The Flowers Supremacy

People might think that this post is about The War of the Roses, but the story about that Civil War is not the Flowers that we have here, for this one is a television channel, which Keralites have loved to watch since its inception. While learning about The War of the Roses was more or less part of the academics if not a requirement for raising the level of knowledge, Flowers channel has been all about entertainment. It was initially known for one particular programme, Uppum Mulakum, a series which competed with Mazhavil Manorama’s Thatteem Mutteem, and has not lost its charm due to repetitions and being outdated as a number of years have passed now, and Flowers itself has other shows which gained supremacy.

Among the shows of Flowers, the one programme which stands apart is Star Magic, an event which includes a number of performers who are skilled in more than one field, and it is like a celebration, which has been going on in Flowers channel for a long time, but doesn’t have a feeling of repetition at all. It has a limited number of participants, and they keep changing every day, even though more than half of them remain the same every day. There are talks, games and performances, and everything has a fine touch of humour to go with it. The programme is the kind of thing that we need to watch at night after a bust schedule or during a depressing Corona season to be happy.

A random screenshot from Star Magic (for blogging purpose only)

Some of the commonly repeated names in Star Magic other than the anchor Lakshmi Nakshathra are Binu Adimaly, Nelson Shooranadu, Kollam Sudhi, Sreevidya Mullassery, Jaseela Parveen, Anna Chacko, Dayyana Hameed, Anumol RS, Thankachan Vithura, Azeez Nedumangad, Shashankan Mayyanad, Shiyas Kareem, Bineesh Bastian, Kollam Shafi, Aiswarya Rajeev etc among others. Along with the same, there have been other names which made regular presence in the programme including Noby Marcose, Anu Joseph, Anna Prasad, Abhirami Murali, Mridula Vijay, Yuva Krishna, Naveen Arakkal, Stephy Leon, Saadhika Venugopal, Rini Raj, Krittika Pradeep, Manvi Surendran, Reneesha Rehman, Tanvi S Ravindran, Lakshmi Priya, Chilanka S Deedu etc and also a number of guests from films and other fields. The programme manages to be more or less like a festival, and has a wonderful spirit associated with it.

Along with Star Magic, another programme has risen to fame in the last few months, and it is a show on the lines of Ningalkkum Aakaam Kodeeshwaran, originally known as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and best known in India as Kaun Banega Crorepati with Amitabh Bachchan’s early addition. This programme known as Flowers Oru Kodi is special because of having Sreekandan Nair as the host, and there is a certain amount of variety being added to it, with the help of its robotic sponsors, Lana Technologies, as it has two robots providing aid when required. It also has more or less a fun feeling rather than the emotional setting which was maintained by other programmes which provided cash to the contestants in exchange for answering questions – a case of positive energy here.

We have watched News 24 a lot, and basically it is the channel which provided a neutral viewpoint in almost every case, while all other channels were mostly having their anchors prejudiced towards one side. As both comes from the same source, we know that Flowers and News 24 are not to be separated when watching television. The use of technology and augmented reality has set the channels ahead of others, and the floor used for each programme is indeed splendid. This is the same reason why almost all the time, we are looking forward to watch News 24, despite having so many channels around. Flowers and News 24 are channels which know what to do when they have to do it, correctly, and without pretensions or prejudices.

Flowers also has Chakkappazham, a series about which I had already written earlier. Even though it had started become a little bit repetitive, it still remains fun, and you know how well a series with simple things of home depicted on the screen can work for the family audience. Thatteem Mutteem, the only programme which was giving competition to Uppum Mulakum has also paled in front of this one, as Mazhavil Manorama has once again lost the advantage here despite having Marimaayam much earlier, except for getting those new movies to have their television premiere in there, like Zee Keralam has been doing for some time – Asianet which earlier had Vellanakalude Naadu also has managed some similar television premieres rather than getting some quality shows in there. The competition is there, and it is good.

A random screenshot from Chakkappazham (for blogging purpose only)

Yet, in between all the competition, both Flowers and News 24 has brought an identity of their own, and it is the style which other channels have been trying to copy, but not with that much of an effect. After all, imitations can only be imitations, and won’t have that quality which is displayed by the original. We know about the same here too. During the time of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Flowers has been the one channel which we watched regularly, and News 24, the one news channel which we watched the most, and that is something which might not change for a long time, as other television channels surely seem to lack in that diversity as well as innovation.

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TeNy

Waiting for Godot is Real

***A list of Malayalam films we are waiting for, like Vladimir and Estragon waited for Godot!

Thuramukham: Following the much appreciated performance in Moothon, this is another film which has something big to do for Nivin Pauly, as he has moved away from the predictable on only a few occasions. It does remind one of the grandeur that Malik had displayed, and with some of the cast members from that film being present here too, we can surely have a similar experience here. Seemingly a very long movie in comparison to others, and after having its first show at the 2021 International Film Festival Rotterdam, this one will have to wait to have its first show in the theatre, but this is that kind of a movie which should be available for non-Malayalis, and an Amazon Prime release would be the best choice for this one.

Kurup: Based on the life of the most wanted criminal of Kerala in the 1980s, Sukumara Kurup, this one should have something different in store. We do remember the incident, which continued to be popular talk even in the 1990s, and we as children were very much aware of such an incident. As one of the longest standing cases in Kerala history, this one is of significance to many. With Dulquer Salmaan in the leading role, let us hope that there is no glorification of criminal activities, as having a superstar in the lead has that kind of a tendency. Still, if taken well, this has a lot of scope, but it remains to be seen on what element does this particular movie focus on. This is not the first film based on the same though, and I would guess that this is not cent percent connected to it.

Marakkar: Subtitled as Arabikadalinte Simham in Malayalam and as Lion of the Arabian Sea in English, this movie has waited for its release for an eternity, and is still continuing to go through the same trouble in getting the release due to COVID-19 pandemic. It was going to have its grand release in March last year, and had declared the release on August 12th this year, but they seem to have completely avoided the possibility of another wave of the pandemic. They completely neglected the possibility of releasing the same on any OTT platform, maybe because of the high budget and the use of special effects. So, it seems that they are not taking the Drishyam 2 path, and we will have to wait for this one for so long that its graphics might get outdated. Do you think that COVID-19 will end this year? I don’t think so.

Minnal Murali: Tovino Thomas’ superhero film comes as an answer to our requirement to have a superhero film in Malayalam, and even though many other movies seemed to become close to the same, that was never really achieved. Basil Joseph who is best known for two light-hearted entertainers, Godha and Kunjiramayanam has this movie seemingly maintaining the same feeling. Well, we all need our superheroes, and this one should serve really well. We know that Indonesia had a superhero universe with films like Gundala, and I would say that we could have something like this soon enough. After all, we have grown up watching the smart heroes like Shaktimaan, Betaal Pachisi and Captain Vyom, and had the mystery of watching miserable nonsense like Krrish later to move us to disappointment.

Kaaval: This should be the first one among Suresh Gopi’s grand list of films which are to be released soon. It marks the return of the character plays by him in the film, as much as it marks Suresh Gopi’s own return to Malayalam cinema in an action thriller role, the category which suited him the best many years ago. From the trailer, it seems that this could be the one role in which we would love to see him again, even though some people might be doubtful due to the long gap in between. But it is to be noted that we found no such problem when he was there in Varane Aavasyamundu, a family drama film which released just before COVID-19 made its terrifying presence felt. Well, we do know what he is capable of, and I would let him save the day once again in style.

