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Pranchiyettan and the Saint (2010)
Rejuvenating and Vibrant!
Of late I have been fascinated by the transformation of Ranjith as film- maker of real stuff. Kayoppu, Thirakatha, Kerala Care, Palerimanikyam...the transformation was drastic and beaming for a man who created narasimham and prajapathi. Palerimanikyam was simply arrogant, arrogantly excellent! He took untrodden path to create a an offbeat masterpiece. An now comes Pranchiyettan and the Saint. And with this fantastic movie Ranjith has proved a harbinger of good times, of fresh films in Malayalam film industry. This is something truly refreshing to malayalam cinema. The treatment is refreshing novel. The energy that pervades throughout the film is positive and vibrant. A well-crafted satire, heartwarming characterization, splendid dialogues and master acting especially by Mammootty, ably backed by Innocent, Priyamani etc. make this movie an unforgettable experience. The film stands for goodness with a message to tell to all. By the end of the film, the viewer is lifted up to sublime experience of warmth. I was reminded of reading Dickens' Christmas Carol. Good feeling flooding! Jessy Fox is magnificent with his saintly aura dipped in hilarious humanness! Special congrats to Ranjith for that awesome casting! Mammootty has been exceptional in recent times portraying diverse characters with exceptional finesse. Pranchiyettan is totally fresh, and so this is very very special. The film and the role will remain in the hearts of all for a long long time.
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (2009)
A Classic for Ages to Cherish
Pazhassi Raja, the Biopic Magnum Opus is a Classic by all standards, not just because of the legendary talents associated with it, but by the sublime feeling and value it stands for. It is a film that occurs once in a blue moon, with its amazing blend of technical perfection, superb performance and creative resplendence. Masterly crafted in epic proportions, its relevance grows by the fact that it is the based on the true story of one of India's first freedom fighters. Scripted by one of the greatest living writers of India, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, the great movie is the happy result of the greats in South Indian celluloid. Noted names are Mammootty, Hariharan, Resul Pookutty, Ilayaraja, Sharath Kumar, Sreekar Prasad, ONV Kuruppu and so on. The film has indeed lived up to the expectations.
Mammootty, who portrays the King is sublime in his restrained and subtle expressions. He seems to have an aura, an undeniable grace of a great and good hearted king on his face all through the film. The magnificent actor, well known for his fiery dialogue delivery (Still his fiery dialogues in another classic Vadakkan Veeragadha is alive even after eighteen years!) has surprised everyone with his mature rendition of the royal character. We can very well assess from the film that this is the kind of Raja (King) the master script writer and the director had dreamed of. Hariharan's words confirm this point. He says he is fully satisfied with Mammooty's performance. Pazhassi Raja is an upright, patriotic, benevolent king who loves his people and wife. The character is sketched as a human character enriched with royal grace. That is what exactly Mammooty has done. The grace, dignity and charm of a benevolent and just king is excellently portrayed. If he had repeated another Chanthu, I am sure the director and script writer would not have been happy. Remember, Chanthu is a wounded warrior with responsibility to none. He could be angry and explode dialogues freely. Where as Pazhassi is a responsible King, with every human emotion including compassion and love. Tamil Actor Sharath Kumar is a pleasant surprise. Watching him was a delight. Moreover, he is more lucky to have got typical M.T. dialogues which capture's the viewers' hearts. He has also got more scope to express his heroism. I think this is the reason why he has become the favorite of many viewers. Manoj K.Jayan and Padmapriya are brilliant. The death scene of Thalakkal Chanthu and the consequent atmosphere picturized is a marvel in the movie. Great is the cinematography by Ramnath Shetty and Venu, who captures the silvan charm and the splendour of nature. The great Resul Pookuty has transformed the epic into an unforgettable experience of sound. With his magic wand, he has made us felt the importance of sound in a film. Congratulations to everyone associated with this masterpiece. Moreover, the movie upholds spirit of freedom and self-esteem. It has a strong basis. It has a history to tell. The spirit of sacrifice and patriotism which reverberate through out the movie is inspiring. The film is to be experienced, and it will tell how far sincere creative effort can take you, to what heights!