Monday, March 28

August 15 is a damp squib.



Movie - August 15 (Malayalam)
Director - Shaji Kailas
Producer - M Mani
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - SN Swami
Cast - Mammootty, Siddique, Nedumudi Venu, Lalu Alex, Saikumar, Thalaivasal Vijay, Madhu, Biju Pappan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Shwetha Menon, Meghna, Balachandran Chullikkad, Ranjith & Krishna. 
Cinematography - Pradeep Nair
Editing - Bhoominathan
Music - Shan
Release Date - 25th March 2011


A sequel to the cult film August 1 directed by Sibi Malayil, August 15 is directed by Shaji Kailas, with SN Swamy penning the screenplay yet again and Mammootty reprising his role of Officer Perumal. The first part was inspired by the best selling novel 'Day of the Jackal' by Forsyth and was made brilliantly by Sibi Malayil with a taut script by SN Swami and brilliant performances by Mammootty, Sukumaran and Captain Raju. The second part came into being when Mammootty offered dates to Shaji Kailas and producer M Mani to help them out after the debacle of the disaster called Drona 2010, which they made together last year. 

The storyline is the same as that of August 1. The life of the Chief Minister of Kerala (Nedumudi Venu) is under threat. DSP Perumal (Mammootty) who is in charge of the investigation finds out that a nameless professional killer (Siddique) is the one who wants the CM's life at any cost. The rest of the movie is about how Perumal will stop the killer from getting the CM's life and how he discovers the master brain behind the whole plan. 

While August 1 was a thrilling experience, August 15 fails to engage you at any level, be it the screenplay, the direction or the performances. It follows the same narrative style of Baba Kalyani, made by the same team of Shaji Kailas and SN Swami, with Mohanlal in the lead, which neither grips you or makes you tear your hair out in frustration. A movie which plays out and gets over without any interesting events or scenes in it. SN Swami introduces us to all the villains in the movie in the first act of the film and therefore, there is no suspense element. So the next interesting point becomes that of how Perumal will tackle and nab the killer played by Siddique. But even that is told in a boring and uneventful way. And of course, SN Swami's mandatory part of introducing another main villain character as a shock in the climax is there in this one as well. But Sir, anyone who has seen enough of your films, would easily make out who that guy is gonna be within two or three scenes of his. We as an audience expect the final plan of the killer executed on August 15 to be something of great magnitude, but what we get is a laughable plan which even villains of Vijayakanth films would find lousy to execute. 

Mammootty looks deadly as the cop Perumal. In fact he even looks better than how he looked in the first part. But thats all he's required to do in the film. The great actor is not given even a single scene to shine or do something special. The characterization of Perumal is quite different from what we saw in the first part. Here he flirts with young girls, cracks jokes and gets into fights, which is in stark contrast to the Perumal we had seen earlier. And yea, the goggles are inseparable from him in almost every scene and the loud theme music starts playing each time Mammootty bats an eyelid.  Perumal deserved a much better comeback. 

Lalu Alex is the best thing in the movie. He's brilliant as the additional DGP Peter Scaria. His senior cop role with a comic touch is the only thing that entertains you in this movie. Nedumudi Venu plays the Chief Minister and Saikumar plays the role of the Party Secretary and both actors do a good job of emulating the real-life personalities on screen. Siddique, who plays the main villain is nowhere as effective as Captain Raju was in the first part. The extremely talented actor tries to make the best out of his poorly written role, but with no effect. He also tries to ape Kamal Haasan in some scenes. Jagathy Sreekumar is delightful as usual. Madhu, Thalaivasal Vijay, Biju Pappan, Ranjith, Krishna, Balachandran Chullikkad, etc have nothing much to do. Shwetha Menon and the 'Yakshi' Meghna appear in brief roles and do not make much of an impact. 

The movie also serves as a propaganda film for the 2 leaders of the ruling party in Kerala, as the elections are round the corner. The difference of opinion within the party forms a major backdrop for the story. The CM is praised to the skies and the Secretary is also portrayed in a very good light, which makes it look like a major promotional material for the two of them in the coming elections. Another interesting part is when Perumal looks up the meanings  of words like 'poison' and 'chemical reaction' on Wikipedia with utmost seriousness as part of his research. This must be SN Swami's idea of making his heroes technologically up-to-date. And then there was a random scene where Perumal is stopped by a traffic cop for not wearing a helmet and then he pays a fine of Rs.500 for the same. The scene just pops up randomly in the movie, probably to silence  the question from the audience about Mammootty riding the bike around Trivandrum without a helmet, when there's a law that wearing helmets is compulsory. The movie would make a great advertisement for Royal Enfield Motors as their bike gets the most footage in the movie apart from Mammootty. (Not to forget Ray Ban goggles, or was it some other brand?) The light hearted scenes involving Mammootty and Lalu Alex were funny and deserve special mention, especially the one at Saikumar's office. 

Shaji Kailas has sobered down a bit and there are not as many irritating shots and edits in this movie as compared to his recent ones. But that doesnt mean that there arent any. Its just that they are lesser in number compared to his other movies. Pradeep Nair's camera keeps shaking, zooming in and out in many shots which are purely eyesore material. But otherwise, he has done an okay job. Bhoominathan's editing is also not as haphazard as Don Max's cuts in usual Shaji Kailas films. The theme music created by the great composer Shyam has been remixed and re-used in this movie. But the same music playing out each time Mammootty bats an eyelid, was too irritating. The stunts are very mediocre and they happen in the usual locations like buildings under construction and stuff. 

On the whole, August 15 is a damp squib. Mammootty's great looks and Lalu Alex's performance are the only good things in the movie. The movie further reinforces SN Swami's embarrassing deterioration as a writer. Shaji Kailas has sobered down and has done a much better job compared to the horrifying Drona 2010. But again, its tough to believe that the same person made once made such awesome movies like Commissioner, Ekalavyan, King, Truth, Aaram Thampuraan & Narasimham. Mammootty's kind gesture of helping out the director and producer seems to have backfired because of the same problem that their earlier movie faced - the extremely weak content. 

Bottomline - Watch, only if you have nothing worthwhile to do. 

3 comments:

  1. pls chane the theme of ur blog. difficult to read

    ReplyDelete
  2. No more ratings on this blog. Made a decision not to give marks to any more films. Would rather give my opinions in a sentence as a bottomline.

    ReplyDelete