Satire of White Elephants

Even though Marimayam of Mazhavil Manorama is the better known satire on Malayalam television channels, there is another program which is aired at 10:30 PM every Saturday and Sunday, keeping a high standard for itself too. Vellanakalude Nadu, the satire shown on Asianet has its name inspired from the 1988 drama satire directed by Priyadarshan, scripted by Sreenivasan and produced by Maniyanpilla Raju. It had Mohanlal and Shobhana in the leading roles supported by a fine group of popular names of that time.

With its memorable comic scenes and its work as a political satire on the system as well as the people who were around it, the movie is often considered as a classic even though its Hindi remake Khatta Meeta with Akshay Kumar and Trisha Krishnan in the lead roles didn’t do that much. Translated as “The Land of White Elephants” with its title, this television series deals with the random situations that a common household come against, and it usually has someone from outside trying to interfere with their lives.

The last week’s episode had the protagonists, Sivadasan and Kunjumol being fooled in the name of providing visa to work in the Middle East. It is a commonly used idea, and the episode actually added an addition layer to it along with creating some more funny situations with the neighbours and the relatives. Cheating related to visa has been quite common with agents making fools of the people who are in need of an urgent job. Such characters are also common, making an appearance also in the recently released realistic flick, Pathemari.

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All the stories revolve around the two protagonists, and the rest of the cast actually changes their personalities. Susu is the neighbour and friend of Kunjumol, but both friends are jealous of each other. Susu’s husband is played by two actors, one playing the character called Vinod and another Jimmy. Both characters are part of the television series in one role or the other, with one who doesn’t play the husband role plays another person in the locality. Another character is Manjulan who comes up with something new every episode.

The rest of the characters include the sister and brother-in-law of Sivadasan along with two other characters from the locality. The need for them arises according to the story of the episode. There are times when the story is almost fully shot inside one house only. Sometimes there will be more focus on the different offices. The episode usually starts with Sivadasan and Kunjumol, ending it also with them, with other characters dropping in between. There have been a few exceptions about it though.

There have been a good number of interesting episodes in Vellanakalude Nadu, and almost all of them have left some nice and valuable messages on the society. There was one episode which dealt with the mobile tower related issue and another one with the phenomenon of fake certificates. The issue of companies making false promises towards its customers, was one of the best taken episodes. They could even take the common problem of alcoholism and bring the message in a very interesting way.

The advantage of this program is that the cast is not just very good, but they are also a lot suitable for the characters which they play here. The earlier episodes were different though, set more in the offices than anywhere else in the Marimayam style, and the characters were also somewhat different, even with the core remaining the same. The change of the focus to houses instead of the offices has helped the program to bring an identity of its own, different from Marimayam, and it has been a good positive thing which will make sure that the program does better!

***The image used in this blog post is a screenshot of the first screen of a video shared by Asianet.

TeNy

Question of a Million

There is one question which has been commonly asked during talks – What if you had a million dollars? Before converting into rupees, that didn’t provide me that shock which was needed. Well, one million dollars was equal to 65,369,500 rupees when I last looked, and that is an amount which I am sure that I will never earn by myself in my whole life. It is not just the money that I won’t have, it is also more than all the money that I will need. So, this weekend’s WOW topic had me in some doubt. Well, the solution comes in many ways for the extra money that you will have.

Well, whoever you ask if there is the need for money, I am sure that the answer will be yes, even in the case of the top level millionaires. There is a little bit of a journey which has to be done around the world, and that is all for which the money needs to be spent. It has to cover Eastern Europe, especially Romania, as I had mentioned in my earlier post. There are also those historical cities like Rome, Venice, Barcelona, Milan, Berlin, Florence, Lisbon and Paris with all those amazing architecture. The other continents actually don’t have that much for me to travel through, except for a few places and that too the cheaper ones to wander around.

And then there was the Lighthouse Beach at Kovalam.

You need the beacon of light on this one; after all it will be the season of doubts.

