Monday, June 29, 2015

Movie Review of Hola Venky

Image Courtesy:

The Story Frame
Hola Venky is the second film from the independent film maker Sandeep Mohan after his success with his first film, 'Love, Wrinkle-Free'. It is the story of Venkatesh, a techie, who is divorced and confused. He embarks on a journey forced by his boss to attend a training from Matunga in Mumbai to the Bay Area in San Francisco. In this quirky and amusing journey of Venky he comes across many odd situations where he is forced to relook and question certain traditional and so-called notions about manliness and life. It is definitely one of the most interesting and exciting indie movie to be released recently.

Cast: Roger Narayan (Venky), Sonia Balcazar (Inez), Giju John  (Kurian), Ashwin Mushran (Psychiatrist), Papiha Nandy, Karl Arana, Sanjeet Dutta, Daikin, Geeta Singh, Sachin G, Sanjeet H, Michelle Lam, Juliette Donahue, Roma Bhansali, Kristen Nolan, Audra Baker
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Language: Hinglish
Story: Sandeep Mohan
Director: Sandeep Mohan
Producers: Giju John
Music: Vivek Philip
Film Editing by: Shreyas Beltangdy
Cinematography: Prashant Sehgal
Visual Effects: Vijesh Rajan, Aditya Tawde
Sound Department: Subir Kumar Das, Avantika Nimbalker, Ravi Dev Singh
Online Release: 2nd April, 2015
Duration: 88 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark
Independent filmmaker, Sandeep Mohan, and his three member crew undoubtedly wins the viewers on to their side starting from the groin tirelessly and happily to their heart. They have successfully woven a beautiful romantic comedy with a shoe-string budget of Rupees 10 lakhs only. Hole... Holy... Hola... oops... typographical error; this is something similar to what Venkatesh aka Venky, the lead Protagonist of 'Hola Venky' go through in his life. A failed marriage, a sperm seeking 30 something workaholic fiancée, a forced corporate-training US trip and what not, Venky's life as a techie becomes a roller coaster ride for him.

According to Venky's psychiatrist, God resides in either of the three parts of human body - Brain, Heart or Groin. Some people love from the brain, some prefer to love through their heart and some focuses on the groin. Venky believes that his 'God' rests in his groin. He follows the ritual of worshiping his God by lying down on the floor placing a jasmine flower on his Groin and cupping his palms around it making a heart shape to meditate in that position. These scenes are quite hilarious. It turns out to be more funny when you see in one of the scene where Venky not able to find a peaceful spot decides to lie down in a lavatory to do his meditation.

Hola Venky, a nice Indie Movie, is a fine take on funny perceptions and beliefs people hold about life. It is an introspective journey questioning many so-called notions. It is satirical of male chauvinism and depicts beautifully the fast-paced corporate life and how its ambitious lot think about the institution of marriage and how they handle love in their life. There is a dialogue where Venky's retired dad tells that Venky is a man and he should be always on the Top (pun intended) and in another scene where the subtitles reads that Venky is ok now and enjoys life even when his wife prefers to be at the Top always (pun intended).

Sandeep Mohan (Director), Prashant Sehgal (Cinematographer) & Giju John (Producer)

Watch Hola Venky to know about the quirky and amusing journey of a techie from his groin to his heart. What happens to Venky's life when he loses 2% of his 'God' and how Mariachi music helps him to focus on his heart replacing Jasmine with Dahlia flower as offering to his God. Prashant Sehgal's cinematography is commendable and worth mentioning. To watch Hola Venky online click the link below and enjoy the journey from Matunga to San Francisco:

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  3.5/5

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Movie Review of Kaaka Muttai (Tamil)

Courtesy : 

The Story Frame

Kaaka Muttai is a Tamil Movie by a debutant director M. Manikandan who tells the story of two street urchins who longs to savour the steaming hot pizza one day. They live in a tiny concrete-and-tin dwelling in a slum in Chennai along with their mother and granny. Like any other children of their age, they too have their desires and demands - to have a mobile, a TV, and a steaming hot pizza they happened to see on TV - unaware and least bothered that both the women in their life can't afford to fulfill their small but costly demands. Actor Dhanush and filmmaker Vetrimaaran are the co-producers and Fox Star India the distributor. The film had its world premiere in the 39th Toronto International Film Festival, September, 2014 and was released worldwide on June 5th, 2015. It has won a string of awards - National Film Award for Best Children's Film and Ramesh and  Vignesh, the two lead characters were awarded as Best Child Artists, and  Audience Award at the Indian Film Festival Los Angeles.

