whom was accused of stealing jewellery from the house of an upper caste family.
Adv Chandru (Suriya) takes up the case and fights for justice for the pregnant wife Sengenni (Lijomol Jose) whose husband Rajakannuu (K. Manikandan) is the one wrongfully arrested and tortured. Nice script but too many emotional scenes and songs rob it of a top class international movie flavour. Prakash Raj comes in as the investigating officer in the case to delve deep into the actual incident that took place.
There is enough realism in the movie but the soundtrack and emotional quotient lets it down slightly. All the main characters, Suriya, Lijomol, Prakash Raj have done superb roles as are the police officers who carried out the brutality. That’s all appearing as realistic.
There are thousands of cases of custodial torture and death still taking place in many parts of the world. And the people suffering are the poor, marginalised sections of the society, whom the police randomly catches as a culprit in order to mask their inefficiency and incompetence and to seek favours from their higher bosses to show a higher conviction rate. Josy Joseph has brilliantly captured all those aspects in his book “The Silent Coup” about which you can read it here https://vramonline.wordpress.com/2021/11/05/the-silent-coup/
What a brilliant satirical Malayalam movie “Sandesham” (1991) directed by Sathyan Anthikad and starring Thilakan, Jayaram, Sreenivasan among others.
It is a brilliant political satire of the times especially in Kerala with polarized political parties. Raghavan Nair (Thilakan in a masterful role) is a retired station master back to his home after a 33 years service in the Indian Railways. Back home he finds both his sons Prabhakaran (Sreenivasan) and Prakashan (Jayaram) in opposing political parties and fighting tooth and nail with each other.
He has a daughter Lathika (Maathu) who is engaged to marry to Udayabhanu (Siddique) but one son puts road block in her marriage just because the guy did not give their party any donation and the party had him transferred to a distant location.
He has another daughter who is married off to a policeman but again the political son had him transferred from one police station to another on multiple occasions. They also come to stay with them and demand their share of the property. Through his years of service, Raghavan nair had purchased a property in his wife’s name, but one son managed to take a loan for his party mortgaging that property and the bank came to take possession of the property upon failure to repay the loan.
The last straw was when the mother falls ill but none of the sons come to visit them. What a powerful story line and a brilliant satire on how politics is destroying normal lives of people. Solid story written by Sreenivasan with powerful dialogues replete with one punch after another. Of course, nothing beats Thilakan who has done a masterful role as the angst driven father with good for nothing sons, despairing after losing everything because of their foibles.
A drab, totally bakwas Malayalam movie “Yodha” (1992), directed by Sangeeth Sivan and starring Mohanlal, Madhoo, Jagathy Sreekumar among others.
Mohanlal is called in to deliver a knock out punch to some miscreants who want to usurp the Tibetan lama kingdom. No idea why they want to do, lot of mumbles from a dazed Puneet Isaar. They have put some comedy into the movie through the interplay between Mohanlal and Jagathy Sreekumar but hardly raises any laugh though.
Madhoo is an ace photographer in Nepal of all places and stumbles onto Mohanlal and they play love love game. Preposterous story line, hackneyed plot, crazy comedy, this movie fails on all counts except the spectacular cinematography by Santosh Sivan. IMDB 1/10
Very fine Malayalam comedy “Kilukkam” (1991) directed by Priyadarshan and starring Mohanlal, Revathi, Innocent, Thilakan, Jagathy Sreekumar among others.
Joji (Mohanlal) is a tourist guide in Ooty with no luck whatsover. He chances upon Nandini (Revathi) who comes to Ooty as an aristocrat but is later reckoned to be a mentally challenged person with no money to spare. Hilarious adventures and misadventures follow between Joji, Nandini and Nischal (Jagathy Sreekumar) a still photographer with stars in his eyes to make a big buck.
