And one more bites the dust!

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Actor Kalpana died this morning. It comes as a very unexpected bit of news because I saw her onscreen last week in Charlie very much alive, in the best of her active acting form. But the character she plays dies in that film.

It is difficult to explain the initial shock the news has rippled off .. She was one of those actors who excelled in her comic timing and her serious roles. I don’t know how many of you have watched Bangalore Days. She plays the mother of Kuttans played by Nivin Pauly. When the film begins she is a mother-wife residing in the village/town going about her wifely and motherly duties of the home and household. After a certain point in the story, she comes to stay with her son in Bangalore. The way in which she has executed the role and transformation is superb.. At one level the transformation is very comical, but at another level, it calls out attention to a serious problem in the life of more than a few women. These women whose dreams about a life are forgotten after their wedding, adapts themselves to the present life but later when they get a chance lives the life they have always wanted with makeshift changes within the societal set up. The rest of the story of the film surrounding her character is about how her son reacts to such a transformation, his initial disbelief and later acceptance.. Which brings me to a related anecdote a friend shared. She said her teenage kids could not believe when she told them one day over lunch that she does not like to cook. It took a while she said for them to realize that their mother cooked because nobody else did at home and not because she loved it!

The clips are not available online to show you a glimpse..Watch the film.

Watch all those films she has made us laugh out in the moment and later thinking of it ..

Blogathon’16 Day 25
Pic courtesy: Google

pins n ashes

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Charlie (2015) Martin Prakkat, Dulquer Salman, Parvathy

Charlie is a 2015 Malayalam film directed by Martin Prakkat with Dulquer Salman and Parvathy in the lead, supported by Aparna Gopinath, Nedumudi Venu, KPAC Lalita and Kalpana, Neeraj Madhav et al. The film is narrated through the journey of Tessa (Parvathy) who goes in search of the tenant, Charlie (DQ) who stayed in a room she rented before her. Among his things he left behind, she finds an unfinished graphic novel. With it begins a search for the rest of the story, the tenant who drew it and a direction for the plot.

The story of Charlie begins thus. It would have been an ordinary story if not for that room, its exquisite interiors with its crafty stairs, paper lanterns, tinted bottles, wind chimes created by the art director, Jayashree Lakshmi Narayan. We enter with Tessa into Charlie’s world through this house, through the caricatures he has drawn of the people he has met and observed.. And stories some of those people have to say about him… Like he says, “what if we are not real and somebody’s imagination”. Sameera Saneesh dresses Dulquer in some very uber cool colourful attire to bring a very touristy feel and a feeling of lying lazily on the beach .. It brings alive the carefree life Charlie leads .. Through Jomon T John’s lens spanning parts of cochin and munnar (i think) a little more of the ever so loving, sanguine and enigmatic nature of Martin Prakkat’s and Unni R’s Charlie is revealed.. Tessa falls in love with the stories she hears of Charlie and the image she has sketched of him.. And goes in search of him..

Between Charlie and Tessa, Charlie is brought up by his father who has given him the freedom to explore his potential. But Tessa turns out to be the rebellious daughter who runs away from home to pursue her music and animation career against her families plans for her. So, her every step is seen as an effrontery in the eyes of her family where as Charlie has such qualms, he is born, brought and lives like the free bird.. the film gives us two characters who almost at the face of it lead the same kind of life.. But, there is a big but.. Through the banner of Finding Cinema, a very apt banner, the producers have tried to explore cinema taking the art director and costume designer also into their confidence to see what happens if Charlie and Tessa are let loose. The film with its choice of props, locations, shots, aesthetics, narration and depiction make an ordinary love story magical and exciting..

All that said and done, Charlie would have been a better film if it had a stronger storyline. The film comes alive in its moments… These moments or episodes are scattered accounts of Charlie by different people. The supporting cast – Nedumudi Venu is a joy to watch, his interactions with Charlie are just spot on.. Kalpana, she is no more as of this morning has a poignant but small role which moves the plot forward.. Dulquer, he has carried off the role of this character well, an extension of his Aju in Bangalore Days except that here, he is backed by his father in his every endeavour. Parvathy as Tesa has given an excellent performance different from what her role and period demanded of her as Kanchana in Ennu Ninte Moideen. The transition in her is worth a watch ..

I felt the first half a tad bit slow, but the film picks up pace in the second half… For the rebellious.. this is their film, .. It revels in such quirkiness and rebellion, from the dress to scenery .. It upsets the stereotypes of the society and its expectations, but shows that benevolent souls exist.

