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May 7, 2017

Ezra (Malayalam) & Dora (Tamil)

It has been a week of paranormal movies for me. I watched Malayalam movie Ezra followed by Tamil's contribution to the week - Dora. First let's see how Ezra fared.

Ezra is a well-put together movie. Is it a great horror film? It is not a horror film; it is a ghost story, you earth bound being. It did not work for me as a horror movie at all because horror means I am looking for something that would bring on the chills like The Shining or The Silence of the Lambs or The Vanishing.

I could easily watch Ezra in the dead of the night without any one around. Even with the menacingly dark shapes of trees moving outside the window it miserably failed to create even a flinch in my ghost film meter needle. Movies with paranormal perpetrators do not make much of an impression on me, so that is not a huge minus. I could even predict who the ghost was trying to take a shot at. *SPOILER* Even ghosts cannot resist the handsome and intelligent Prithviraj, just like us girls. You cannot blame the ghost for choosing wisely 😉

For a first time director, directing experienced actors like Prithviraj is a commendable achievement. Good job, Jay K. Now do not ask the question whether Prithviraj swapped seats with the director anytime during the shooting of this film. When Prithviraj is acting in a new director’s movie I have a feeling that he gets possessed by the director persona quite often – ghost flick or not.

Prithviraj has controlled and contained himself, maturing further as an actor. I can see he had nursed a secret wish to play a 'nukular' scientist and he got to do it in this film. Soon as he donned the 'nukular' outfit it was obvious who would be irresistible (more irresistible than usual I mean) to the paranormal (and normal folks.) Priya Anand - good to see the Fukrey actress after a long time, although she has nothing much to do as a stand-in temp.

The Jewish backstory is the real hidden gem in this whole movie. Don’t go looking for other gems, there aren’t any. Beautifully filmed with great cast and production design it is almost like a self-contained short film within the main movie.

My general impression about Ezra is it is an effort in the right direction to introduce exotic spirits to Malayalis who are all round ‘spiritual’ people. But there is nothing really scary in there. If you want a real scary movie I just remembered a better one from our next door neighbors from not too long ago - Yavarum Nalam or 13B.

Dora is not any more scarier than Ezra. But the reason I watched Dora was not actually to test out its paranormal mettle. But rather to see how Nayantara has evolved as an actor in more than a decade since we first saw her onscreen. To entrust a movie on the shoulders of one character, that too female, is a commendable effort. As a representative of the female audience community I applaud the producers for making that leap of faith and thumbs up to Nayantara who has acted satisfactorily well in return.

Revenge rather than ghost is the driving element of the movie, *SPOILER* just that the instrument of revenge is a ghost. The dialogs between Nayantara's character and her Dad are entertaining and light-hearted. Nayan's character for some reason is shown as a tomboy, as if a real woman would not have the guts to act like she acts. The other main actor in this movie is a car named Dora, which has the body of an Austin Cambridge - a cousin of India's trusted Ambassador car and the soul of an Aston Martin. 

I believe I had read a Stephen King story long ago about a possessed Buick (From A Buick 8). The ghost in the machine theme is nothing new. Although there are no surprises in the story, the revenge element has me rooting for the revenge-taker and if it's a solo gutsy female it all becomes very relate-able. Isn't that a what a watchable movie should strive for?