Jana Gana Mana: Prithviraj Sukumaran has already has his time with Kuruthi and Cold Case, two movies I have enjoyed watching on Amazon Prime Video – both of these are also thrillers, and this one also promises to be something similar. The trailer had promised the same earlier and seems to provide a police officer and criminal reasons to go against each other, with Suraj Venjaramoodu seemingly coming up with a role similar to what he did in Driving Licence with the same actor on the other side. I hope that this one would also release on an OTT platform, most probably Amazon Prime Video, like Prithviraj’s earlier movies. Thrillers these days have been best suited for online release, with more audience from outside Kerala giving it a try too. Well, you can’t wait for theatres now, considering the present situation.

Paappan and Ottakkomban: Along with Kaaval which was mentioned earlier, Suresh Gopi has two more movies to bring him to the genre which had suited him very well earlier. In one movie, he plays Mathan a.k.a. Pappan who is a retired police officer trying to solve a case, while the latter film has him as Kuruvachan a.k.a. Ottakkomban, an aging plantation owner trying to fight against influential men trying to destroy his family’s reputation. In both cases, he seems to be playing the roles which suit him very well even at this age. The former also has his son Gokul Suresh, as they will be seen together in a movie for the first time. I would personally love to watch Pappan before the others, but with the theatres to remain closed for long, we cannot be sure which one would be coming to us first on which platform.

***The images used in this blog post were taken from the pages related to these movies and the people associated with them.

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TeNy

Just a Little Away from Munnar

Mankulam which is located at about twenty seven kilometres and an hour and a quarter from Munnar was our location of choice when a few months had passed after the end of COVID-19 lock-down last year. We had chosen this place over Munnar because is it is located ten kilometres closer to the midlands than Munnar, even though it will still take the exact same amount of time to reach there due to the bad condition of the roads – but the road is being repaired, and so that can change. We had chosen this area because it was peaceful there in comparison with Munnar, even though the temperature there was lower by three or four degree Celsius. But it was December, and so that ended up okay. It is to be noted that the other hill stations like Thekkady, Vagamon and Nelliyampathy also have lower temperature than Munnar, and so this is not that much of negative at that particular moment.

We really wanted a break at that time because we hadn’t gone for a trip in such a long time, and we were staying at home whenever possible. At Mankulam, we stayed at Treebo Trend Misty Garden Resorts and Spa, a fine place to stay with a swimming pool, and a good variety of food options available if ordered early. There is also some nice areas to visit nearby, even though they are not big tourist destinations. An evening walk in the area was refreshing. The roads which were being repaired at that time, if finished, can make this journey a quick and easy one. If Munnar seems to crowded, or if you don’t want to go that far, you can choose Mankulam, and I have shared ten pictures below for you to remember this particular area. After all, a stay away from the crowd and within nature with hill view can always be refreshing enough.

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***The images used in blog post were taken by me on my Samsung Galaxy A20S.

TeNy

Kumbalangi Nights and Days

There might be many islands which you know for the scenic beauty, but Kumbalangi is different. You will know the same, as I have known it from my childhood itself. It might be the same reason why it was chosen as the perfect setting for Kumbalangi Nights, one of the greatest films of the century, a flick which should have been nominated for multiple awards including international ones. With some fantastic performances to go with that background of Kumbalangi, the movie became the best of India, a thing worthy of sending for Oscars, even though they don’t seem to have considered the same in favour of some lower class films. I guess it was Gully Boy which was nominated during that time, much to the surprise of sensible people.

There, we stayed at the Kallenchery Resort, a place which we have preferred for some peaceful times for some years now. We celebrated my birthday there, and that proved to be the perfect one, with all settings being done there, and we had also ordered customized food – even though the place is known for its great seafood, the Paneer which we ordered was superb too. Kallenchery itself is an island which is connected by a small road to the island of Kumbalangi, thus making it a remote area – – it is the inner area of the village which provides a lot of view. This resort itself is getting more developed during these days, and during the next visit, I would expect things to be even bigger, as hope for a new dawn past COVID-19 is certainly there.

You have to be there for the sunset, every time.

You watch the sun setting in peace, and so do you have serenity.

Ford Aspire had a journey to remember past the city.

They brought one of the best cakes we ever had.

You sit and watch this throughout the dark night.

Always spend some time to happily work from Kumbalangi.

The Chinese Fishing Nets make your perfect reflection of the world.

There is always a lot of space to walk around this resort.

You move around & find that the money spent here is worth it.

Just the random nice shot which you get by looking above.

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TeNy

The Bollywood of Childhood

You can never forget Bollywood of 1990s. There were some of your childhood movies right there. Those films became your favourites quick enough, and after watching them on a VCP or VCR, you felt so good. To get those video cassettes, you had to wait for such a long time, and once you get the film you have been looking for, it was the best feeling. Finding Hindi movies was a process which was achieved by watching Chitrahaar, just like the Malayalam movies came in Chitrageetham. Those movies with good songs always had an advantage, just like the favourite actors and actresses attract us to the cinema. The following were my favourites of the time.

1. Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995): I had to start with Sabse Bada Khiladi, one of those movies which I watched at the ancestral home. It is to be noted that I never liked those over hyped romantic movies of Bollywood. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was never my kind of movie, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai never came close to being an interesting flick. Akshay Kumar movies were my type then, and this one in particular was always in my mind. It proved to be one effective thriller then, and I wouldn’t think otherwise even now. “Bholi Bhaali Ladki” is a favourite even now, and the action hero whom we knew the best was Akshay Kumar, and this one was a perfect khiladi.

2. Gupt (1997): It took me about two years to watch Gupt, because from the songs, it feels that the movie is a love triangle – one of the best suspense thrillers of all-time was thus misunderstood with its songs. But this turned out to be an all-round film at that time. It was a romantic suspense thriller with comedy also present there. The stylish movie has so many songs which we still listen to, and none of the new Bollywood songs could match this one with music. Bobby Deol was one stylish action star at that time, as we can see from this movie, even though Soldier might be the movie which gave him that title with clarity – that one was also the first movie I watched with him in the lead.

3. Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996): I was a big WWF fan at that time, and when the Undertaker was coming to Bollywood, even though it was the imposter version and nor Mark William Calaway who performed in wrestling as the “dead man walking”, one could only get more interested than ever. Another wrestler, Crush was also features in this movie which had a lot of action going on at all times. Even though it was quite a long movie, it was never boring, and you are always waiting for the Undertaker to come to fight. It was one of those movies which decided to think beyond the usual limitations, and among the Khiladi movies of Akshay Kumar, it does have a special place.

4. Soldier (1998): Preity Zinta had already made her film debut in a supporting role in Dil Se, and “Jiya Jale Jaan Jale” was one of the most popular songs with its Malayalam words. But Soldier was her debut as the leading actress, and this heroine was one which everybody loved from this action thriller. Bobby Deol further established him as the action hero, and the film had so many lovely songs. There was no part of this music which we didn’t love. This movie was also remade into different languages, and a Tamil version actually released more than ten years later, asserting the film’s worthiness. The song “Soldier soldier” still remains in the USB in my car.

5. Khiladi (1992): From this movie onwards, we have known Akshay Kumar with the film’s title, and so many movies with the name “khiladi” in the title have followed, but nothing after Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi maintained that quality and essence. Still, Khiladi was one of the real thrillers of the time. There were some good songs, and even though a thriller, there was a funny side, with Johny Lever coming out of nowhere to deliver the best of them. There is also a fine twist coming in the end, and you need to be ready for the same. Even if you watch this movie now, it can still make that fine impact. If a good movie can be made with the name “khiladi” in the title, it would be an interesting watch.