Why Kaaka Muttai (Crow's Egg) has a significance as title and what makes the journey of these street urchins so touching and thought provoking is something to watch in a nearby theatre, that too with your family and kids for sure.

Cast: Vignesh (Periya Kaaka Muttai), Ramesh (Chinna Kaaka Muttai), Iyshwarya Rajesh  (Mother), Joe Malloori (Pazharasam), Babu Anthony (Pizza Spot Owner), Silambarasan (as himself in a cameo), Ramesh Thilak, Yogi Babu, Krishnamoorthy

Genre: Drama

Language: Tamil (With English Sub Titles)

Story: M Manikandan

Director: M Manikandan

Producers: Dhanush & Vetrimaaran

Production Company: Wunderbar Films & Grass Root Film Company

Distributed by: Fox Star Studios

Music: GV Prakash Kumar

Film Editing by: Kishore

Cinematography: M Manikandan

Theatre Release: 5th June, 2015

Duration: 109 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Kaaka Muttai speaks volumes of the social disparity through the eyes of Perriya Muttai and Chinna Muttai, the siblings who are the lead protagonists of the film. It is one of the most realistic film that has struck the right chord with the mass in India and abroad equally. The film and its debutant director is being highly appreciated for its wonderful depiction of the stark reality of life of people who live in the outskirts of the so-called society. It also shows how the politicians jump into the ring under the garb of seeking social justice to actually exploit the hapless by forging a nexus with the police system and the business class. The beauty of the movie is it depicts the story of each person and their class they represent without being judgmental and leave the viewers to ponder - who is right and who is wrong. The film doesn't indulge being preachy but takes us through an experiential journey to look beneath what we often see daily but fail to see what we need to see and understand. The movie brings you to cheers and at the same time it leaves you teary eyed. It makes you to introspect on which side of the fence you are - with Perriya Muttai and Chinna Muttai or on the other side - where the rich middle class boy who offers the leftover of his pizza to them. Is it sympathy, empathy or whether it is our act of making us free from guilt of being just spectators of the social vices we see and experience around? Perriya Muttai and Chinna Muttai is still there waiting on the other side of the fence looking at all of us for an answer.

Kaaka Muttai is a story of two siblings who make their living by toiling along the railway tracks collecting coal pieces that fall from the passing goods train. Their life in the slums, their relationship with other kids in their area, their rapport with their mother and granny, their ignorance about how hard their mother works to meet both the ends are all so beautifully captured that you fall in love with the characters and the filmmaker. The television advertisement that shows the mouthwatering steamy- hot pizza and how the siblings fall for it. How every act and talk of Perriya Muttai and Chinna Muttai's life becomes pizza-centric generates laughter but at the same time tugs your heart.
Ishywarya Rajesh has given a commendable and worth mentioning performance as a distraught mother caught between too many responsibilities of life in the absence of her husband who is in the jail's TB ward, taking care of her septuagenarian mother-in-law, her job and her two lovely brats.

Manikandan's cinematography is laudable, GV Prakash music is so apt to the scenes that it moves the viewers, and Kishore is adept in using his scissors well.
I am reminded what the Noble Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children's right activist and an activist against child labour has said - "India has hundreds of problems and millions of solutions".

In short, Kaaka Muttai shall provide us ample protein to ignite our heart and mind so do not miss it to see what Perriya Muttai and Chinna Muttai have in store for you. Be ready to get captivated by their stellar performances.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  5/5