I spent my entire Sunday, watching my favourites among Sridevi’s films in parts from the moment I read the news of her untimely death. Thats what most of her fans did unconsciously after they heard the news, they did see a film or two, or a listened to a song from one of hers!

The movie marathon began with Sadma, hopped on to Lamhe, English Vinglish, Chandini to Chalbaaz.. by then it was nightfall!

Which got me thinking about the dynamics of our relationships with celebrities of any kind. We know them through their body of work, the tabloid reports (half of the time are cooked up for sensationalism), the interviews they give .. in the case of a film star like Sridevi, as an audience, I’ve known her through the characters she has played! Still I felt bad this woman was dead, like I had lost one of my own, when I had absolutely no clue whatsoever until yesterday I had a liking for her in the first place to feel!!

*Sridevi’s is an Indian actor whose career of 54 years began when she was 3 or 4 yo. When she moved from Tamil/Telugu films to Hindi in the early 80s, she became the reigning queen, a superstar in her own right, choosing meaty roles alongside the eye-hand candy ones! Indians woke up to the news of her untimely death on Sunday morning! However, now speculations are rife as to the causes of that same death that shocked them!


mom (2017) 

The film goes into the interval saying the oft quoted mother’s day lines, god couldn’t be everywhere, therefore he created mothers. How cliched can a film get! We should have a cliché meter or some such for these kind of films. 

It is a collage of many films, coupled with bad acting, unwanted drama and a pace that made me get up as soon as it said end and run out of the theatre. (If any of you have watched a film with me, you’d know I’m the last one out of the theatre after all the credits have rolled up, applies to films other than Marvel too). Sridevi of English Vinglish is nowhere to be seen, instead we have an actor who is constipated! … Even if one argues, the film is about the sentiments of a mom, even that needs to be presented .. Unfortunately, no. 

As always I love the way justice is meted out to people who slip away from the law as a result of money, influence et al. That was fun to watch otherwise, they try to show a lot, but fail to present it in a manner that is compelling to be anywhere near serious. I didn’t laugh out loud initially because of courtesy, but there were tears rolling down my cheeks because of all that laughter I suppressed even in the most serious of scenes..

Nawazuddin looks different, at times when he did that gimmick with his tongues I thought he resembled a character from xmen! 

Summing up: Clichéd, dramatic and predictable, lousy acting. The plus point, people now will head to Georgia the landscape is outstandingly beautiful! 

Manju Warrier’s How Old Are You? (2014) | Rosshan Andrrews| Kunchachko Boban

I went to watch the film on a Monday evening. The Malayalee audience of this city for the show  came in early, waited patiently in the lobby munching on their first batch of popcorns and drinking their cups of coffee until the cleaning of the screen was over.. to walk in, take their seats, settle down to watch Manju Warrier….it has been a Malayalee dream to see her back on screen.. an actor’s dream to act with her.. may be a director’s dream to direct her and .. so on and so forth.. This  film will  run to house full theatres because we have been waiting for this film for the last 14 years…

…think it was the first shot after the credits…she appeared.. in an ash/grey and green bordered sari…..the audience clapped!

She is back.. and I wish her all wishes to have a successful rerun…

This film is one about Manju Warrier, her comeback.. and two about the transformation of the character, Nirupama Rajeev/Krishnan she plays..  a script that can be talked about as fictitious however, one that resembles Manju Warrier’s own circumstances and absence from the industry for 14 years. The comparison is inevitable.

google images

The crux of the film is the conflict in interest when a working mother/wife Nirupama decides to make a mark, wants to follow her dreams she has been ignoring for the sake of her husband and daughter …she ignored them to a point where she feels she is a different person now. The choices and chances that come by are serendipitous. She decides to take the train and in her journey,  she has a college friend in Susan (Kaniha) who motivates and believes in her abilities, a set of in-laws (Kunjan & KalaRanjini) who are very supportive, a mother (Vanitha Krishnachandran) who is a pillar of strength, and an office colleague who is a partner in her every crime and another well wisher in Vinay Fort as a new recruit in the office ..

