Two traits to judge! 

Often, our impression about a person or a place revolves around one or two traits, albeit their multifarious personality. Like this restaurant I remember for its sizzling brownie in spite of their delicious multi-cuisine menu. When I returned to them on my latest visit, I realized it wasn’t the dessert alone, but the act of pouring the chocolate sauce onto the pipping hot plate by the butler, that made a world of a difference to the experience of ordering a brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with toasted nuts strewn around in a sizzling chocolate sauce there. It took the absence of that butler for me to realize the real reason behind my love for this item on their menu. Not similarly, but still, the marbled domed structure of the Taj Mahal in the backdrop of a full moon and/or bathing in sunlight is one of the first impressions that has etched itself in the minds of Indians and foreigners alike about Agra, and India. Then there is this romantic angle of undying love of a King for his dead Queen. This could be one of the reasons why couples flock to the Taj to click themselves on a bench in front of it. On one such occasion in 1992 when Princess Diana sat alone on that same white bench in its backdrop, the rest of the world speculated if all is well inside this British royal family.  

Putting together the innumerable ways together, this monument is presented before the world as a synecdoche for India, like the Eiffel Tower has come to represent Paris, Statue of Liberty, New York, a yellow snake around the neck picture as Singapore, and an eagle perched on the hand as part of a desert safari in Dubai. Once a colleague of mine thought I was being a traitor to my southern upbringing when I chose to drink a cup of tea over a cup of filter coffee. 

Even the broadest of minds on a few occasions fall into the trap of a single image-idea representation of person and place like my colleague did then, which has become a inside joke among us since.

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#Mondaymusings

Pingami (succesor) is a 1994 film in Malayalam with Mohanlal & Thilakan in lead roles. 

Unlike the usual everyday life* of a character whipped up by Sathyam Anthikad, this is a thriller. Therefore, when the film begins with a familiar scene of a friendly conversation at a bus stop, a captain returning home for his annual vacation, the audience will not suspect a hidden mystery.  

However, Captain Vijay Menon (Mohanlal) like his audience will soon find out that Kumarettan (Thilakan) whom he found severely beaten up, left to die, on the road has a key role in his life unknown to him until then. 

The plot begins to gain a certain momentum when on the next day, Kumarettan’s death is reported in the newspaper as a hit and run lorry accident. When an irritated Vijay confronts the duty doctor and the editor he finds their careless attitude towards the death of this man disturbing. On further enquiry with the locals, he finds out that the deceased was a journalist, known for his fearless exposes of corrupt politicians and businessman. The hit and run was a successful attempt to take his life. Vijay determined to get to the bottom of this murder, visits Kumarettan’s home to get access to his personal writings and space. 

The story that links the two men takes on a depth when Vijay reads a diary entry about a tragedy 18 years ago. Little did he know when he took this man to the hospital out of human concern, that he had been the sole witness to the brutal murder of his father considered until then to have committed suicide.

At the beginning of the film, Vijay finds a letter posted by Kumarettan protruding out of the post box. He tries to push it in, unable to do so, he takes it out, and makes sure it drops into the box safely this time. That letter becomes a key to solving the case. How he later links Kumarettan of the road accident as the sender of the letter, to finding out the secrets behind the death of his father, and missing mother and baby sister, is how the film ties the lives of the two men together in the plot. 

Kamaladalam* (1992)

Today, as I re-watched Kamaladalam, I wondered about the immense trust Sibi Malayil & Lohitadas, the makers of the film, had in Mohanlal* to play a classical dancer. Lal had proved to be an excellent dancer in his earlier films, however, in Kamaladalam his character demanded him to behave like an expert in Bharatanatyam with his actions and performance alike. Usually, in such a case, a trained dancer is brought in as cast, like Faasil did, to pair up with Shobana’s Nagavally* in Manichitratazhu*. 

Looking back, this was a gamble Malayil & Lohitadas took with Mohanlal. But Mohanlal has done really well. During the release of the film, there were rumours that Lal used a body double for his dance scenes, which is possiblity, but I’d like to believe it is Lal and Lal only. 

