Monday, August 14, 2017

REVIEW 518: CHUNKZZ


Release date:
August 11, 2017
Director:
Omar Lulu
Cast:



Language:
Balu Varghese, Honey Rose, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi S. Poduvel, Lal, Siddique, Mareena Michael, Remya Panickar, Hareesh Perumanna  
Malayalam


There were once four boyzz from Kerala
Who pretended ee life-il oru care illa
But deep down inside
They all wanted a bride
And they mourned because, y’know, penn illa.

Now these boyzz treated women like shit
As sub-humans on whom men should spit
They leered at their teacher
They were that kind of creature
I swear I can’t stand them one bit.

So these boyzz lolled about ogling girlzz
Then along came a gay girl with curlzz
She ignored all the boyzz
Did not fall for their ployzz
Or so it seems as this story unfurlzz.

One day she and the boyzz climb a wall
To scale which she seeks help, that is all
One boy pushes up her bum
He is that kind of scum
’Tis behaviour that made my skin crawl.

The hero is a chap called Romario
Who behaves like he’s some sort of Lothario
But he’zz playing a part
To mask a desperate heart
All Romario wantzz is to marry-o.

On a Goa trip with Riya from college
He peepzz into her loo without her knowledge
He leerzz at the lady
I tell ya he’s shady
’Tis a fact we had better acknowledge.

He tellzz us he wants to see Riya’s “kuntham
Yes, the creep will not even say “vaginum”
He first triezz to bed her
Then he getzz to wed her
Next we learn it was all a sick stratagem.

Now remember that gay girl called Sherin?
The one I mentioned right at the beginnin’?
Sherin’s part of his plot
But I don’t care a dot
Cos this film clearly looks down on women.

These fellowzz treat women like dirt
Meant for three things: marry, screw or flirt
Yet they so badly want
A pretty wife to flaunt
But respecting that wife, I guess, would hurt.

It is clear here that women are objects of hate
Why do these boyzz long to wed women or date?
As property to claim?
As scapegoats to blame?
Ask questions, dear viewers, it’s still not too late.

Now you may say: “Who cares for this critic?’
“She’s just too much of a bloody damned cynic”
Well don’t care for me
That’s not the point, you see
We must shame starzz like Perumanna, Lal and Siddique.

Dear leads Varghese, Nair, Bolgatty and Poduvel
Can you tell us when better sense will prevail?
You are good with comedy
But you pick this travesty
How much further will you lower your level?

Honey and Mareena, where goes your self-respect?
Is this not a film any thinking woman ought to reject?
You are artistes, not meat
Not a hungry man’s treat
You okayed this script, knowing what to expect?

This film Chunkzz thinks it is oh so cool
In the way it showzz how these men drool
At those thingies called women
That they don’t see as human
Chunkzz is not even worth our ridicule.

What this film deserves is our utter contempt
From our judgement, it should not be exempt
When we tolerate these blokezz
And laugh at their jokezz
We give such men in the real world consent.

If Chunkzz mocked religious folk instead of women
Netas would wail, cops would put Omar in prison
That is not my demand
I, a viewer, reprimand
Ugly humour that treats women as sub-human.

Rating (out of five stars): none (I refuse to rate this film)

CBFC Rating (India):
U
Running time:
121 minutes

This review has also been published on Firstpost:




Saturday, August 12, 2017

REVIEW 517: CLINT


Release date:
August 11, 2017
Director:
Harikumar
Cast:


Language:
Master Alok, Rima Kallingal, Unni Mukundan, Vinay Forrt, Renji Panicker, Joy Mathew, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Salim Kumar
Malayalam
 

Don’t know about you, but I read about him as a kid in Children’s World magazine: Edmund Thomas Clint, a child prodigy who died just short of his seventh birthday, leaving behind about 25,000 paintings and sketches of age-defying maturity and confidence. During his life, tragically curtailed by renal failure, Clint attracted the attention of the media and cultural icons in his home state Kerala and across India, in addition to some experts who wondered whether his parents were passing off the works of an older person as their son’s art.
 
Director Harikumar’s film is about this wonderkid. As the end nears, the boy tells his parents one day: this world has so many colours, there is still so much left to see, and to think that I have to leave before I do. And to think we will never know the full extent of what he had to offer the world. The thought is heart wrenching, especially because by then we have spent nearly two hours watching his imagination run free with his paintbrush on paper.
 
Oddly enough though, the film itself does not possess a fraction of the colour that Clint filled his life with. Harikumar clearly has his heart in the right place, and a bunch of solid actors to back him, but his direction is bland and the writing limited, bereft of the shading that filled the young artist’s paintings.
 
And so, for instance, when a journalist comes to interview little Clint for the first time, and the chap turns out to be an insensitive, pompous ass, what we get is a caricature rather than a believably sketched individual. No doubt there are plenty of such journalists around, but this one is presented in deliberately exaggerated fashion for effect, and over-acted by Salim Kumar, even given a limp like old-school villains, such that I was surprised they did not also bestow on him an eye patch or a hook in place of an arm. Likewise, a barber who is called in to shave Clint’s head is a large, intimidating fellow with a scary face and the disconcerting habit of spewing paan thhook (spit) on garden plants. We know that Clint hates anyone touching his hair, but did Harikumar have to be literal in his representation of the child’s fears?
 
Clint’s existential musings and innocent questions are as fascinating as children’s conversations usually are, though perhaps more acutely observed. Where do we go when we die? If I die and become a star in the sky, how will you distinguish me from the other stars? What is the mind? Can you tell me what it looks like so that I can paint it? Kids, as the American country song goes, say the darnedest things. The boy’s baby talk is endearing and reminded me of that old toothpaste ad on Indian television in which a father asks his tiny daughter to cover her toothbrush with “aadha brush toothpaste” (a half-brush full of toothpaste) to which she replies, “Daddy, aadha kya hai?” (Dad, what’s half?)
 
What the film needed perhaps, was more of that. Because it dips each time it shifts away from Clint’s chatter.

The dull narrative suffers further because of poor production quality and amateurish cinematography. The frames are exasperatingly unprofessional – I say exasperating because the subject is begging to be turned into a good film and the setting is begging to be well shot. Clint’s home sits in the lap of nature and the camera team’s failure to fully exploit its potential is a constant reminder of the averageness of this film.

The SFX work too is of a low standard, right from those so obviously fake kites flying in the sky in the opening frame. That shot is no doubt designed for a watercolour effect, but it just does not work. What does work later in the film though is a song in which Clint and his Mom walk in and out of settings that metamorphose from paintings to real life and back, with the paintings ranging from impressionist works to more realistic styles. This is the only passage in the film in which Harikumar shows some imagination.

Master Alok is sweet and has a charmingly staid way of delivering dialogues steeped in child-like wisdom. His diction too is impressive for one so young. Little Akshara Kishor playing Clint’s friend Ammu is a darling as usual, though the insinuation of a potential romance between them if he had lived is silly, to say the least.

The rest of the cast is effective enough, but Rima Kallingal stands out for trying her best but being too good for this film. So much could have been discussed during the course of the story: the meaning of mortality, the question of what constitutes art, who decides what art is and so on. Let us be clear: Clint does have some interesting portions, but just some. At the end of the day, it is an ordinary account of what was, from so many accounts, an extraordinary life.

Rating (out of five stars): *1/2

CBFC Rating (India):
U
Running time:
138 minutes

This review has also been published on Firstpost:


Poster courtesy: IMDB