July 7th, 2016


Movie Critique 2016 – 04/21/2016: Aathemeeyulu

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 5 / 5
Recommendation: A family values and morals infused movie with twists that make you glued to the couch.

Happy Birthday Dad!! This is one of the favorite movies of my dad - has all elements that he usually looks for in a movie along with his favorite actors - Akkineni Nageshwara Rao and Vanisree. For his birthday that was on this day I am posting this for him. Aathmeeyulu ( = Soulmates / People Close To One's Heart) is a 1969 Telugu family drama released in black & white and written by famed Telugu author Yaddanapudi Sulochanarani. A simple plot with usual twists and turns that come in a family drama consisting of basic human nature.

Veerayya works for Landlord Jagannadham but is killed while saving Jagannadham's life. The responsibility of his two kids (a boy and a girl) and his unborn child falls on Veerayya's sister - Mahankali - and his wife. Jagannadham and his brother Justice Rajaram offer monetary support for the kids (Suryam and Seetha) and ask Veerayya's sister, Mahankali to take care of the financials. Veerayya's wife dies in child birth and Mahankali gives away the newborn girl to a family who do not have any kids without anyone's consent and infact tells everyone that the child also died in child birth. Mahankali also has a son. Mahankali takes responsibility of all three kids but raises Veerayya's kids in utter misery. Jagannadham moves to city along with his son and goes into business with his brother there and lives with him and his daughter - although sending money timely to Mahankali. Veerayya's kids run away from their home and take shelter at a hotel owner who helps them by giving them job and also a home to stay along with means to educate. The story continues how with hard work the kids grow up to be good citizens, successful in studies, how they meet Jagannadham again, help each other in troubles and take care of themselves as well as everyone. The plot also connects Veerayya's given-away daughter, all the male counterparts including the rogue and the sub-plots seamlessly tying the loose ends.

It is so rare that we see movies filled with family morals and ideals lately. This movie is full of those bringing us back to the basic human nature - friendship, loyalty, honor, love, sacrifice, betrayal, crime, cheating, family morals and honesty. It also comes with some beautiful melodies - some are hit, some rare and some never heard (at least by me). Here are they in this collection.

Suryakantham as Veerayya's sister seems so nice and soft in the beginning but she is nothing but a fox under sheep-skin as always - the kind of roles that she is famous for. She meets her match in Vijayanirmala in this movie.

The style of wearing saree with a very short pallu quite famous at the time seems so different from what we wear today. And yes zero-size wasn’t in-fashion either. Such a relief.

Vijayanirmala (portraying the role of Saroja - the give-away daughter) is a side-actress in this movie - she is the heroine for Padmanabham - who portrays the role of Chittibabu, son of Mahankali. She had not become a top actress by then. She even drives a Lambretta scooter - something that I hadnt seen in a long time too.

Commute by Rickshaws - I remember them as a kid but we don’t see them anymore. Modernization has changed a lot.

The side-actors also have their own songs in this movie which is much rarer in movies currently - Vijayanirmala has an up-beat song and a duet with Padmanabham. Chandrakala (portraying the role of Seetha - sister to Suryam) has a soft melody and a duet with Chandramohan (portraying the role of Chandram - son of Jagannadham) along-side Vijayanirmala.

A thoroughly enjoyable movie.

Book Critique 2016 – 04/22/2016: Murder, She Wrote #12: Murder At The PowderHorn Ranch

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.

Prologue: Go here.

For review of all books under Murder, She Wrote series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: If you want an easy and quick murder mystery pick it up and you will enjoy it.

Murder At The PowderHorn Ranch is the 12th installment in the series that Donald Bain had written based off of the Universal Television Series Murder, She Wrote and published in May of 1999. The plot is set in Colorado on a ranch and ofcourse where there's Jessica there's bound to be a murder or two. :)

Jessica Fletcher and Dr. Seth Hazzlitt take up an offer from their long-time friends Jim and Bonnie Cook to spend a relaxing weekend at their ranch in Powderhorn Valley in Colorado. She wanted to get away for a break anyways. Other folks who were at the ranch the same week were the Morrison Family staying - Evelyn Morrison (the family matriarch), Craig Morrison (her older son), his wife Veronica Morrison, their kids Pauline Morrison and Godfrey Morrison, Chris Morrison (the younger song of Evelyn), his wife Marisa Morrison, Cousin Willy (unmarried cousin) and Robert Morrison (Evelyn's brother). There was a last minute addition, a couple on a driving tour of the Rocky Mountain - Paul Molloy and Geraldine Molloy. The Morrisons expressed displeasure about having another couple on the ranch but went on with everyone.

Following day on a return trip from their riding, one of the wranglers Crystal finds the dead body of Paul Molloy. Everyone is shocked and upset about a murder happening so close and assume it to be a drifter who had killed Paul. Jessica however has her own assumptions is confident that someone at the ranch could have had an opportunity to kill Paul. But what was the motive? Nobody seemed to know the couple. With Homicide Investigator Robert Pitura and Sherriff Murdie on the scene, Jessica offers her full support, theories and helps in investigating along - as always. While they are searching for a motive, who and how someone killed Paul, Geraldine goes missing and only to be found dead the following day.

Many questions keep coming back to Jessica's mind. Who would have killed both Paul and Geraldine? Was it one person or two? What was the motive? Was there a link between the Molloys and Morrisons? As the plot thickens so does the suspects and reasons. Read through to see how Jessica pushes through like a bull and aids the Sherriff and Investigator in solving the murder.

Like many of these books, I could gander a guess on who the killer was around 3/4th into the book. But what and how was something that I could find only at the end. Another easy murder mystery with no hidden surprises but medium twists that will leave you happy at the end.