This actually means that I will be left with something to talk about after finishing the journeys. The number of places to visit will only get lesser in number if things get repetitive, leaving me with more in the bank. Back home, the need for another house, four-wheeler and two-wheeler are not there as I am satisfied with what all is there already. What I have as of now is good. Trying to get more and more will only make me not liking myself that much. Too much luxury will only make me not the person that I have been. Most of us already have more than what we really need.

I am also not a person who believes in changing according to new fashion, and so the already existing clothes will be there for an eternity; I never judged people by their clothes much and never really cared what people thought about they way I dressed. It just needs to fair and decent; nothing more. A person is to be judged by good he or she is, and not by the grand clothing, and so there is no expense coming up there for me. My journey to different parts of the world is to be quick and will have almost no shopping with minimum food, and so there will be more left in the bank.

A few years ago, we used to have a Halloween program, and we collected what we could from the homes around our place and donated the same to a number of charity homes. The youth had decided to turn the night which was looked upon in a negative way into something positive. The response was nice, and one of the recipients we considered was a boys’ home called Snehakkoodu at Aluva. Unlike the other places which had the support of a lot of patrons, this at that time seemed to be a place which could use a lot of help.

Is there a sign of relief among the dark clouds?

Be the light in the darkness; be the colour among the black and white!

The place would be my first home to provide a donation, and I am sure that it will be a very useful act for them. It is all about helping the people in need rather than anything else, and they were in need at that time. Sadly, after we moved from Aluva, I haven’t been there much, and I would like to leave quite something from the amount for them. There is also the Home for the Aged and the Infirm, a few kilometres from Aluva, and I also wish to leave an amount for the old and sick people there.

As we help people in need, there are many around us who are not in that much of good situations as we are. There are our own friends, relatives and neighbours who live around us, and they will also be in need at times, for which some of the money could be kept in reserve to provide for them. We also owe something to them, irrespective of religion, caste and status. It is our duty as an Indian not to discriminate by divisions, and to help our fellow countrymen, the people whom we see each and every day and are in need.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me only.

TeNy

Destination: Impossible

My list of places to travel in this life has been a very long one. I have often thought about buying a new shelf to keep that list. The cities like Rome, Barcelona, Milan, Vienna, Florence, Lisbon, Venice and many others have been part of that list, along with a good number of Latin American nations. There have also been nations on the Eastern side of Asia and the South of Africa which have been in my list. But there is something about Eastern Europe and one nation in particular, which I wished to visit right from my childhood, even before I knew more about the nations, their geographical locations, capitals and the distance to be traveled from here.

I know my friends who wish to travel and settle down in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, along with those who are already there. I am the first one to make this wish here, and I made it when I was in school, and nobody knew the name of even one Eastern European nation other than Russia. I wanted to travel to Romania. Some friends thought that I wanted to travel to Rome with its Colosseum and Vatican, but that was not my priority. I wanted to see the legend, the hero and the prince of darkness, or at least what remained of the myth and history.

I have loved almost everything I have known about Romania, the most recent love related to Simona Halep, the World No.2 in Women Singles Tennis; that even lead to our cat being named after her. Coming back to the love for Dracula, the first non-Malayalam horror novel which I have ever read, Carpathians had become a grand part of my perpetual endearment towards the unexplored side, something which was to be kept away – the kid who read horror is never the lovable kid, right? It was the time when I had to read the children’s books, and there I was, reading the horror novels.

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“That kid who read horror novels” – not that much of a popular tag to have at the Municipal Library of a town; it was a fair title though. Then there were people who had the shocked expression seeing me with the horror novels. I was often called Dracula in the class and I loved it so much; as I soon asked to be called that name, my classmates realized that they couldn’t make fun of me by calling me Dracula and they decided to stop addressing me so. The horror always existed with me, and the genre grew, with horror movies and then reaching my final MA English and Literature project about Vampire as a Cultural Construct.