6. Baazi (1995), Damini (1993) and Angrakshak (1995): Aamir Khan takes us into the action thriller genre nicely with Baazi, and Mamta Kulkarni is once again in one, like in Sabse Bada Khiladi which released in the same year. It does have elements from Die Hard, but it was indeed working very well. At the same time, Damini is one of the best movies with the leading actress having the much needed significance. Meenakshi Seshadri does a perfect job there, and the dialogues of Sunny Deol in the courtroom are to be remembered. Angrakshak is another movie that comes to the mind, and the political side of this particular film with Sunny Deol in the lead, is relevant even today.

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***The images used in the blog post are from the respective films on bookmyshow and youtube used for supporting this particular post on the blog only.

***These are taken from childhood memory, and therefore, none of these films might feel the same if I watch them again now.

TeNy

Seven Nations of My Travel

1. United Kingdom: As I place a quick writing on the seven countries which I have visited in my life, this one basically counts as two nations, as we did visit both England and Scotland. We remember the same from those cricket matches itself. It was also the biggest journey we had, not just with the amount spent for flight as well as the time spent on transit, but also with the world which we had there to witness. From the monuments to writers to those huge church buildings, there were a lot to be witnessed, and the traces of history out there was indeed splendid. You know that there is Canterbury Cathedral, Lake District, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and more, being part of a very long list.

This is one massive structure at Liverpool that reminds us of our minuteness.

2. Sri Lanka: The Sri Lankan trip happened in the same year as the journey to UK. Both of these trips were actually the result of the inability to go for that Israel-Palestine-Jordan-Egypt trip which was supposed to be the official Holy Land trip. So, we ended up in Ceylon, the world of serenity with tea and Buddhism, even though we were there more for a Ramayana tour rather than anything else. The most beautiful place out there was Nuwara Eliya, a hill station which was indeed the Little England. It was a world which felt closer to Kerala in many ways, especially the nature and the climate prevailing out there. We were very close to going back there again.

Nuwara Eliya, my favourite hill station with awesome tea and natural beauty.

3. Thailand: Well, we all know that everyone wishes to go to Pattaya. The Malayalam movie, Amar Akbar Anthony had made it clear already, and there were indeed more Keralites around than people from anywhere else outside that nation. Pattaya is indeed a charming place, a perfect beach-based destination, while Bangkok is the city with the charm. Bangkok Metro also became the third metro I had traveled outside India after London, Singapore and Malaysia, a metro which I traveled in, even before traveling in the Kochi Metro which was already running. The Buddhist temples of the place has the charm too, even though we got to visit only two of them.

The beach at Pattaya about which you know very well from movies!

4. Indonesia: The trip which followed exactly one year after the journey to Thailand was to Indonesia, or the beautiful island of Bali, to be exact. Visiting the one place in Indonesia which was so popular with its natural beauty, beaches and Hindu temples became the next on the list. It is also that nation where you become a millionaire due to the exchange rate even though the cost doesn’t go down in comparison to India. You have those differently designed temples, the rice terraces, volcanoes and a divergent culture out there. There are places for some nice shopping too, even though we do need a direct flight to Bali rather than being forced to travel through Kuala Lumpur.

Everybody loves Bali, and you will love the place too, once you are there!

5. Singapore: This is a journey which happened much earlier in comparison to those other foreign trips. The trip to Singapore was also our first journey outside India, and it is also the result of a failed plan to travel to the United States which had become very strict with its visa policies after the World Trade Centre attacks. Well, you have Singapore, which has been the cleanest place you could be, as far as Asia is concerned. Being in a place outside the nation, it was a rewarding experience, and it would take another five years to go on a journey like this one, and another eight years for another foreign journey. Well, some years are indeed special in more than one way.

6. Malaysia: While Singapore had its Sentosa Island, Genting Highland make the highlight for Malaysia which was known for its Petronas Towers. We could go to the top of the tower though, as we were restricted to a few levels then. One has to say that Genting is a place of beauty like no other, not just related to nature, but also associated with the attractions which were provided in that particular theme park. We do have the journey on the ropeway, and Kuala Lumpur is a nice city to roam around too. It is to be noted that my first visit to a shopping mall was not in India, but at Singapore and then in Malaysia. We visited Kuala Lumpur airport again during our journey to Indonesia and back.

7. UAE: Almost everyone from Kerala has been to UAE, or rather Dubai in particular. Our visit to Dubai was rather a short stay during the journey to the United Kingdom. Emirates flight made a happy journey, and Dubai indeed has one of the best airports around, even though my personal preference is still the Cochin International Airport. We had to spend a lot of time at the airport, and therefore I could explore the place very well. I can go to Dubai at any moment as there are so many people I know right there, but even so, we are indeed getting delayed. Easiest places to visit are often the most difficult places to reach, just like it has been a while since we wanted to visit our relatives in Bangalore. A detailed note on the place will come soon enough.

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***The images used in blog post were taken by me during these trips between 2005 and 2019.

TeNy

Timeline of My Mobile Phones

Nokia 1100 (2004): I remember my first mobile phone being this basic model, and during those days, were really happy even with models like this one. I have heard about people beginning their journey with mobile phones through Nokia 3310, but I never really came across that particular mobile during my 1100 days. My first mobile network connection was that of BPL Mobile Network, which had some nice offers for that time, and I had spent my time sending those forwarded SMS and usual simple games like Snake. Well, that felt like the luxury which I had never before, and that did take some effort to get this phone.

Nokia 3220 (2005): Well, Nokia 1100 was the basic mobile phone, and time was coming for the need for a certain replacement. After one year of usage, the phone was replaced by a mobile which looked stranger than most of the other phones which were popular during the time. When I bought this phone, nobody really had something like this – a weird mobile phone with lights on both sides, and these lights were blinking whenever a call came. Well, you won’t spend even a little bit of time trying to find this phone during a power cut, as it could be seen from anywhere at home. It was also my first camera phone.

Nokia 6600 (2006): The lightweight phone with LED lights lasted only an year for me, as it had its own limitations, and a phone with full multimedia facility was required. It was the phone which defeated all Sony Ericsson mobile phones which were in competition with Nokia during the time when Samsung was never really there. It was heavy and highly durable, and dropped on the ground never really hurt it in any way. With the Symbian Operating System, and so many options being possible, it had given me an advantage over almost every other phone out there in the hands of the other students.

Nokia N95 (2007): I never really had any problems with Nokia 6600 which was considered to mobile phone at a high level, but my cousin from United Kingdom gifted me a Nokia N95, and Nokia 6600 had to step away. This phone was a legend during the time, and with an amazing camera for the time, and with so many options, I was an immediate fan of the phone, which could match the digital cameras of the time. I would also consider it to be the best mobile phone I ever used in comparison to the contemporaries, and even though it stopped working a long time later, I have kept it with me as a memory.

Samsung Galaxy Star Duos and Samsung Galaxy S Duos (2011/12): These two phones came one after the other, and the second one came to me after my father bought a mobile phone, and he didn’t want to use it as it was too complicated with the Android system. Even though N95 was the phone which I used during my journeys to England, Scotland and Sri Lanka, these Samsung phones were part of my life in UC College, Aluva. They brought some fine pictures of the campus as I spent my time wandering through the green campus, especially the side of canteen and library, during the time of post graduation in English.

Asus Zenfone 5 and Asus Zenfone Max (2015/2017): The former became my first experience of buying a mobile phone online, and latter became my second phone to be bought online, the first one from Flipkart and the second one from Amazon. I loved both phones, as I have always been a fan of Asus. I also have an Asus laptop at home which has been working well for many years now, and another laptop from the same company which has served me for more than two years . If it was available in the local stores, I would have bought Asus again. It during the same time period that I bought a Swipe 3D tablet which is still working.