Parallel to that is the story of retired Justice Pillai (Thilakan) who has estranged his family and living along with his cook cum all Innocent. Somehow the twine meets and story changes from comedy to drama to tragedy to hope. In the meanwhile Nandini reveals her real purpose of coming to Ooty and the plot changes from that point onwards.
Super fine acting skills by Revathi who is such a naturally talented actor. Mohanlal of course is too good but in this movie Jagathy Sreekumar is the perfect comic twin for Mohanlal. Then you have stalwarts like Thilakan, Innocent, a story line that is not boring, with a good script, super dialogues. Only grouse if that can be is the length of the movie and in Malayalam movies, the fight sequences goes on and on and on for a long time, it becomes boring after some time.
Rip roaring Malayalam comedy film “Dr. Pasupathy” (1990) directed by Shaji Kailas and starring Innocent, Parvathy Jayaram, Nedumadi Venu among others.
Innocent is masquerading as a vet doctor in a small panchayat village of which the chieftain is Nedumadi Venu. He has claimants to his seat as Panchayat president. Innocent is anything but remotely close to a doctor. In the meanwhile Nedumadi’s family squabbles are aplenty torn right in the middle between his mother and her brother.
His own daughter Parvathy Jayaram is in love with Pappen (Rizabawa) and Balan (Jagadish) in love with UDC Kumari (Kamala) and there are plenty of comic antics from Jagathy Sreekumar, Kuthiravattum Pappu, Innocent and Mamu Koya. Fast paced comedy movie with never a dull movie, this is exceptionally brilliant movie from the Malayalam cinema stable. IMDB 8/10
A powerful Malayalam drama film “Devasuram” (1993), directed by I.V. Sasi and starring Mohanlal, Revathi, Innocent among others.
Its a rivalry between two storied families with Mohanlal being the rich, indulgent, arrogant son of his family estate. His mother is estranged from him and staying separately. There is a rivalry with another family and both of them are not ready to negotiate and give up. Ego problems there.
Revathi is a classically trained Bharat Natyam dancer whose father Nedumadi Venu, in a masterful role, is drunk and bankrupt. Insults galore by Mohanlal result in terrible consequence for him. In the meanwhile his mother dies revealing a terrible secret to him, which leaves him dumbfounded.
So there is an intense rivalry, there is arrogance, despair, anger, sadness, desperation et al in this drama film which is too long for comfort. There is too much mindless violence which could have been avoided by I.V. Sasi.
No doubt it is a powerful movie with rich dialogues but its the star cast and their acting which makes this film a must watch for true Malayalam film connoisseurs. Mohanlal, Revathi, Innocent (bereft of his usual monkey antics, is a supremely gifted actor), Nedumadi Venu all excel in their roles to the best. Its brilliant seeing them act and emote their roles and emotions. The classical dancing by Revathi is mesmerizing to say the least. She is spectacular in the movie. IMDB 7/10
Billed as a romantic comedy movie, Malayalam movie “Sarvakalashala” (1987) is anything but that, its in fact a noir movie with a very strong script and story line.
Lal (Mohanlal) is a college student, staying back for 3 years, he is an orphan raised by sisters with no relatives but lot of money provided by his father who left his mother long back. Jeevan (Sreenath) with his sister Jyothi (Lizy) also have a dark past, their mother committed suicide and their father is in Singapore. Add to the melting pot of gloominess is Sidhan Asaan (Nedumadi Venu) who is a poet drunkard with a disturbed past. Gayathri (Sandhya Rani) is a past student of the same college and come back as a teacher now. She also has a sad past and a romantic past with Lal as well.
All of these actors come together to create a sad story of grief, guilt, despair, hopelessness, misery, gloom, that culminates in truth in the end. Mohanlal and Sreenath have performed exceptionally well in their respective roles and Nedumadi Venu is masterful in his depiction of the drunk poet with a sad and guilty past.
