Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Kerala Cafe – Review

Posted by Admin On November - 2 - 2009

A short story of ten minutes, often can talk much more and present you with more intense feelings than one film that goes on for an uncontrolled 150 minutes. Exactly that was the challenge offered by Renjith to ten different directors of Mollywood, who were used to in making lengthy dramas. And here in ‘Kerala Cafe’, these Mollywood directors are proving without any doubt, why they are celebrated as effective narrators of interesting stories. Based on a single theme of ‘Yathra’ or journey, this is really a world class attempt and experience, a proud offering from the brilliance of Mollywood.

The stories in ‘Kerala Cafe’, though in a common theme are different in style and making, diverse in backgrounds with loud and clear messages. The title of the movie ‘Kerala Café’ is a hotel at a railway station and certain characters from each shorts pass through it, though they never share any mutual acquaintance.

The experiment opens with a prologue by ace director Sathyan Anthikkad, who is there to remind you about the experimental nature of the film and what is there that suits your expectations.  Among the ten films, it seems that Anwar Rasheed’s ‘Bridge’ was the one that has invited the maximum claps. ‘Bridge’ is a tale told in two parallel tracks about a young boy who finds a pet kitten from the street and about a son (Salim Kumar) who is forced to leave his ailing mother in the streets. The movie is the one done with the most of technical brilliance and imagery in the collection, perhaps in the league of any acclaimed international movies. And that desolate, empty, lost feel is conveyed instantly to the audience who were left with nothing other than to stand up and applaud the shortie.

Anjali Menon’s ‘Happy Journey’ was another stand out movie with a small thread about the psyche of middle aged Malayalee men. This short is an effective hilarious take about an insurance surveyor (Jagathy) who likes to flirt a little. Here he is trying to make advancements to a pretty girl, while they are travelling in adjacent seats in a bus from Ernakulam to Kozhikkod, but in the end the girl proves too smart for the man to handle. Jagathy Sreekumar after a long time, has got the space to prove his versatility while Nithya as the sweet brainy girl, proves that she is here to stay.

‘Puram Kazhchakal’ had that Lal Jose stamp all over with Mammootty and Sreenivasan taking the helm of affairs. Both appears subtle throughout but effective and the narrative surprises us in the final shot which makes you desperate to make a flash back through the previous events.

Debutant director Shankar Ramakrishnan’s ‘Island Express’ takes time to settle with diverse unlinked characters but offers heavy appeal towards the end when the real theme unleashes in that spectacular run. It is all about the leftovers of real-life Perumon tragedy that happened in 1988, leaving 100 odd persons to ‘Jalasamadhi’. Perhaps this is one movie in the assortment which speaks in more volumes than it decipher and announces the arrival of a promising director who has all the proceedings perfectly under his control.

B Unnikrishanan’s ‘Aviraamam’ is another look at the effect of recession in the lives of an IT professional. Honest performances by Siddique and Shwetha Menon are the highlights of this movie. Shaji Kailas’s ‘Lalitham Hairanmayim’ has all that visual appeals and effects of the directors’ other endeavours, but tells a thread about infidelity in a fast pace.

Shyam Prasad’s ‘Off Season’ is the one in a lighter vein that the director had never attempted previously. The movie is about the life of a tourist guide in Kovalam, though invites interest in the opening part but doesn’t have that content to hold, all through. ‘Nostalgia’ the first movie in the assortment is about Johnny, a NRI millionaire played by Dileep who is nostalgic about his homeland when he is abroad. And when he reaches Kerala, he is a different man who hardly values family ties and friendship. The movie which meanders in usual family movie patterns is an adaptation of Venugopal’s ‘Naattuvazhikal’. Similar is Revathy’s ‘Makal’ which have the strongest thread in the collection, but remains mediocre fare due to its straightforward narratives.

Young director Uday Ananthan’s ‘Mrityunjayam’, stands away from the rest due to its genre of horror and handling of the plot. The movie, about the mystery surrounding an old illam and how an young TV journalist, (Fahad Fazil), arrives with his crew attempting an investigative series on its mystery factors, offers plenty to correlate in the climax.

The designer of the project, director Renjith definitely has a winner in ‘Kerala Café’, showcasing how to use intelligently the great gifts of Mollywood cinema. Almost half of the stories deal with the losses and nature of losses and their effects on humans. The performances in the movie from the seniors like Mammootty, Sreenivasan and Jyothrimayi to relative fresh faces like Fahad Fazil and Dhanya Mary, Rima Kallingal etc are a treat to watch. Altogether this kaleidoscope of great images, issues and emotions are a must watch in terms of freshness of concept and innovation in Mollywood.

Don’t miss this or you will be missing some of the best works of your favourite Mollywood directors in recent years.

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