One highlight of the film for me was nobody dies, ails or is diagnosed with those bigger illnesses like cancer or some such… Usually films that build up momentum towards a certain character brings about the climax with such a revelation. Even if Charlie’s character is built up to be this Good Samaritan, the rescue man and benevolent soul like other reviews have said… he is still active and living life, dreaming everything in double by the end of the film.. (like Bunny says in the climax of Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani.) A feel good film.. A happy film..

Watch it for Dulquer, for Parvathy for the art director, costume designer and the cinematographer… A creative film where a lot of thought has gone into the prepping the look. Distributed by Mammooty’s PlayHouse, directed by Martin Prakkat and written by Unni R, all from Mammotty’s film camp.

Blogathon’16 Day 24

Monday Short Musings: Adaline

Adaline is a character in a 2015 romantic fantasy, who does not age. At the present time in the film, she is 107 years old or close to that number but is still at 38 years. She never grew older or younger than that age, she remains that age after a certain incident.

The film has its own explanations for this no aging phenomenon.. but what strikes a chord is the irony of it all. Look around and most people hold on to youth for possibly many many reasons, sometimes lying about their age, trying out various methods to slow down the process of growing old, at least visibly, looking young….the cosmetic companies and exercise routines that are developed to enchant customers to look youthful! The idea of age as a concept plays in many conversations, either it is a senior-junior relationship at work or a younger-older familial or social relations… age plays up when you are looking for an alliance! Age becomes a factor when sickness hampers bodily routines! Age is referred to when it comes to the colour of the hair, a government appointment for a job.. And here is a woman who is granted that wish of being forever a 38 years old young, a wish for an infinite future at 38 as long as she lives.. a future of youthfulness.. yet she is unable to remain happy.. she feels she cannot hold on to a relationship of any kind for longer than a particular period of time… She also fears she’ll become a curiosity specimen for global scientific experiments.

If you ask me whether I loved the film, well I can’t answer that with any kind of certainty, but it has certainly carved out an imprint in my mind about the fantasy and irony of age.. living.. happiness.. and its worth! I was glued to it… Something and all has been triggered somewhere, the thoughts I have not been able to write out as succinctly as I would have liked to.

What it is to grow up together with a set of people, starting with parents, siblings, classmates, spouses, children, colleagues and friends.. and generally people around us.. may be something many of us do not give a thought to.. what it is to lose somebody we know on the way..what is it to feel secure and happy in our the age we are at!

Post inspirations: Search Terms that lead to my blog :P

The Jithin of Photrablogger dug out this post from somewhere on this blog yesterday, and during the banter (see comments) we came out with this idea of Mundane Laughs by WP. Mundane after a challenge he runs on his blog, the MundaneMonday Challenge 🙂 So, here goes..  let’s share and laugh a little more today..

Here is what got me writing this post in the first place..

fahadh faasil in job's book

One look at the list of search terms and I erupted into a laugh. Somebody landed on my blog with a search term “Fahadh Faasil’s beard in job’s book.” 😀 😀 😀 which just means that Google took it to its head that since I like upper lip hair in men, I will also like their beards~ 😛 ..(I’m kidding, of course) Here is an example. But, seriously if a mention of Job’s book along with Fahadh Faasil *leads to search results of the film Iyobinte Pustakam, I had to run a search. And it is true!

“Iyobe” is the Malayalam name for Job, just like Ousep stands for Joseph, and Ommachan is for Issac. “Pusthakam” means book, therefore, “Iyobinte Pusthakam” can be translated as The Book of Job after the Biblical book in the Old Testament, or simply as Job’s Book

I need to go back to the post on the film to see whether I mentioned anything about body hair at all when I talked about Amal Neerad’s this Job’s Book~ I generally stop and admire men with thick mush in real and reel! The world who walks and talks with me knows it, now google corroborates, (I should be running between clouds now ;)) Fahadh Faasil had spotted an excellent thick mush that curls up, in this film 🙂 🙂

But! Heyy wait a second!! I don’t remember posting on this film on the blog at all.. I need to search! There is but a reference to it, in a post.. there is no dedicated post, which means I need to write one soon, as I loved watching the film.

Now I’m looking at Google eye to eye.. seriously! 😛 😛

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The next search term .. “Manju Warrier washing face look after run!” .. of course film related .. her comeback film, How Old Are You.

*Fahad Faasil is a Malayalam film actor (right there in the pic below) who played one of the leads in director Amal Neerad’s recent film Iyobinte Pusthakam. The characterization is something to watch out for, Lena, even Lal, his two elder sons..

