Thursday, September 4, 2008

Onam bonanza

Onam has failed to bring a rich harvest of Malayalam movie releases of big banners this year, writes KK Moidu.

Front-line Malayalam superstars Mammootty, Mohanlal and Dileep has disappointed the fans without any new releases for the Onam Festival. Most of the big banners has postponed their new releases to forthcoming Eid, which comes couple of weeks after the Onam. This is the first Onam in the history of Malayalam cinema, without any new releases of the reigning superstars. One of the main reason for not releasing superstar films in the Onam season is the coinciding with Ramadan. The harvest festival of Kerala, Onam, leaves the theatres with small banner films from upcoming heros except Prithviraj and Suresh Gopi.
According to reports, half-a-dozen movies releasing on the Onam festival of the year are Thirakkatha, Thalappaavu, Thaavalam, Sultan, Chempada and Apoorva.
Although Mammootty, Mohanlal and Dileep are not able to satisfy their fans, young hero Prithviraj will have two new releases Thirakkatha and Thalappaavu.


The most important attraction of the Onam is Prithviraj starrer Thirakkatha directed by his mentor Renjith. The film has more chance to win in the Onam race. Thirakkatha tells the inner story of filmdom and earlier films of the same subject like Udhayanaanu Thaaram and recently released Kadha Paryumbol were well accepted by the audience. Prithviraj plays a director's role in Thirakkatha as Akbar Ahamed, who is facing criticism for plagiarising story for his film. Prithviraj made his debut half-a-decade before in Nandanam directed by Renjith. Although Prithviraj has delivered many superhit films in a short period, Renjith, who has created superhits with superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal has failed to deliver a hit for the last couple of years.
However, his forthcoming film Thirakadha is a musical love story and it will be noticed for its commercial ingredients. The film features two leading heroines Priyamani and Samvrutha. Priyamani is returning to the Malayalam screen after an interval by playing a glamorous role as Malavika. Priyamani made her Malayalam debut opposite Prithviraj in Sathyam and the National Award winning actress has achieved success as a heroine in Tamil and Telugu.
Music director Sarath composed the tunes for the film. He returns to the Malayalam industry after five years. But he is very popular in Kerala and won the hearts of mini screen audience as a judge in Idea Star Singer airing on Asianet. Nishant Sagar plays a pivotal role in the film as cinematographer Kevin Paul. Thirakkatha is produced by Varnachithra Subair and Renjith's Capital Theatres.


Prithviraj dons the lead as naxal Joseph, that has shades of the real-life naxalite Varghese, who was shot dead in the forests in the 70's. Madhupal's maiden directorial venture Thalappaavu scripted by Babu Janardhan goes deep into the life of a naxalite youth Joseph and police constable Raveendran Pillai. Both of them share a very good relation but circumstances forced Pillai to kill Joseph, as a part of his duty. But after years, the incident haunts Pillai and he revealed the truth behind the death of Joseph.
Lal is playing the role of constable Raveendran Pillai. Other roles of the film are played by Dhanya Mary, Jagathy Sreekumar, Sreejith Ravi, Maniyanpilla Raju and Manuraj. Atul Kulkarni makes his Malayalam debut by playing a key role in the film.
Thalappaavu produced by Mohan under the banner of Civic Cinemas is distributed by Lal Creations. Alex Paul scores for the film music and Azhagappan is the cinematographer.


Although Suresh Gopi is going through a lean patch in his career without any hits but his hands are full with offers. Suresh Gopi plays the lead in Thaavalam directed by debutante Baiju and produced by Mummy Century under the banner of BMC Productions. Newcomer Ratya plays the heroine role in the film. Thaavalam is all about the background of a graveyard in Kerala and Tamil Nadu border. Theni and Vipin Mohan cranks the camera.
Navya Nair plays a key role in the film and other artistes are Jagathy Sreekumar, Cochin Haneefa, Riyaz Khan, Bijukuttan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Bindu Panicker, Manraj, etc.
Kaithapram Viswanath tunes for the lyrics penned by Gireesh Puthencherry and Sudhamshu.


Sultan based on the plot by Gopi Manisseril is the third film of young hero Vinoo Mohan. He won acclaims for his previous ventures Nivedhyam and Cycle. Sultan directed by Sree Prakash is a campus film and Vinoo plays the role of medico Sivarajan. His fiancee also studies in the same medical college. Other artistes of the film are Sandhya, Roma, Lalu Alex, Vijay Raghavan, Jagathy and Salim Kumar.
The stroy is written by Vinod Guruvayoor and Jayan Sivapuram. Lyrics are penned by Kaithapram are set to music by M Jayachandran. Produced by Gopi Manasseri under the banner of Abhirami Krishna Productions banner.
Vinoo Mohan, the grandson of late Kottarakkara made his debut on Lohithadas directed Nivedhyam. The success of his second film Cycle earned him plenty of offers and he is to play the lead in Achante Makan, Adhithi, Devo Bhava etc.
Vinoo Mohan is foraying into neighbouring Tamil industry by playing one of the lead in Basha fame Suresh Krishna's film. Bharath plays the other hero's role in the film and the film tells the story of friendship.


The action thriller Chempada is the directorial debut of Robin Thirumala. The male lead of the film is played by Tamil actor Bala, who has done memorable performance in Big B and Kalabham. Sreedevika, who disappeared from the Malayalam films for half-a-decade is returning to the industry by playing the heroine role. She is one of the busiest heroine in the Kannada industry and has paired with leading Kannada heros.
Sanu, Anu Anand, Ronson Vincent and John Jacob play other important roles in the film. The action entertainer Chempada on the back drop of a music troop Red Army imagines mysterious activities other than music.


Apoorva is noticed by the directorial debut of an eighteen year old student Nithin Ramakrishnan. The first year student of Thrissur Law College has earlier created news by grabbing awards by making short films like Niranglude Kottaram and Amrithvarshini. His maiden venture Apoorva is an attempt to present the love and social commitment among students. The film is produced by Dr Samson and Dr Ramakrishnan under the banner of Gauri creations. The director Nithin himself pens the story. Vidhyadharan master tunes for the film and produced under the banner of Gowry Creations.
Apoorva has lot of newcomers like Sanjeev, Helen, Ajay Sathyan along with popular actor Kalabhavan Mani, Vimala Raman, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Innocent etc. Tamil comedian Senthil will also play an important role in the film.
Among the six Onam releases, Prithviraj starrer Thirakkatha directed by Renjith will have more chance of winning the Onam race. Thirakkatha will be noted by the fresh story and the presence of leading heroines like Priyamani and Samvrutha.
Will the young and upcoming hero Bala's Chempada and Vinoo Mohan's Sultan will make any challenge for Suresh Gopi's Thaavalam and Prithviraj's Thirakadha and Thalappavu? Will the teenage director Nithin create a new history in Malayalam cinema?
If the Onam releases can't attract crowds at the box office, the forthcoming Eid releases of superstars like Mohanlal's Kurukshetra, Mamootty's Maya Bazaar and the all-star movie Twenty Twenty is sure to win the heart of audience.

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