The Carpathian Mountains should be my place to begin. I should be there alone and be the Jonathon Harker of the time, and it is something which I owe that kid who read horror novels. The Bran Castle should be the big destination as the Dracula Castle, along with Poenari Castle and Hunyad Castle making sure that the legend is truthfully followed. I have always loved the castles even outside the horror stories, and with the myth connected here, you know which is the castle which I wish to visit long before any other. The Dracula Castle is like a holy site of myths for us!

Bucharest, the capital and largest city of Romania also needs to be visited. I have found a number of interesting buildings on the pages, most significant ones being Saint Spyridon the New Church, and the architectural beauty in right there with modernity as well as those with antiquity. Another city on the list is Iasi for the Metropolitan Cathedral there. Constanța, the port city where Simona Halep is from, also makes it to my list. The other cities include Timisoara, Ploiesti, Sibiu, Craiova, Brasov, Galați and Cluj-Napoca – you search for details about a city, and you end up wishing to visit them!

Well, it is clear that I have no job as I have been learning the names of cities. I wish that my MA thesis would come to its real end during a trip to Romania, or may be I could do a Ph.D thesis there on the same topic; the journey is a wish that is never to come true, and Romania is a dream destination which is never to be added to the “visited” list. This is one destination which seems necessary for my salvation, but it is also something which I have put on another list of many impossible things. Do I need to say those six impossible things before tea? May be I do.

***The image used in this blog post was taken by me on Samsung Galaxy A5.

TeNy

Actors and Birthdays

I have not cared much about birthdays, and as I am not specifically inclined towards any actor or actress except for liking a few people, I have never found the need to post on the birthdays of celebrities. Birthdays were never really the days which interested me, as they have always been the dates which started counting towards the end of our lives. But I was randomly going through a number of Malayalam movie industry related pages and found that it was Dileep’s birthday yesterday. Then I thought that I would just provide something for the day, a list of the most popular movies which he has acted in, and those which I have liked more than the others.

Well, Dileep has always been the favourite of the crowds. He did have three smooth movies this year with Life of Josutty, Love 24×7 and Chandrettan Evideya, all three of them deserving better reception at the box-office than they got, because Dileep was very good in them and they were of fine quality as well as working for people from all walks of life and generations. But the movies below are the ones for which I remember him for; the same is the case with a lot of Malayalis. The true fact is that even before he became the leading star, he had started becoming a favourite with his comedies.

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1. CID Moosa: There are movies which have many memorable comedy scenes from Dileep, but CID Moosa is a movie which is full of them. The story of the jobless youth who wanted to be a police officer, but ended up being a private detective is one of those movies which is full fun. The memorable moments include the protagonist trying to learn Hindi from cinema posters, situations related to his pet dog and the adventures of the private detective himself. The support is amazingly grand here with a long list of awesome comedy actors who bring awesomeness, but Dileep is once again the man to look out for.

2. My Boss and Darling Darling: The former has Dileep paired with Mamta Mohandas who plays his boss, and this movie was the funniest movie of the year, and the best comedy entertainer from Jeethu Joseph, the maker of Drishyam and Memories. The latter is a movie from a much earlier stage, as Dileep played a funny character with negative shades which came as a surprise to many – he plays a man who tries to marry the girl whom his best friend is supposed to marry; what follows is the comedy which remains classic; most memorable one is the “pennu kaanal” scene, which might be the best ever in Malayalam cinema after the same in Sandhesam.

3. Meesa Madhavan: Establishing Dileep as the big star in the industry, Meesa Madhavan provided Dileep as well as the viewers with the magic of comedy as well as feel-good, as it also brought Indrajith Sukumaran as the grand villain. The process had started with Kuberan, but that was not of such grand scope as Meesa Madhavan which was heroic with him playing the role of the good thief. With movies like Two Countries and King Liar coming up, what the viewers expect would be something that reminds them of this glory. Beginning from Father Abel’s Kalabhavanat Cochin, Dileep has come a long way, and this movie was the right deviation.