 

 

Ayal Njanalla (2015) | Screenplay & Director: Vineeth Kumar|Fahad Faasil

The title translates as “that person (ayal)  is not me (njanalla)” Directed by actor turned director, Vineeth Kumar.. written by Ranjith.. the film stars Fahad Faasil in a role of a simpleton from Koilandi in Kerala settled in the Kutch region of Gujarat. There he makes a livelihood by assisting his old maternal uncle in his roadside tyre shop. The film is the story of his trip from Ahmadabad to Bangalore a journey that brings him back home.

Fahad Faasil essays the role of this character Prakashan or Paachu,  a villager tanned completely by his work on the barren highway  effortlessly that as an audience I felt, this man is the character he plays.. the simpleton who is in love with a local girl and ask just a week’s notice to raise an amount of over 9 lakh to the money-lender!

The story has all the usual ingredients, a poor uneducated hardworking good at heart man who is left behind to pay the debt his dead uncle had taken from the local money-lender, a love story, the stereotypical villains harassing poor people.. The second part of the story begins in Bangalore and the most of the first half is a build up for this phase in the film…, where he is mistaken for a film star of Malayalam industry..

Fahad looks different for this character, so much so that when I went searching for the film poster, I could not recognize him with his straight hair, wing and his dress as you can see in the picture. Too long a film! I was waiting for the interval and it happened almost 2 hours into the film! It is a good plot, but the build up to it I feel could have been edited out tactfully to shorten the film.. plus as I said, the unnecessary songs.. Except for one, the rest of the songs are unnecessary and become yet another reason to prolong the film ..The first song set in Gujarat, has him in a Gujrati turban and dhoti, it suits him well.. However, the song in turn picturized in the Kutch region with the popular images of sunsets, people in colour costumes dancing on white ground.. camel, women with double decker pots.. seem to be very close to images re-adapted from Amitabh Bachchan’s ad for Gujarat tourism ad.

But the question of where is home.. who is family are put to question. One of the most interesting moves of this film is, the film does not enter Kerala at all.. it is set in Gujarat and Karnataka amongst a Mayalalee settlement. There is also a question of migratory labour, settlements.. but some good punch lines indeed! Second time in recent times, there is a mention of Fahad’s real life in reel life ..and Fahad Faasil.. 🙂 I think I can endure a film even this long for this man’s acting.. he is brilliant as the film pays a tribute to him 😛

making random connections..

I was watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara again, this time more for the songs.. I discovered “der legi lekin..” it is a melodious piece sung by Shankar Mahadevan, composed by his trio team. the lyrics by Aktar are worth a million bucks! Picked it up from a conversation at the breakfast table this morning.. and lo! it is on a loop…

I’m more of a senorita kind of song girl.. so der legi, did not register during the time I saw the film in 2011… in fact even though I loved the film overall.. the concept of the film fell flat for me, because it talked about the way I live … so there was nothing new the film offered like it offered to the people I went with, who were just burying themselves in work alone! and letting each day pass.. for them, the film was a new lease of life! they suddenly realized the importance of fun, friends, time for oneself.. no wonder people have been calling me mature from childhood! bah! 😛 😛 so, you know now why the arrogant side of me, literally scorns at people who think of making money now, do not enjoy even a minute and think of enjoying after retirement types!!  (oh! I do have an arrogant side! ;))

When I wrote a review on this film on this blog, oh! man it was the first time I knew fans associations write mails to personal blog film reviewers …:P It was an illuminating experience to start with… emails long emails, can you beat that!

and precisely when I was re-watching, other than der legi.. the game caught my attention, the game they play in the car to know what’s the source for troubling thoughts.. scene: farhan and abhay deol in the car, where farhan stops at father..

If you haven’t seen the film, the game goes like, I say a word and you reply with a related word without giving it much thought! so spontaneous reactions… Now, here’s the part for you..  tell me which other film has used the same game! .. Bingo..! college, friends, anjali, anjali sharma 😛 KKHH (1998).. it is.. 🙂 There is a story behind how we went to watch KKHH.. as a class from school… long story! some other day.. 🙂

Ok another one up, Kalki also says “teri ma ki..” who else… in which film.. ? ? Kalki’s character says it in Yeh Jawani hai dewaani (2013/14) and the older more famous one before was, yes you got it right.. kareena kapoor’s Geet in Jab We Met (2007-08?)..