*Kamaladalam is a 1992 Malayalam film written by Lohitadas and directed by Sibi Malayil. This was released in the same year the female lead actor of the film Monisha died in a gruesome car accident. 

*Mohanlal is a well known actor & superstar of Malayalam Cinema. 

*Shobana bagged her first national award for actor in a leading female  role for Nagavally/Ganga in Faasil’s Manichitratazhu in 1992. 

*Manichitratazhu is one those cult films in Malayalam which has recently been remade in Tamil, Bengali and Hindi. 

#TuesdayTattles


It isn’t a secret that I’m huge dosa addict. Here again, dosa. The chutney is coriander and shallots with coconut, a juice of lemon. 

#solo water, air, at interval …

“In future, don’t call me for a film with Dulquer in it,” said MJ. The last time she said this was when as a family we went to watch Kunjachacko Boban’s Chandamama

We had gone to watch CIA a month or so ago, I was bored by the interval, but she said, respect the makers until it ends… not that she liked the film either. We had chosen DQ over Tovino that day, but found out the nezt day itself that Godha was a much better film than a comrade going to America via Mexico …

Intermission over. 

In Solo, Thrilok is beautifully done. Shekar, needs a lot of patience., literally. 

#Roshomon from Solo.

I’m hooked to the song. Wow. The next sensation after #Jimmikikammal could be.

in my Daddy’s Shoes #windowchronicles

Two little feet in a tan lace up shoes, walking, more like dragging those shoes along. I can see him through the bars of my gate, walking towards the road, behind his mother and little sister. They do this walk every day in the morning, to see his dad off. The mother and her two children, but this is the first, he found his dad’s shoes. 🙂

I’m sitting by the window sipping my coffee, looking out for my bulbul who comes and perches on the guava tree. My little bulbul for the day today walked in tiny feet in a pair athletic daddy shoes.

Ironically, an October 2

The irony of the day that was is, here in India it was Gandhi Jayanthi, a celebration of a man who popularised non violent peaceful ways of resistance (of course, I’m bracketing off my reservations on him, here), while there in Las Vegas an older man not so gently, fired at a crowd killing 58, injuring 500 plus.

I’m not setting out to compare the two men, however, the extremities of the day cannot be ignored. The 148 year old Gandhi, if he were alive,  would have told Paddock to take to Satyagraha instead of using his guns. That said, what’s this world of people who start to fire, take up weapons to lynch, and gather together to conspire really want to say? Are these violent means their way of expression of a resistance? Then what’s this about killing innocent people they catch hold of, rather than targeting the ones who have caused them harm? Unanswered questions at the moment, I know,  

Now, somebody should have caused them some harm, sometime, otherwise why would somebody react.. like Newton’s third law .. is this mass murder an opposite reaction to some earlier action? Or this guy could be unstable in the head, therefore, brainwashed .. who in their right mind would go shooting into a crowd? But their reactions filter down to the non actors who become the victims of their rage, like they did today. The culprits walk scott free. 

One of those days that will go down in history … 



Manju Warrier as Sujatha will strike a chord with the audience

I watched Nil Battey Sannata by sheer accident, a film which released without much fan fare last year in 2016, it was advertised more by word of mouth, than a flashy trailer or a paid review. Udhaharanam Sujatha from Joju George & Martin Prakat, directed by Phantom Praveen has Manju Warrier as Sujatha. What more does the Malayalee want. I hope this will turn out to be Manju’s that come back film which will establish her again in her second coming.

The film was made in Tamil as Amma Kannaku starring Amala Paul …  more of the review here.

 

Adam Joan is an out & out Prithviraj film

Adam Joan is a serious intense film, intense in emotions, about the members of the Pothen family partly settled in Scotland. They get embroiled in the practices of a Satanic cult when Ila, their youngest member, is kidnapped during an Easter season in Scotland. The film is narrated as little stories of guilt and misgivings of each of the Pothens, which in turn, casts doubts on each of them, with respect to the kidnap of the little girl. Set in the backdrop of the Christian and the Satanic church, this film makes for an interesting visual and ritualistic contrast. Read the rest of the review here.