Samsung Galaxy J4+ and Samsung Galaxy A20S (2019/2020): I decided to shift to the local stores with my mobile buying procedure, as some extra service could be attained in that way. The former was bought because the Asus phone required more space, and it was also becoming slow, despite the huge battery giving the advantage. But with the COVID-19 crisis, online classes and webinars required better phone, bringing A20S to the picture. J4+ was becoming slow with bigger meetings, and thus, A20S, my current phone was bought during the COVID-19 lock-down, when mobile phone shops were allowed to open once in a week by the government.

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***The images used in this blog post are from mobile sites use for blogging purpose only.

TeNy

Kerala Drive: 14-1 Districts

In the last few years, I have driven through thirteen out of fourteen districts of Kerala, along with three districts of Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore, Theni and Dindigul. The only district in Kerala in which I haven’t driven by myself is Kasargod, where I haven’t tried to travel, and when I had finally had my plan, COVID-19 pandemic came upon us. As the district where I have been living, and where my ancestral home is situated, journeys through Ernakulam have been many. Ernakulam itself is a place with all kinds of tourist destinations, which can be visited again and again. Then, the other districts also follow, and among them, Kottayam and Thrissur have the lead with such drives.

Kottayam: Vagamon’s location in Kottayam itself makes the district a favourite travel destination. Along with the same, I have driven to Ilaveezhapoonchira multiple times, and Illikkal Kallu was also added to the list later. Along with the same, visiting St. Alphonsa Pilgrime Centre and shrine at Bharananganam came naturally to us. Other pilgrim centres like the Kuravilangad Church also comes into the picture, and these have made the district regular driving destinations. Along with the same, there are some relatives’ places out there which made me go through the district early itself. Kottayam should be the most driven through district outside Ernakulam.

Thrissur: It is to be noted that Thrissur is so close to Angamaly that we keep visiting the district’s border areas on regular intervals. There are also some relatives’ places to add to it, and pilgrim centres also exist there, starting from the Koratty Church. Some of the best known tourist destinations, Athirappilly and Vazhachal Waterfalls are there, and it is the district which serves as a border to Tamil Nadu through the Sholayar side, and towards Valparai on the other side. We have also loved traveling to the Shobha City Mall in Thrissur City itself, a mall which is one of the best in Kerala, and having a fine multiplex to go with it. There are some very nice resturants on the way.

Idukki: Having some of the best places of natural beauty, Idukki is a district which provides all the beautiful scenery to the eyes. There is always Munnar and we always have Thekkady out there. Along with the same, when we are crossing the borders, Kumily is always there to have a charming journey through the area. The best of tea is also available there, and just crossing the borders, takes us to those grapes in the vineyards of Cumbum. There are so many places which we have visited in Idukki, and you know Munnar very well in advance. Parunthumpara, Panchalimedu, Kuttikkanam and all have you there, and in the lowlands, there is the town of Thodupuzha which I always come across.

Alappuzha and Kollam: There have been many journeys witnessing the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala, and Alappuzha is indeed close enough – we also have some nice beaches to go with the same. Kollam might not be that close, but it also has the beauty of backwaters and those fine beaches. We remember having visiting a good number of them, and going through some interesting journeys on this path. Both the district capitals got their own fine beaches too. Yet, it has been some time since we went through this path, and there is the feeling of such a requirement.

Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram: The former is known for its beauty of nature, which we have quickly gone through, and the latter, is the charming capital of Kerala. The most recent visit to Thiruvananthapuram was for Varkala Beach, but there have been other journeys to that direction earlier. The capital city does have many interesting places to visit, and we have covered most of the beaches. Yet, Pathanamthitta is a district which we require to explore more. With some presence of the relatives, maybe that could happen later at some point of time.

Malabar (Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Malappuram): We keep on traveling through Palakkad whenever there is the need to cross over the border to Coimbatore, and Palakkad Fort is always a charm. The Kozhikode trip was a nice one with Thusharagiri Waterfalls, multiples beaches and others. We had visited Thunchan Parambu and other beaches in Malappuram, and more beaches like Muzhappilangad, as well as multiple forts in Kannur with a fine dose of history. We also had a taste of the natural beauty of Wayanad even though a more detailed trip is needed there, as well as in most of Malabar.

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***The images used in blog post were taken by me during these trips between 2005 and 2019.

TeNy

When RTS Gaming Returned

During the Corona lock-down times, it was only necessary to return to the Real Time Strategy games which I had played a long time ago. There was the need for the games which could be played nicely through Local Area Network, as Wireless LAN would let us play the games online for a change. The Turn Based Strategy games were also interesting choices, but those would be slower, and can also take a lot of time. Real Time Strategy was to be faster, and so I went back to my past to get two of the favourites with their expansion packs, Age of Empires 2: Conquerors and Warcraft: The Frozen Throne. Age of Empires III was out of the equation due to the lack of save option in multiplayer mode, and even Warcraft had the saves limited.

This is why Age of Empires 2 is the perfect choice for online gaming as far as strategy games are concerned. It has had the same status for a long time, and even after so many years, there is grandeur in comparison to those fake Android strategy games which show something in advertisements and come up with something else. One has to remember that the advertisements seen in Facebook and Instagram were of Age of Empires, and not really of those games they were promoting. It is the quality of Age of Empires, as we play as different civilizations, through different ages, and the campaigns are just too good. Warcraft brings fantasy in the place of history, and has a similar gameplay, even though in that case, there are less races in comparison to civilization, but each one is unique. For Age of Empires, Huns, Mongols and Byzantines are my favourites, while for Warcraft, I always go for the Undead.

Some free time after all the destruction being done.

That moment after you finish the enemies and resources too.

You play as the Mongols, and you go another path.

The Byzantine Empire is indeed one of interest.

Gathering all forces, and then attacking – the right way.

You land your forces on the tip of the enemy’s island.

With the island map, a good navy is a necessity.

Nobody messes up with the war elephants unless you are so quick.

Your enemies are almost at their end in this game of Warcraft.

Humans allying with the undead against elves might feel strange, but not in Warcraft.

***All images are from my game-play with the two games mentioned above

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TeNy

From Oblivion to Blades

I remember The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to be a game which had no match during its time, and being a rather unknown computer game in comparison to the others, it was a case of luck that I came across it. Bethesda Game Studios came up with this open world RPG in 2006, and it was bigger than any other game at that time. There was so much to be done in this game, and I had finished the game quickly enough. There was so much of freedom in that game that we never really stopped playing it. One year later, there was Mass Effect which did almost the same thing, only in space instead of a medieval world of swords and magic. It is to this memory that The Elder Scrolls: Blades came up for Android, and my Samsung Galaxy A20S had the perfect game for these times, a game which can be played in both landscape and portrait modes.

We don’t usually see the advertisements for this game on social media, and that is because it is something which doesn’t require such cheap and fake show. We can see that established games like The Sims and The Elder Scrolls series are perfect in their own way, and fans will come after them. One should find these games instead of falling for those fake games with advertisements on social media, which have the real gameplay entirely different from what is shown on those ads. The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a perfect game in that case, and we have a hero who comes as a saviour to a town which is threatened by multiple enemies including, bandits, sorcerers, goblins, trolls and more. We will find or create and reinforce weapons and armour, along with create magic potions, while taking on some quests during our journey to save our people.

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***The images used in this blog post are from my gameplay in The Elder Scrolls: Blades (Android).