As it goes, I’ve been asked ordered to stay away from work, politely for this weekend 🙂 so I religiously obey my supervisor for the first time.. (ya! not a very rule bound girl!) So the long weekend became about making filmy connections… from the morning of today after this conversation a friend of mine and I had of poems..

It is hard to meet somebody these days who quotes poems.. we were there, joined by some others and quoting the romantics and victorians and some of shakespeare’s sonnets..

Serendipity… we set a coffee mug on a coaster…coaster almost always reminds me of, Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven and Ruffalo.. and ruffalo of Hulk, hulk of Norton and Bana, Bana of Troy and Hulk again.. hulk of avengers… avengers led me to captain america.. and one thing led to another and as they say, the rest is history…

Trivia: story behind the featured pic for the post.. as part of a book exchange in one of the book groups, my partner had sent me a book. It as you can see has a brilliant cover my group of friends fell in love with.. and that night while returning from dinner, we happened to see the campus immersed in painting a portion of a road for a festival on campus.. we joined them and painted the cover pic tweaking it a little as our contribution 🙂 a group of friends who also believe in live the moment.. somewhere or the other we all had held a brush to paint in our lives.. but this experience of painting on tar was exhilarating..11024224_1036351229727925_5537083864787144862_o

A few Priyadarshan Films: Vandanam

Chitram, Kilukkam, Butterflies, Midhunam, Vandanam, Minaram … to name a few.

The structure of the films are of a more or less carefree first half and a serious second, which in many films end so seriously that I have thought in case of Vandanam especially, and also Chithram, to an extent, there could be a sequel.. if you have seen the films, the miss and go the director plays with is between the time we take a breadth.. that scene at the signal in Vandanam.. !! !! !! How many times have I wished the ending were different.., but then it wouldn’t be a Malayalam film, if it were, and I wouldn’t be so lovingly ranting here too.. 😉 😉

Let’s take the case of Vandanam…

Vandanam begins when two prisoners played by Nedumudi Venu and Ganesh escape from a heavily guarded jail in between their sentence, (obviously). The film begins with a chase, police sirens.. an alert sounded for two escaped convicts who successfully make their way from a jail in a certain part of Kerala to the city of Bangalore. Since the police have to follow and bring these two back, two officers from the Kerala Police are sent to Bangalore to pursue and catch the escaped convicts with the help of the Karnataka Police.

On the way, Venu narrates his story to his companion, Ganesh who by now we know was just an accessory for Venu, a former professor, to escape so that he can take his revenge. The story the prof narrates has hints of a pent up revenge caused as a result of bruised egos of a set of “the brash rich kids of the college,” contrived to tarnish the reputation of a popular prof into a hate figure.

In this given background, one of our police men played by Mohanlal, falls in love with the prof’s daughter, Gaadha.. (that’s the character she plays) he is asked to keep a watch on… a measure taken to catch the prof in the rare case of if he tries to make contact …who in the audience can forget Gaadha Jam.. I think we who have watched the film thrive on these lines, “where ever you go I am there…” the stakeout is a parallel plot of the film…

Now, by the end of the film, it seems there were two plot, clearly.. but in a situation where they alternate more than theynrun parallel.., they switch on and off when the other one takes over, and this take over alternates till the end… in one plot, the prof is the protagonist, in the other it is his daughter… one plot has an ending, in the other, the ending is open to interpretation… the final couple of shots is wrenches my heart, any time I watch the film..!!

Priyadrashan becomes this filmmaker who breaks his viewer’s hearts at the end of most of his tales. If not the ending, the second half gradually becomes embedded in some tense equation of events of which the first half neatly becomes a part of.. It is the way henplays with it that makes us love and hate him at the same time. I so wished that he should have read the law more closely for his earlier film Chitram, which according to the box office records is the first Malayalam film to run for 365 days in a row…. and for me an anytime watch..

To the folks who have seen his Hindi films, well that man is not what I am  referring to here.. that man was created post or during Megham, now that would be late1990s towards the beginning of the millenium.. or sometime before when he started remaking Malayalam hit films into Hindi where most of them miserably did not connect with the audience until Hera Pheri!

Weekend Films : Dum Laga Ke Haisa (2015)

The only grouse I have towards the director is the film ended too soon, and the climax if it was a climax at all.. came too soon, and that it was predictable.

The story of the film lies in that question about “Bua, can I close the window,” the giggles of the elders sleeping on cots just outside the room of the newly weds, the only fight between them with songs, the buying of the nightie, the food she eats at her home, the kachori night.. the film says a lot in the little things without drama.. I think that’s how it is.

