Monthly review: Jan’22
To begin my movies this year, I chose to watch Minnal Murali, starring Tovino Thomas, streaming on Netflix. I wrote a dedicated blog post on my thoughts on the film. You can find it here.
For a long time now, I have been trying to explore the films of Vamsy as he is known for delivering sensible films in his style. He is famous for shooting films near the Godavari river and showing it beautifully in his songs. Last month, I saw “Chettu Kinda Pleader” and enjoyed the movie, which excited me to watch his subsequent films with Rajendra Prasad.
I started with “April 1st Vidudhala”, starring Rajendra Prasad Shobhana, with Krishna Bhagawan playing the antagonist role. This movie is based on a novel called “Harishchandrudu Abaddamaadithe.” Initially, I thought it had nothing much to offer, but after Shobhana brings up this challenge with Rajendra Prasad, the movie becomes interesting. The music and songs are soothing to hear, particularly “Chukkalu Themanna”, which had the conversations turned into the lyrics. Before watching this film, I wondered how it looks in the movie, but it is an example of how we can include songs effectively in the flow of a movie.
Then I saw Ladies Tailor, which has Rajendra Prasad as the main lead. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this film as I did for other films in their combination except for the beautiful visuals and comedy scenes. This film isn’t emotional heavy, unlike “Chettu Kinda Pleader,” nor does it has the conflict as “April 1st Vidudhala.” From these three films, one can understand how Vamsy used to bring a fresh feel to the movie by overlaying screens, showing the beauty of Godavari, and playing with editing and performances.
And this week, I saw Appula Apparao, again starring Rajendra Prasad, directed by EVV Satyanarayana. This film has good comedy at places and has an ensemble cast with worthy performances. I was impressed by how actors play with the language during conversations, particularly like “MaaVidakulu kattina mandapam lo Vidakulu adagatam thappu babu” and Rajendra Prasad waking up every morning with “Appude Thellarinda?”
While exploring Vamsy, I also observed the characters played by Rajendra Prasad in these films. The main lead doesn’t have any aspirations, has no family, is a lazy, carefree guy who dreams about winning money without working hard or desires to marry a girl he likes. This makes him do funny things, and finally, he learns a lesson about the mistakes he committed (not in Appula Apparao, though).
My ranking for these films are in this order: Chettu Kinda Pleader > April 1st Vidudhala > Appula Apparao > Ladies Tailor.
Social media was abuzz with praise for the Republic by Deva Katta. After Leader by Sekhar Kammula, I think this was the movie people voted to be honest about the script. I watched the movie and was instantly surprised by how the film ended. Deva Katta, I think, stayed true to his writing of reflecting society as is. A few scenes are not translated well onto the screen, and other than that, this movie is a good watch.
Apart from these, I saw Mani Ratnam’s Sakhi (Alaipaayuthe) on YouTube after watching “Chaka Chak ‘’ from Atrangi Re. I had seen this movie long back, during my childhood, I think and never returned to it again, even after reading “Conversations with Mani Ratnam” by Baradwaj Rangan. This movie came out after Mani witnessed a debacle with Dil Se, and it became a blockbuster. Listening to the film’s songs would make you afresh, and the visuals add another layer. On the same day, I read the part of the book where BR discusses this movie.
I’m one of those few people who didn’t watch Akhanda in theatres and got a chance to watch it on Hotstar. Akhanda has a vibe, and I am carried away with the music and screen presence of Balayya. Thaman took the movie to a whole next level with a thumping score, and Balayya aces the game with the dialogues. After a long time, I enjoyed an out and out commercial film (probably Petta was the last time I enjoyed it at par).
Fight -> Lesson -> Character transformation. The movie has this recurring template!
I was discussing watching April 1st Vidudhala with a group of friends on WhatsApp, and one of them suggested that I watch Liar Liar starring Jim Carrey. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and this is my first experience of witnessing Jim Carrey after hearing a lot about him in various interviews. His screen presence and antics are awesome and bliss to watch. I was glued to the screen until the bloopers came during the end titles.
I updated the same person that I saw, Liar Liar, and this time he came with two recommendations: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show, both starring Jim Carrey. While I enjoyed Eternal… I found The Truman Show a little weird and couldn’t finish it. I appreciate the screenplay of the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The movie is magical and brought a smile to my face towards the end. Glad that I finally witnessed this cult movie (I read that this movie has a cult status among cinebuffs).
Watching Driving License starring Prithviraj was due for a long time, and I finished it this week. Ego clashes, and I was cheering for the MVI Kuruvila during the Learners test. Though it may seem odd when you hear the storyline, it is exciting to watch it. The movie is a good watch, and the comedy works well.
After many days, I thought I would explore Kamal Haasan, the actor, and put Pushpaka Vimanam on the screen to end this movie marathon. Singeetham wrote and directed this movie which doesn’t have any dialogues. Without giving away much, I’d like to mention the scenes where the film takes a dramatic turn and shifts the genre from dark comedy to the drama that makes the character played by Kamal stop what he is doing. A good experiment that was critically acclaimed and won a National Award too.
After many days, I finished a book without leaving it midway! Ankur Warikoo published “Do Epic Shit”, and I enjoyed reading the book. You can find my thoughts on the book here.
Also, I started reading the short stories by Russian playwright Anthon Chekhov, and so far, they are engrossing. I aim to finish this book, a collection of 50 short stories, by the end of next month, hopefully.
Series & Shows
Last year, squid Game on Netflix did wonders in viewership, and I completed it this month. Though I didn’t find it to be the most excellent series, it was good enough to keep you hooked to the show. With my experience with Korean films, I observed them better deal with human conflicts and emotions in mainstream cinema/show than in other countries. On a broader scope, this movie reflects on the status quo of capitalism at play and how Capitalism creates people sufferings.
With social media trending with the memes from SharkTank, I was one of them to binge-watch the show and contribute to the memes. I am enjoying this show while also delving deeper into the shows made in the USA and Australia. I’m planning to write a dedicated blog post on SharkTank next month.
I watched 12 movies two shows and finished reading a book this month to summarise numbers. I think this is the highest number since I started actively writing blogs and inclined towards cinema. The plan is to control watching movies on the small screen and not strain my eyes (I had to sleep three days this month due to overexposure of eyes to screen, which is awful). Also, I started tracking my screen time on mobile, which is scary, and I’ll write a separate blog post on that.
Anyways, that’s it from me this month! I had a fruitful month wrt the content I published this month with a blog on every weekend (patting my back for achieving this consistency). Stay safe :)