What the film does is present to us through the character of Nirupama about a woman’s life as a wife and a mother and how it is shoved under the carpet in spite of all the sacrifices she makes for the family.  Or as the film itself asks… who decides the expiry date of a woman’s dreams? Nirupama becomes the butt of jokes, the most misinterpreted and misunderstood, and unwanted person in spite of her dedication to her loved ones. The villain of the story is the patriarch himself – her husband Rajeev, a struggling professional who thinks of making it big in another country! He is the demotivator, the emotional blackmailer, the perpetually unsatisfied husband/spouse type who guilt trips his wife and makes her feel inadequate! His fickle mindedness will tickle anybody, any woman in fact, with a sense of a self.

Nevertheless, the film did not work for me.. the character did not work neither did the story..the freshness of the opening credits faded out in the first half itself… it reminded me of English Vinglish at each step, to the point where I thought what would the makers done if there was no precedence in a Sridevi and Gauri Shinde English Vinglish! It is a cause of concern, this comparison.. because the Sridevi film had a beautiful build up..the script flowed, there were other characters, there were twists… this one does not…. and that was the flaw if it can be called one… if nothing else, this was another version of the other recent Malayalam films, Bharaya Athra Pora and Varuthe Oru Bharya.. 

But that apart, she is a good actor and has carried her role very well… It is truly her comeback film, And every character and every scene is directed towards her reaching the goal.

For instance, one way the audience is made to love the character she plays more is by creating this counter character of the chauvinistic husband played by Kunchacko Boban. We would hate Rajeev.. for Chackochan has given a brilliant performance … and if not for that powerful hate towards his character, a similar irritation we felt towards the character of the fiance played by Rajkumar Rao in Queen (2014) we wouldn’t have felt that bad for Nirupama. In addition to this, the persona of Nirupama is made interesting because unlike the usual protagonists she has an equal share of flaws as well, bragging for instance is one…. Some of the humour in the film comes from these flaws.

In the midst of all the /[H]onorable/ and /Jokes/ in a typical Malayalam phonetic flow.. the satire on the serial audience of Malayalam Television, the backbites and the stereotyping of the so called intellectual reading habits, recreation of men, one take away is wash your hands and your vegetables and fruits because “they contain a cocktail of pesticides…” grow your own vegetables, build houses with a space for a little garden of your own..

One disconnect however is that Manju Warrier, the marathon runner is very different from Nirupama Rajeev/Krishnan of the film.. The marathon run seems almost like a dream sequence just like the second half of the film is a page from a modern fairy tale…

In terms of the locations  of  the film, anybody who has been to Jaipur would LOL at a particular scene or react with a sense of a recognition towards it  🙂 As for any Cochinite, like me…the film is a short quick trip to my city.. I went home and returned in a span of 2 hours or so.. 🙂

On another note, I really hope against hope the common Malalayalee will take the essence of the film seriously.. and hereafter stop looking at people, Malayalees and others, in terms of just age. Ageism is one rampant disorder among Mals in particular.. in myriad ways, the younger generation in particular has ways of looking at the older ones.. passing comments such as they are old therefore they have nothing else to do therefore become religious or some such thing! or see serials or buy clothes for them in pastel shades instead of their favourite reds and greens…

The film says out loud and clear that age really does not matter, what matters is  always the will.. the will to take up, the will to work, .. who are we to typecast the older generation or anybody older to us as ineffective, spiritual or useless because they have gone past a certain age! Let’s be as careful and sensitive to age as we are towards say women empowerment!

PS: I can’t really figure what is so intellectually different about watching episodes of Friends, Sherlock and Hannibal and soap operas in regional languages. A form of entertainment people get addicted to, seek pleasure in and find a routine time pass!


Why Homemaker why not Housewife ?