I thought it was all in the vibe between two people … the frequency and the quality of the heart, because those are the traits that remain permanent with changing shades in the structure and colour of the body.. anyways, those are entirely my views, because I consider the vibes as of utmost importance..

I remember watching a Marathi film with a similar story line a while ago.. don’t remember the name though..

I wonder when was the last time I remember somebody referring to the library as the pushtakalaya…And to hear so much of the literal Hindi since school Hindi texts…..

And from the beginning, from the time yash raj opens the title credits, we enter into a Kumar Sanu music zone ..

Ramblings #7 Songs with food lyrics

Amrutham Gamaya.. they call themselves, they are sisters, Amrutha and Abhirami.. Amrutha popularly known as Amurtha Suresh shot into fame with the Idea Star singer in 2007/08, a music reality show in Asianet, one of the Malayalam Channels. So did her younger sister, Abhirami, who was an active kiddo as part of the audience.. soon she landed herself with a role in one of the serials for kids on the same channel.

It took a while for me to recognize that it was the sister. And it seems she has taken up acting as a profession, now that I search Google.. Song-wise, they make a good duo, the sisters, and the song.

The song is from a 1979 Malayalam film, Venalil Oru Mazha starring Srividya and Madhu directed by Sreekumaran Thampy. With Sreekumaran Thampy, it is a guarantee that the film would have lovely songs…  plus, this particular song describes food.

Ayala (Mackeral), karimeen (pearl eyed pomfret), chemeen (prawns)– are all names of sea food although I love karimeen and not Ayala and adore prawns.. the blend of this old songs with a kind of a happy Goan rhythm brings to it an additional liveliness. of course, one of my kind of songs..  🙂

Since I am still on Malayalan film songs with food lyrics.. another one, from a recent film, Salt and Pepper, directed by Ashiq Abu. This one film, we went to watch a big group, about 15 of us, and soon after went to a Malayalee restaurant to have a hearty typical Malayalee meal..

Rambling.. rambling on..

Pictures and videos: Google

Ridley Scott’s Exodus : Gods and Kings (2014)

http://baleheadsblog.com/

Exodus.. is huge.. humane and  …. areal…

where we think of the “it is not a mountain, it is a wave” scene from Interstellar ..

where God as a concept is taken out and looked at as a very scientific and natural phenomenon.

A cursory look at the re-presentation of the 10 plagues in the film, and it shows how natural it is.. one calamity follows the next.. the first plague was brilliantly done how the water turned red..I think all of them.. the boils, the darkness, the locusts, the frogs.. the thunder..

God as a child, God as a hallucination.. God as talking to one’s own self… God as drinking Tea .. (I think I need to start loving tea ya 😀 :P)

There are many diversions from the Biblical story I have read or read through out my life until now.. or heard from the many other sources.. To enjoy the film one does not need to know the story, but if one knows, it is definitely a leverage.

For instance, the scene about the parting of the Red Sea.. all my life, in my mind, I pictured it as Moses taking his stick and striking the water once, miraculously the sea parts into two, into two huge walls of water, two walls that nearly touch the sky… making a way through the sea bed for the Israelites to pass through.

The water on both sides as a wall is akin to that of a walk in room sized aquarium… water and fishes on all sides, and we as spectators walk in to see the fish, real size, in real time..

In this film, the sea withdraws.. there is a sword, there is a striking .. there is Moses.. but the reason for the water to recede is the low tide ..that is where the practicality of the situation walks in, in this Scott movie…. I could relate to this low tide so completely because I have been to a beach like this in Valsad, many times over… where during low tides, the water recedes so much so that the beach goers can walk into the sea.. into the insides of the ocean, into a great distance, walking over stones and rocks and groups of stones and rocks and over sand that was the sea during high tide a few hours ago and will be a few hours later… where the miracle has a grounded explanation..

The first areal shot of Egypt complete with the pyramids and the Nile is worth a watch… I think to capture the large population, the many areal views is absolutely necessary.. this is just one of the many areal shots in the film..

Then there is one with the fire arrows.. picturesque .. the one where the horse dies..

In the middle of all this, I thought, Bale fellow, or rather Moses, you were so hale and hearty as the General of Egypt, why did you ever come out of that luxurious life.. to sun burns, to hunger, to anxiety, to trouble, to hiding, …to guerrilla warfare again.. to become the rebel to lead a slave population out of a country .. Oh ya, then there is that term Slave Economy .. (one wonders)

Recommended. And then watch 10 commandments all over again, and then we are ready for a discussion..

Exodus released today.