4. Punjabi House and Kalyanaraman: The speciality of these movies is that they were combined efforts, and they had Dileep in a team play. While the former had Cochin Haneefa, Harisree Asokan and Indrans doing the big support, the latter got Innocent, Salim Kumar and the other serious actors contributing to the comedy. The former was remade by Priyadarshan in Hindi as Chup Chup Ke with Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor, but could never be the same, and it is more of a credit to Dileep and his team rather than anyone else. Both movies were huge hits of the times!

5. Marykkundoru Kunjaadu: I haven’t forgotten Romeoo, Pandippada, Thilakkam, Chanthupottu and Ee Parakkum Thalika, but I would finish the list with Marykkundoru Kunjaadu because it came at a time when we were looking for such nice comedy from Dileep and it was missing before that. With a sequel already announced, this movie had great fun in store, with Biju Menon nicely contributing and supporting Dileep in such a way that we just loved each and every moment of their presence. The title translated as “Mary had a little lamb”, this movie became what Kaaryasthan had partially become.

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***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies Love 24×7 and Life of Josutty.

TeNy

Warriors of Facebook

Do you know enough about the warriors of Facebook? They are still there. More than an year ago, they were busy abusing Maria Sharapova and she went on to win the Grand Slam; they were abusing Mitchell Johnson and he played a major role in the defeat Indian cricket team faced in the hands of Australia. Prithviraj Sukumaran whom they abused is now writing a nice success story which started with Celluloid and Memories which goes on through Ennu Ninte Moideen and Amar Akbar Anthony, and the one whom they hated so much, Sreesanth is back.

There was another person whom the Facebook trolls didn’t like; it was Aashiq Abu when he had a negative opinion about Kamal Hassan’s Vishwaroopam during its release. The same situation is faced by Jude Anthany Joseph, the director of Om Shanti Oshana when he gave the idea that he didn’t like Aashiq Abu’s Rani Padmini. It is surprising how the situations change. It seems that nothing matters in the end for the Facebook warriors of abuse, because they just want to shower everything bad on someone all the time, and people at the receiving end changes.

Om Shanthi Oshana: A movie depicting true love.

The problem started when Jude Anthany Joseph won a State Award, and a few people who were fans of a few actors, actresses and directors started losing their mind. They started using fake Facebook profiles to abuse the man. Well, those who come up with fake profiles and nonsense don’t deserve a nice reply. Those who can’t be decent to others shouldn’t expect a good reply from anyone. These people who are completely against people having opinions don’t even deserve to comment. It is all about mutual respect and only when you talk in a decent way that you will get respect in return.

This is a world when pages take money and keep saying that a movie is so good, and there are actors, actresses and directors who keep saying that other movies are good. Meanwhile, Jude Anthany Joseph came up and told that he didn’t like a movie. He just told what he felt after watching a movie. He became one of those few people who spoke his mind rather than simply saying that all movies are so good. Aashiq Abu also told that earlier, and when these people have their opinions, it means that they are directors who can think differently, and it is a positive sign for Malayalam movie industry.

But the fans will only take these negatively. They think that it is against a person, or rather their favourite celebrities. It is time that these people understand that a movie is a work of art which is open to criticism, and there are no actors in a movie, but characters. We compare the performances, but we never judge them by the people whom they are in real life. Some people will like a few movies and some people don’t. If you go on abusing people who don’t like your favourite movie and bring the spam everywhere about this movie being the greatest movie in history, do you think that it is good? Do you fans think that it is a better thing to do?

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About Jude Anthany Joseph, mine is not that same as his opinion about Rani Padmini, and it is the exact opposite of what he said. At the same time, I don’t even agree to his Facebook status that Amar Akbar Anthony was a great entertainer. I also don’t find the exact same reasons to like Ennu Ninte Moideen as he talked about on his Facebook status. I have agreed to his opinion on Kunjiramayanam, and also on Loham – the list goes on and on. But does that matter much as long as he is a person and it is just another opinion as it is mine? People from the industry who keep talking about the movies as great, awesome, fantastic and all, just need some favour from the rest of the people from industry!