TeNy

Living the Sims Family Life

I had earlier written about the game, Sims Mobile, and it has been going on very well, much better than any other games I had played on Android mobile. Well, Android has not been the favourite platform of the PC gamer in me, but nowadays, I use the laptop only for education purposes, and therefore, the platform had to change. I was also playing Empire City on Android, but I have finished building in all the available space, and there is nothing more to be done with it, but the same is not with the case of Sims Mobile, which always provides us with something to do. It can be played slowly, and according to the time we have to spare. There is no need to think too much about it, as the whole thing is just like we are living a family life, with the needs and objectives being the commonly known ones.

So, now I have bought a second home in the game, and with a total of twenty sims in two houses combined, and with four playable sims, it continues to be fun, even though I have finished all the available career options and hobbies in the game, undergoing a long wait for an update. There are also those interesting missions which come in between, which we can accomplish we have time. Otherwise, we can just go on playing freely. It is not mandatory to do anything in this game, even though the initial missions will help you to advance better. Below are some moments which which felt lovely, and those which could be shared. The screenshot option nicely did the job, and I have cropped these images to keep the focus at the right place.


This is an image of the new house which I built in the game after buying a new plot. I brought some of the furniture in the other house to this new one, and also brought some new ones. I created an open space in the middle because I wanted it to be different. This is a home close to nature, with a certain amount of divergence.


When there is a teddy bear in the house, you know where the toddlers would be focusing all the time. The areas is quite crowded, and there seems to be a plan to get closer to the teddy too. But the game doesn’t have the option for the toddlers to interact directly with this toy, and it is really a shame.


Now, this one comes as a Corona special moment, as this sim keeps washing her hands. At least there is one person in the house who is rather too careful. Well, with COVID-19 around the corner, you can never be careless. The game has its moments of care for its sims, as we are still going through the same pandemic in real life.


The happiest toddler in sims is the one that is fed. You can find the same here, and even though there is no particular time for the child to be fed or put to sleep, these can be done at regular intervals to build a happy relationship with the kid which will be useful when he or she grows up. Option for toddlers to ask for food needs to be added.


There is always time for some cooking. It is actually a hobby which one can keep up, and it is also one of the first ones which you are introduced to. The other options like writing and music will quickly follow, but this one can come up with the necessary equipment quite early. Sometimes, we can also find some cooking mess up too.


The duck toy is a favourite, and the toddlers in Sims Mobile love the same, and it is cute to see them play with this particular toy. Almost every toddler seems to have one of such toys with them, and this image makes one feel that one toddler is going to snatch the toy from another, but that doesn’t happen in the game at all.


The yoga hobby is a very effective one, because you can get most of the equipment for it at a low cost, and these mats looks nice on the floor. There are some nice movements in yoga which are being practiced here, and it is surely not like any other hobby in the game. I always prefer hobbies over career – after all, it is Corona time.


If the biological mother of the babies is spending her time working on the mobile, someone else has to do the job, and this time, two people have come ready for taking care of the little ones. The babies will surely have their revenge when they grow up. These two became toddlers quicker than anticipated, and never stops moving around.


No matter how old you are, you just can’t avoid a unicorn toy. It attracts the toddlers as well as the elder children, and one might even want to say a hi and talk to the toy. Well, direct interaction is needed in this case too, and Sims Mobile should add that and more options for toddlers and children. It can take something from Sims Freeplay.


Everything needs to be planned, and here, the sim is taking a perfect measurement of the shelf. Sims Mobile has got some nice things to buy for home, and if you keep playing the game like two times a day, you will earn enough to keep you going, buying new clothing and household items. You can take it slow, or you can pay for items.


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***The images used in this blog post are from my gameplay in Sims Mobile (Android Version).

TeNy

Marvel’s Marvel and DC

***Following is the list of Marvel and DC movies I wouldn’t miss after COVID-19 is over.

Suicide Squad 2: Suicide Squad is one of the most underrated superhero or rather the supervillain movies of all-time, and it has always deserved to be considered a classic. It was strange that it wasn’t that big a hit, and people were not intelligent or creative enough to immerse themselves in the beauty of that flick. Now, with the second part of this movie coming up for release, one can be sure that the aesthetic beauty on the screen can only get better, and there is the certainty of those anti-heroes whom we are going to love more than anything else. There is nothing better to watch than Margot Robbie as the psychotic Harley Quinn. Then we have John Cena here too, and we know that this is going to be big. We will still miss Cara Delevingne as the Enchantress.

Morbius: Jared Leto who was the Joker in Suicide Squad is now Morbius, the man who gains the superhuman abilities with a thirst of blood to go with it, making him a vampire hero with a dark side. This one can make one fine anti-hero movie which can go through the same seriously, without having the dumb side like Deadpool did. These are the times when vampires have the advantage over others, and with the releasing date shifting to 2021 from 2020, this one can be the lesser known superhero making it big after COVID-19. Yet, the thing about vampires is that you have to make it good, and there is the change that some unnecessary elements can come in, like we had seen in Twilight and its sequels. If done well, this one from Marvel can be one fantastic work with this man in the lead.

Black Widow and Doctor Strange 2: Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff is one of the best female superheroes, and is clearly a step ahead of the overpowered superheroes like Captain Marvel. The same more or less reminds us of Batman who also thrives so well without the superpowers. A movie focusing completely on Black Widow was something much needed. At the same time, Doctor Strange is one character that goes beyond all superheroes, having a special place among the Avengers. He has also required a sequel, and with the sequel to Black Panther not really seeming to be a reality during these days, it is the sorcerer who can keep this franchise more interesting – no more Captain America and Iron Man demands that for most of the fans.

Eternals and The New Mutants: The tale of these creatures from outer space living on Earth and trying to defend them makes us interested in Eternals. To add to the same, most of us don’t have any idea about what the film is about, as they are not the usual superheroes whom we know about. The New Mutants is supposed to have released already, but the movie didn’t reach here as our theatres are still closed – it is a really a disappointing thing because a lot of people would have wanted to watch it on the big screen when COVID-19 was over. All those powers coming together would have been a treat on the big screen in 3D, but we will miss that. Even though the rating are not that great, we know that our audience have appreciated certain movies better than the North American movies.

Thor 4: Among the Avengers, there is no superhero who can have so many tales like Thor, as Asgard and the other worlds have so many things in store for sure. Thor: Ragnarok might have been the best the superhero movie featuring one hero from Marvel, just like Aquaman can boast of having a similar status from DC, as far as the last few years are concerned. With the turn of events happening related to these superheroes, there can be some interesting events related to this particular immortal. We can also be certain about the fact that we will have more visual splendour in store here. After all, the world is not the same after what Thanos did, and Asgard has also changed its place. Even the hammer has made way for the axe, and you know that innovation is to come up here.

Venom 2: The present version of Venom is actually better than Spider-Man, when we have a closer look at the characters, their quality and maturity. As the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the date of this one’s release to 2021 too, we can’t wait to see the next symbiotic human, Carnage, unleashing himself against Venom. It is always good to have an anti-hero who is not foolish and ridiculous as Deadpool. And in working with that role, Venom is a successful work. Unless we have more mutants from X-Men becoming anti-heroes in their own style, Venom will remain Marvel’s classic anti-hero, with further additions in this version which could connect nicely to other superhero tales from Marvel.

The Flash and Wonder Woman 84: The two movies from DC are of much interest, as the latter has us waiting for Cheetah, a lady villain suitable for Wonder Woman. We can only hope that the character as well as the costume provides what we need to see on the screen. Meanwhile, The Flash has always required a movie, and with that speed, one needs to see what all can be done, different from the limited idea which we had in the television series. As one feels that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have been stealing the show a little too much, and only Aquaman has stood in the way against the same, we need the fastest human on Earth to make an impact.