I have a question for you followed by a sub question, demanding an immediate explanation.

Q: What do you prefer to be called? Home maker or a house wife. If one or other, what’s the difference.

Personally, I somehow prefer the term homemaker, which in meaning is the same as the house wife, except that it is gender neutral. This word home maker can also refer to a stay at home husband. Either way, the primary work of both the parties, man or woman, is to run the house – run the machines in there, run the kids, run their lives, in short keep the house  alive, and convert it into a living space.

Indians conveniently dub the work-part as duty when the home maker in question is a woman. In continuation, she is also designated as unemployed, therefore unpaid, as a result, the work she does is mostly dubbed as something anybody can do. Here, the ANYBODY, ranges from uneducated to professionally unqualified to jobless to dumb to a professional who earns outside the house. As a continuation, most of the newly married women or even the to-be married girls look down at when asked their preference to be at home.  The term house wife has been rolling for a long time, and caught some bad moss. As a result, only the untalented good-for-nothing wives take up the job of a house wife.

On a very serious note, why, why do most of us who know to use language at a decent level, (when I say use the language, I mean, you know not to use, Thank you so much, or my dearest wife, or more happier unconsciously) prefer to be called home makers to house wives. Husbands who sit at home, call themselves, house husbands, but many wives who do the same in India prefer the maker. Now when the husband takes charge, the work then translates as responsibility. It is a star added to medal list of honours.

Does the maker make the role of being at home more attractive and respectful?

I’m just curious. Give me answers…

Managing the home, I’ve seen my mother and when I did it for a few months a couple of years ago, it turned out to be this hectic task. It is multitasking and calling out our known and unknown skills from the air, past and ancestry at the same time. Our creativity cells in the brain never get to rest. Because the customer satisfaction in question is of utmost priority. Here is a situation where you are the boss and the peon, you create, manage and finish the work. The pressure is to keep ourselves motivated. There isn’t a new project coming in from an onsite client, or an offsite planned at the end of the working week on Friday. You plan your projects, you plan your offsites, you decide the work flow and assign the tasks to yourselves and the people concerned. The payment is not at the end of the month either, it has to be given daily in dollops of love and acknowledgement.

It is a routine one does because we love doing it for our loved ones or at least this is what is taught to us, and it is internalized as our duty.

Think about these scenes from English Vinglish and A life in a Metro. The characters played by Sridevi (Shashi) and Shilpa Shetty (Shikha) at different times feel the pangs of guilt or more appropriately made to feel guilty for being absent at a time when their children fell ill. In Shashi’s case her son hurt his leg and in Shikha’s her daughter was shivering in fever.

They are pronounced guilty and irresponsible mothers because at one of those crucial moments when their kids fell ill, the fathers had to take over and do the job. That FB wall post is so appropriate. Men at work, because when they do they announce it, while women work all the time

Many women would have empathized with Shashi during English Vinglish. Remember the scene when she learnt that she was an entrepreneur 🙂

(Paraphrased from the film )

Teacher: What do you do Shashi?  

Shashi: I make sweets, round ones — ladoos — and sell them. Small business from home.

Teacher (delighted): You are an Entrepreneur, Shashi.

For Shashi, it is the first time in her life when she actually thought about her ladoo making as worthwhile. Otherwise, it was a hobby she pursued when she had some free time when her kids went to school and her husband went for work. It is her moment of reassurance, it is a moment of self-importance, it is that moment when she realizes that her ladoo making is an art, she realized that she finds time to make them  between managing her home, husband, kids and MIL.

Until that moment, nobody gave a second thought to her ladoo making, everyone relished it on the table, and from the kitchen, but it was not a task worthwhile enough to pat her on the back to say, well done….nobody took it seriously, it was just a routine activity she did which was not emphasized, something that all housewives did and do in India in their free time!

What is so euphemistic about the homemaker… that the housewife is not when the jobs in the list chart are the same.