Good movie with a strong script and plot that remains true to the story line. There are not many diversions in the story line, it is taut and strong and with a range of exceptionally good actors – Innocent, Adoor Bhasi, Sankarady, Sukumaran, Jagathy Sreekumar, Manian Pillai Raju, Sukumari – it is a masterful noir film, not one for the weak heart. IMDB 6/10
The picture taken from the internet is for representational purposes only, not with an intention to violating copyright.
A Malayalam rip roaring comedy movie “Kakkakuyil” (2001) based on which the Hindi movie Golmaal has been copied from.
The story is more or less the same, but this script has more advantages than the Hindi one. Plus it has Mohanlal, Nedumadi Venu, Innocent, Jagathy Sreekumar, Mukesh, Cochin Haneefa & Jagadish in it which enlivens the proceedings.
Mohanlal is as usual in most of his movies, unemployed, out of money and facing impending forfeiture of his house. Desperate to go abroad, he lands up in Mumbai and promptly gets his belongings stolen. He chances upon Mukesh who he knows as a seedy character from back home and both of them then plan devious schemes to cheat and make money. They rob a bank with Cochin Haneefa as their gang leader.
Nedumadi Venu is a rich man living in a bungalow and his only grand son is abroad. Mohanlal and Mukesh masquerade as his grandson Kunjunni in order to steal some money from the old man. Comedy of errors in full display as more characters join in and make this a rip roaring comedy. Fully enjoyable movie.
Image is taken from internet, for representational purposes, not with an intention to violating copyright.
This is an interesting and absorbing 15 part documentary series by BBC on the history and origins of mankind in Africa with Zeinab Badawi.
In the first part, she goes to the Hadza tribe of hunter gatherers in northern Tanzania. They live today exactly as our ancestors must have lived millions of years ago – by hunting for food with weapons made by themselves, by lighting a fire not by using matches but by ancient means how our ancestors must have created fire. The men hunt and women forage for tuber roots and small animals to eat.
The documentary also has an interview with one of the Leaky brothers to describe how human evolution must have taken place, what differentiates today’s homo sapiens from animals – the use of our hands, larger brains, ability to solve complex problems and language most of all.
Another dimension is why did humans originate in Africa and not in the other continents and the answer to that lies in the fact that Africa had lush vegetation with plenty of plants and fruits to eat besides it was teeming with wild life and therefore meat.
Seems to be an interesting documentary series. Need to see where it goes further and further. You can watch the documentary here.
Billed as a comedy drama, Malayalam film “Mithunam” (1993) is pretty much a depressing movie on the state of affairs in Kerala.
Mohanlal is trying to set up a biscuit manufacturing facility, but as usual he does not have money for the same, and the govt. officials are making him run from pillar to post denying him crucial factory licenses for corruption. In the meanwhile he has also to reckon with his unending family squabbles all around with his brother, brother in law. His inability to pay rent, he gets cheated, loses money, so pretty much a guy who is not smart, bogged down with numerous problems and his love interest with Urvashi.
He disappoints his wife in every which way possible, not being romantic, forgetting anniversaries, not taking her to honeymoon, in effect a bumbling husband. All in all a pretty much depressing & boring movie. IMDB 1/10
Interesting documentary on the pharaohs of Sudan, something that is not very well known to the world is the civilisation in Sudan which pre-dates that in Egypt itself.
The Mahdi king ruled over a vast area including Egypt for more than 5000 years. And there are pyramids galore in Sudan though not well kept because they are off the famous tourist circuit.
David Adams takes a mix of journeys from river to train to foot to camel back to bus to travel from Dongola to Khartoum enroute touching upon Karima, Meroe, El Kodab, Khartoum and talks of the life and ancient cultures of Sudan. He refers to the dervishes, nuba wrestlers, the battle of omdoman with Lord Kitchener’s army butchering thousands of Mahdi warriors after the dervish army routed the British some years before.
Its quite a fascinating documentary and its a rich learning of the Sudanese past pre-dating the Egyptian civilization by thousands of years. You can watch the documentary here.