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***The images used in this blog post are from the Facebook Pages of these movies.

TeNy

The Great Jackfruit Family

As most of you might already know, I am not a fan of the television series in Malayalam which have been part of different channels. But there was Thatteem Mutteem which became a show which I regularly watched, and that had changed. With the children in the series growing up to have children, things were never going to be the same again. Then, with the beginning of COVID-19, the episodes stopped, and we were no longer interested in this particular programme. I was never a fan of the much hyped Uppum Mulakum, even though in the beginning, I had found the same to be okay. As of now, one can be pretty sure that it can only live on its past hype and can come up with nothing new.

Then in August, we had another television show focusing on a family and its members at home, and that changed the situation by a long way. After watching television continuously for a long time during the pandemic, we had lost interest in watching anything anymore, and that was evident in the time spent in front of the television in the later stages. Chakkapazham which started its journey on August 10 was quick to catch our attention, and we have been watching the show without fail, every day from Monday to Friday. Even the presence of the WWE-like entertainment like IPL didn’t change that as we were stuck to this show like never before. It is after a long time that a programme has created such an effect.

This show feels that good because of its funny side which works so well, without adding any emotional side in between. Uppum Mulakum and Thatteem Mutteem have the tendency to turn emotional at times, but Chakkapazham manages to be a complete comedy with feel-good elements. The funny moments are all effective, thanks to a group of talented actors and actresses doing a great job. Lead by SP Sreekumar who plays Uthaman, a veterinary compounder who take care of the house which has more members than one would expect. The members of the family include Uthaman, his wife Asha, their three children, his jobless young brother Sumesh, his sister Painkili and her son, his brother-in-law who visits at times, his parents and also his grandmother.

SP Sreekumar is no stranger to us, as we have known him from Marimaayam, and as that villain in Memories. He does a natural job in the series as he has been doing for a long time. Aswathy Sreekanth who plays his wife makes the entry into acting from anchoring here with a touch of comedy, really well. Shruthi Rajnikanth who plays the sister Painkili is a joy to watch, and it is her along with Mohammed Raffi who plays the brother Sumesh that elevates the comedy to the highest level. Both are united by the interest in doing nothing, and if the former’s main interest is in sleeping, the latter spends his time trying to find some way of making the family members fight with each other or find any way of making some quick money without hardwork.

Arjun Somasekhar who plays Painkili’s husband Shivan makes some nice appearances, even though he is not there in all episodes. In his acting debut, he brings some memorable, funny moments. Amal Rajdev plays Kunjunni, the father figure who pretends that he was a pilot in the airforce until retirement, while Sabeeta George plays the mother figure of Lalitha. Both are also interesting characters, and blend in really well. Indira Devi plays the grandmother who is also an integral part of the fun. The children are also really good, and they contribute to the tale so well. Such natural acting from child actors are rarely seen, but they just manage to make the whole thing better.

The fight scenes in the television series are funny, and it is to be noted that there is something very interesting coming up every time. The characters are people whom we fall in love with – they are all simple people, and their life and tales are also really simple, even though strange in a really funny manner as we look at it. I would say that the best thing which started in television during these days is this programme, and telecasted at the same time as Thatteem Mutteem in Mazhavil Manorama, this one is sure to have won the battle. Flowers channel seems to have programmes for all categories of people – even Star Magic and Koodathayi seems to be much loved, while in the case of Mazhavil Manorama, we only have the new and updated Udan Panam, which thrives on its anchors.

At the same time when Koodathayi and Star Magic are running in Flowers, we have Udan Panam in Mazhavil Manorama, a show which has been lifted to the next level, thanks to its new anchors, Meenakshi and Dain. One has to say that other than these, there is not much that can be watched on television these days. There are the movies for sure, like Kilometres and Kilometers being released on Asianet, and we also have those songs which can be watched here and there. Then we only have the sports. Well, with the COVID-19 cases showing no signs of coming down in number, and the number of deaths increasing, we need to stay more at home, but there is not enough entertainment within, and the need to work is also not the same for everyone.

***The images used in this blog post are promotions used by Flowers TV.

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TeNy

UT99: Gaming Nostalgia

Unreal Tournament, with the original one often known along with the year 1999 or with the Game of the Year Edition addition to name (UT99 or UT:GOTY) was one game which changed our gaming concepts, a very long time ago. Coming from Epic Games and Digital Extremes, this was the second release from the franchise, and managed to make all the impact by revolutionizing the gaming idea with its arena first-person shooter mode which involved playing against computer as well as other human players in multiplayer mode. I remember this game as the first one which I played online with friends during the early years of the new century.

The game’s domination mode which involved the capturing of control points and defending them, was my favourite during the time. During the lock-down period, I did spend enough time playing the game through LAN, along with Age of Empires 2: Conquerors and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It was a nice refreshing of those good old days for me. I would play Unreal Tournament’s original version any time again, and Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Tournament 2004 which came after this game were not that effective in comparison, which makes this version the one game which I might never forget. Remember that there is also a fine background story to this adventure which involved a lot of shooting. There is nothing that matches a perfect head-shot with a sniper rifle or the heated shrapnel launched by a Flak Cannon.

This pyramid level arena has us fighting for our lives in space.

A Gothic model of an arena will have us fighting hard.

A graveyard level is special for Halloween and the inner horror.

The level set on a galleon had some fine moments with visuals.

Sometimes, a few head-shots which a sniper proves to be the best.

This arena map called DM-Hyperblast has been a crowd favourite.

This is an arena which reminds one of hell & those Doom games.

Nothing suits Unreal Tournament 99 like the blood-red colour.

Another level in space means another chance for defying gravity.

DM-Morpheus map is the arena of suicides by falling into space.

***All images are from my game-play with Unreal Tournament much earlier.

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TeNy

Return to Gaming: Sims

You have been reviewing movies in different languages – you think that you are done with gaming, and then you find the mobile version of The Sims, a game which you had played and enjoyed a long time ago on computer. This is one game which you will love because it is virtual life itself, and you go through the usual household things including buying and maintaining a home, as well as work and relationship matters with no exaggerations. Most of you might have tried this one once on computer or mobile – otherwise, you can give it a try, and I have left you a few moments from the game so that you can know what it is about, and for the former computer gamers, this is one peaceful game which can take you back to those golden days, this time on Android. You will still require a GB free for this one, and an internet connection, as interaction with the characters or sims of other players also happen regularly along with the non-playing sims.

From the following images, you can find out that there are a number of sims which you can control, as you start with one, quickly get another, and there are two more to be unlocked, leading to the total number of four under your control. These sims will be working, going through different relationships, actions and events like fashion and visit to a restaurant, along with going through hobbies like yoga, cooking, music and others. You can have a total of twelve sims in your house including the four which you can control. Along with the same, you can buy a few things for your home, including furniture, electronic equipment, bathroom and kitchen items, things for the hobbies, special items for children and more. More land can be added as well as rooms and floors. You can also add another floor, and spend a lot of time at other areas of the town, as well as attending parties, meeting other sims who are not part of your household, some of them belonging to other players, while others being independent.

The babies and the kids ask for your time here.

There is no waiting when the kid needs food.

There is still some time for the yoga hobby.

You keep wondering if the kids have enough sleep.

Sneak in to get something from the refrigerator.

One simple wedding function at home being enough.

You talk about a bad day, and the kid drops in.

Always provide the plants with what they need.

Having some time out with friends at a special restaurant.

Acupuncture remains an interesting option, right?