But what they have to understand is that while watching a movie, they should be people with opinions, and they need to speak their opinion and not something which they prepared to say before watching a movie. It is our right to show that we have individuality and the ability to be ourselves. Remember the idea of Mili? It is our decision to post what we like on our pages, and the blind fans who are yet to discover the freedom of opinions can make the choice not to visit and read! If you have the ability to think, accept the fact that people have opinions on a work of art, and don’t take it personally.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies, Om Shanti Oshana.

TeNy

Why Watch Rani Padmini?

It was only a few months ago that we had Mili, the story of an introvert girl trying to move forward in life all alone as the society doesn’t find the need to understand her. There have also been movies like How Old Are You with the female protagonist trying to leave her mark in front of her family members. Most of us have watched Queen. But one thing that we can say about Rani Padmini is that it is different, and along with Mili is another movie which supports those who wish to rise above the limitations imposed on them. There are many reasons to watch Rani Padmini.

So, Rani Padmini tells the story of two women, Rani and Padmini who go on an adventure like never before in their lives and meet each other in a bus. It is an adventure which is beautifully portrayed with a nice touch of humour which runs through this light-hearted, lovable movie. Through this journey of the two ladies, there will be the realization of some truths for not only these two, but also for people who are around them. It is sure to change their lives, and at the same time, the movie is certain to bring some nice feel-good effect with beautiful messages for all of us viewers.

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Rani Padmini doesn’t restrict its scope to one type of person, unlike what these kind of movies usually do. It has two protagonists, both ladies from different situations and having different personalities, sharing the same bond, and carrying it towards the end, changing the lives of both of them. Both these characters actually compliment each other rather than working towards making one’s life better. The one from the world of modernity or the traditional world is not considered better than the other, as the significance here for both are the same – a case of sharing the good and the bad.

Rani Padmini is undoubtedly the most beautiful movie shot with a theme like this. There are not only those wonderful visuals of the mountains, the way in which the whole movie is shot has something special. Aashiq Abu could nicely bring the idea and message on the screen through the beauty, which makes sure that the whole thing is more memorable. His previous movie just had the looks and style which went down the drain, but the director has understood how to use his skills in such a way that the experience will stay in our minds forever. Then there is also the beauty of nostalgia which Aashiq Abu never forgets to bring!

Rani Padmini doesn’t take sides, and it is the truth. On the journey towards finding individuality, it is a story of anybody who wishes to be different and stay away from the stereotypes. A significant problem of movies with similar themes is that the taking of sides make people feel that the director and the story-writer could only thing from one perspective. The audience can feel that this movie is inclined towards sides, but it is never limited to one side. Rani Padmini is a fair movie, not only to the female protagonists, but to a lot of characters in the movie. You have Manju Warrier and Rima Kallingal bringing amazing performances to add to that!

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There are factors which Rani Padmini needs to overcome. The most significant one is from the blind fans who are trying to promote the overrated movies Amar Akbar Anthony and Ennu Ninte Moideen at the expense of other movies which are actually better than these two. The former is no Kunjiramayanam and the latter no Premam with the failure to use all which were at hands. It is only a matter of time until more and more of the thinking audience will watch these two movies and let everyone know that former has too much of low class comedy along with a rushed fake ending while the latter fails to use the great material which it had thus not doing enough justice to a wonderful love story. All of them got good moments and watchable stuff, but not that much as Rani Padmini has.

The fans have already dealt with Life of Josutty and Kohinoor by degrading them with negative opinions asking people to watch their favourite movies only, and the variety which Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi brought also struggled. Well, they team up and try to negate each and every different opinions, doing what the fans have been doing to hurt the good movies. It is them that Rani Padmini needs to fear more than any other, because we see the fans of those movie everywhere degrading this one! But Rani Padmini should survive because it is a movie with its heart and soul at the right place.

Read the full review of Rani Padmini here

***The images used on this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Rani Padmini.

TeNy