The scientists are doing all they can at the laboratory.

When the kids have too many questions, you wonder.

***All images are from my game-play with The Sims Mobile on my Samsung Galaxy A20S.

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TeNy

The Green Campus Within

These are some of the photos of Rajagiri Viswajyothi College of Arts and Applied Sciences, a college which is located right within the greenery, and stays close to nature by all means. I had written about the same college before, which you can also refer, and these are the news images of the college in its present form. The courses include BA English Literature, Communication and Journalism, BBA, B.Com Finance and Taxation Model I, B.Com Finance and Taxation Model II and B.Com Logistics Management Model II. As we are not sure how the admissions would turn out to be during this year, it is better to have a seat booked for any course of your interest. Due to the same, admissions have been open early, and now, it is your choice to make. A fine green campus in the village of Vengoor near the popular town of Perumbavoor awaits you, as the management admissions are open, while the university admissions will begin sooner or later, and there is not much of time left to think as far as the Post COVID-19 future is concerned. You can go to the website (https://rajagiriviswajyothi.org) and there is an online scholarship exam coming up on July 27th, which will provide the toppers with some fee concession.

***These images can be seen on the Official Facebook Page of the college, and the admission for next academic year is now open.

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Thanks,

TeNy

Movies in More Languages

This has been the time of sadness, depression, fear and many other things with the Corona virus making its move everywhere, and we were left to spend time in the lock-down. Even though there were many relaxations provided, we didn’t have many changes in our life beyond lock-down. The situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and we surely need that vaccine sooner or later. Until then, we can go on with what we have, and watch more movies. There are so many movies coming up in different languages, and they are often better than what we usually watch, and some of them are really divergent, along with providing us the wonderful view of another land which we would also love to watch. The following is the list of languages in which I have watched movies and reviewed them for the first time during the Corona virus pandemic.

1. Romanian: As this post talks about movies in some new languages which I have come across only now, the first one is indeed Romanian. The case of Korean, Spanish, French, German and Chinese were already there, and I really wanted to watch a Romanian movie when I came across The Whistlers, a divergent crime thriller which took its deviation quite seriously, and ending up as an efficient one. One of the best foreign movies which I have watched in a long time, this one surely is a silent killer. From the land which we have known for being the setting for the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it is only a matter of time before we wish to get more of the world in Romania.

Click here for The Whistlers Review

2. Vietnamese: The movie Furie, is a marital arts movie which makes us very much interested in a mother’s search for her daughter, reminding us of Taken, but providing an entirely different feeling. There are so many action sequences in this movie involving some on the top of a train, as we go with the mother to see her fight the criminals while making her way to the daughter. A movie from the beautiful nation in East Asia which could have been our destination, also has such wonderful visuals, not just of nature, but also of the city area. Earlier, we had come across Thai and Chinese movies which focused so much on martial arts, and this one will bring another level to the same.

Click here for Furie review

3. Latin: We haven’t heard much about Latin movies around here, and the only time when we hear about them is in some of the language related papers or when referring to the church. The First King is a movie that surely changes the same, because it takes you on a journey through the times just before the establishment of Ancient Rome which would go on to become a republic and later an empire which would control major areas of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa for centuries, and will have its legacy living on through the Byzantine Empire even though not based on Rome. The tale of two brother who were believed to have found Rome is told in a realistic way without exaggerations.

Click here for The First King review

4: Italian: The only Italian movie with colour I had watched before Piranhas was Life is Beautiful, an Oscar winning film with the setting of Second World War and the Jewish holocaust. Otherwise, I had watched Bicycle Thieves, the movie which was part of the Italian neo-realism. Piranhas deals with the youth taking these weapons into their hands, and leading gang wars in the streets there. You see the Italian streets, as beautiful as they are, and there is also a reflection of a violent new generation which is looking for easy money, and the lack of interest in education. This Italian movie did seem to have some elements from the past films being maintained around here too.

Click here for Piranhas Review

5. Russian and Polish: The first Russian movie on Movies of the Soul was Abigail, which was quickly followed by The Iron Mask: Mystery of the Dragon Seal. Both are some interesting fantasy movies, and the second one with a Chinese touch looks even more different. It was amazing to see the quality maintained there, and the movie Guests followed with some horror. The Balkan Line, a Serbian-Russian collaboration movie was also in the picture, and in that case too, we could feel the ability of Russian movies to rise up to Hollywood. There are actually some more Russian movies coming up from my side to prove the same. The Polish movie Diablo pretty good, but not that much as we had expected with a racing flick trying to be Fast and Furious.

Click here for The Iron Mask review

6. Dutch and Portuguese: The first movie I watched in Dutch language is Torpedo U-235, a movie set during the Second World War, as a group of unexpected soldiers move on to deliver uranium to the United States in a German u-boat. It has an interesting premise, and is entertaining, even though it could have been even better with better focus. The Portuguese movie from Brazil, Bacurau is a very divergent movie, which is not for everyone, but makes a special flick with the way it deals with its main idea. I will be coming with more movies in different languages, which are watched and reviewed less in this part of the world, because there are so many of them which need the opinions.

Click here for Bacurau review

***All the images used on this blog post were taken from the official Facebook pages of the movies and the actors or actresses performing in them.

TeNy

Waiting More For Movies

As Corona Virus has continued to keep us in the lock-down, there is not much happening around here. I have been coming up with some foreign movie reviews including Korean, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Latin and Chinese, and you can look at them if you want. You can check the review of The Divine Fury with which the process began, going through First Love, and more movies which are to follow. Limiting the reviews to just one or two languages was not going to be the right thing to do, as I wanted to explore the flicks in other languages from other nations further. The result has been the increase in the frequency of film reviews, which was rather expected during the time of lock-down. After all, this is a situation which none of us had expected, and clearly, nobody was prepared for it. We are all locked into ourselves these days.

It is to be noted that in the last year and the year before that, April-May season was a time of foreign trips. We had one to Indonesia‘s Bali last year, and to Thailand’s Pattaya and Bangkok before that. It makes one wonder about how much the world has changed so quickly. Kerala has had its own problems in the last two years with the floods coming through, and the year before that, there was the Cyclone Ockhi. Well, the world doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to being the one we knew before, as we look at what has happened in those nations which reported the most cases, United States of America, Russia, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Iran and Turkey registering over one lakh cases – are we safe anymore? Will everything return to normal on any day? We ponder over that, and also look at what I look forward to, if the cinema theatres open any time soon.

1. Kunjeldho: Starring Asif Ali after the much appreciated Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha and the cute newcomer Gopika Udayan, this movie seems to have all that is needed for a campus movie. It began with a beautiful song from the plus two days which has us immersed in it, and then it has one of the most beautiful green campuses you might ever know. The movie seems to have been mostly shot in UC College campus, Aluva, the exact place where the middle part of the movie Premam was shot, as Nivin Pauly was the student in the college, finding his love in the inappropriate places. But it has to be noted that the movie had failed to capture the beauty of the college in the best possible manner, as UCC was always more than that. But when it was there, they could manage to do justice to the central area. Uyare also had a little bit of the college when Parvathy was dancing and talking later.

Kunjeldho can do much more, or rather a lot more than what has been done so far in the college campus. Premam could never absorb the spirit of the college, and as we look into the glimpse of Kunjeldho, it might have done that with clarity. This movie is directed by RJ Mathukkutty, different from the director of Helen, even though the names can have you confused. It seems that he has captured the campus life as it is, with its feel-good factor and happiness rather than those negative factors which often get the focus. He is someone who did study BA Malayalam from the same college, and that also adds to the understanding of the spirit and soul of the college. The feeling has to be different when you are shooting a movie at the place where you studied at college level, and it is up to him to bring full justice to the location this time.

It is to be noted that the plus two moments of the movie were also shot in a famous Jayakeralam school, this time near Perumbavoor, another town near the town of Aluva where UC College is located. This proximity makes one have the realistic factor closer than ever, within a distance of twenty something kilometres – this increase in distance is due to the fact that the college is located about three kilometres from Aluva town centre on the road to Paravoor, and the school is located about four kilometres from Perumbavoor town centre, on the road to Muvattupuzha. I had also seen the shooting progressing at Jayakeralam, and when things get close to reality, and what you know, you feel it to be part of your life, lile Kunjeldho can do. But we have to wait and see how much of that is seen on the big screen when it releases.

2. The Priest: The first collaboration of Mammootty and Manju Warrier in their long careers is here in the form of this movie, which reminds one of the 2011 movie with the same name, which had priests as elite warriors against vampires, sent by the church. When we look back, that was quite a strange movie, and here, we have a horror mystery with Mammootty in the lead, and playing a priest. We were eagerly waiting for it, and it became another film which was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. These are not the best times for a movie lover, as he can no longer watch movies in the theatres, and as he keeps reviewing those older movies, not many people want to support him by reading those opinions, as they are not about movies which are at the theatres where people wish to visit with the family.

3. Meppadiyan: There has always been something about this movie. It is a crime thriller with Unni Mukundan in the lead, and it was always going to be good, as he has been into crime on the big screen in Mikhael, even though that was just a shadow – we know what he is capable of playing a man into crime. This movie could bring him back to his original form, as he hasn’t had many movies these days, and none to test his caliber at all. Let us hope that this is the one movie which does trick in style. Among those other movies which people keep waiting for, like Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, something which is supposed to be the grand film like Mamangam – you know what expectations can do to you, as proven by that Mammootty movie, and much earlier with the Mohanlal starrer, Odiyan. Let us hope, and not think about this one too much, as the risk factor is certainly there.

***All the images used on this blog post were taken from the official Facebook pages of the movies and the actors or actresses performing in them.

TeNy

Movies for the Year: Level II

We have some more of the movies which we are waiting for this year. Along with that, also check the special reviews at Movies of the Soul. Ten of them are given below, and the much awaited movies of the year follows after them.
1. The Divine Fury.
2. Polaroid.
3. Brightburn.
4. In the Tall Grass.
5. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.
6. Doctor Sleep.
7. The Prodigy.
8. Girl on the Third Floor.
9. Pet Sematary.
10. Child’s Play.

1. Eternals: There was always the need for something for the Marvel fans after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame took away all those loved Avengers away from the fans. Now we will have Eternals, an immortal alien race who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7000 years, and has now decided to save the world from a huge threat. This seems to be much larger in scope, but there will be the question if they can create that much of an influence and impact on the audience as Avengers could – for they are not established superheroes like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hulk, but lets hope for the best, as the grandeur could easily be there.

2. Venom 2: There is further representation of Marvel with another anti-hero Venom getting the sequel. As Venom is an anti-hero who doesn’t go full dumb like Deadpool, we are always looking for sequel from this side. Being the symbiote infested anti-hero creature, lets have some more fun with this one. After all, the end of Avengers should mean more for Marvel – just like heroism never ends, the anti-hero stuff also would continue to make an impact. More of Venom means more of Spider-Man indirectly, and the Marvel fans have this as a requirement rather than anything else. Lets call for more of alien symbiotic stuff rather than some silly pool dead anti-hero.

3. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It: A few years ago, The Conjuring had set things in motion for the horror genre, and it has continued the same with The Conjuring 2; this one will be The Conjuring 3, with Annabelle and The Nun spin-offs looking on from a distance. Claiming demonic possession as a defence in the court, this one would be something that could go far beyond. There could be those areas which are not explored before, being a part of this particular horror movie, and lets see how far this can go. There can be an extra dose of fear and mystery running through The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. New faces of terror are ready to be unleashed.

4. The Purge 5: The Purge has been one franchise which fed on our fears, and there has been a certain amount of realization related to it, as in a future dystopian United States of America had an annual national holiday known as the Purge, all crimes, including murder are legal for a time period of twelve hours. It regularly reminds us of the harthal and bandh which we have here, and there is the feeling of a great amount of truth associated with this, and our future. Purge has always been there, and one day, it could be more clearly visible, and another movie in the franchise can only do good as it follows The First Purge and The Purge: Election Year. Lets look forward to what more it can bring to the idea.

5. Morbius: A long time after we loved the Blade movie series, there is this superhero vampire for us, from the Marvel universe itself, as we ponder over the loss of most of the much loved Avengers. With vampirism on one side, he could be one tragically flawed anti-hero rising far above Venom and Deadpool. Jared Leto playing the character would make things even more interesting. Rising as a superhero out of a failed biochemical experiment which was supposed to cure his rare blood disorder, the living vampire could be a fan favourite or end up being the exact opposite, and we can hope that the character can be given justice through this movie.

6. Candyman: Who can avoid horror during times like these? There is enough scares all around, and let Candyman bring more. A direct sequel to the 1992 film of the same name and the fourth film in the Candyman franchise, it is based on the short story, The Forbidden by Clive Barker, the master of horror. Candyman franchise has always been there to keep us in the horror genre, and lets hope that this movie too adds to the group positively. After all, only a regular dose of horror can keep us going during these days. Desperate times need great horror, and it is the realization of the existence of such horror that will inspire us to keep our lives moving forward.

***All the images used on this blog post were taken from the official Facebook pages of the movies and the actors or actresses performing in them.

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TeNy

Movies for Holidays

As the season of holidays is coming up during April and May after the early lockdown for Corona virus pandemic, there are a few movies which we can look forward to. Even though the theatres are closed for now along with the schools and colleges, we can be sure that we will go past the epidemic and come strong during the next month, or maybe even earlier. Some movie releases might be missed in the mean time, but as we follow the instructions of the health department and come back stronger, there will be more movies for us to watch in the theatres. The summer holidays will have a lot of these, are some might even have a late release to go with it.

1. Black Widow: Marvel might have lost some of its greatest heroes in the form of Avengers, but it is not yet over for them, as this time we go back and follow the events of Captain America: Civil War, with Natasha Romanoff finding herself against a conspiracy. Well, we never really had enough of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, and she was surely the one superhero who needed a solo movie over the much overrated Captain Marvel. The potential for a character like this is so much, and it could rise above the usual superhero stuff with ease. Whatever those people with superpowers could do, Black Widow can surely do better and in a smarter way, and you no longer miss all Avengers.

2. The Personal History of David Copperfield: We are never really short of watching the novels of Charles Dickens on the big screen. Coming from the greatest novelist of Victorian Age dealing with the common man, all these novels make great impact on the big screen. Even though my favourite novel remains A Christmas Carol and The Great Expectations has been one novel which works really well on the big screen along with Oliver Twist, this one also would have enough for us. It is never too late to go through Dickens’ most autobiographical novel even when not on the pages.

3. The Green Knight: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale from English medieval period which gave its poet the name, Gawain Poet. One of the best known tales about King Arthur, and the version known to us being written in Middle English, the movie takes us back to the Arthurian Legend. The movie has Alicia Vikander, and that is a name we would love to have in a medieval setting. The legend of King Arthur, his knights, queen, the sword in the stone Excalibur and the final resting place Avalon have always inspired literature lovers, and may this movie also do the same.

4. Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea: The Malayalam movie with Mohanlal in the titular leading role is also something much awaited, even more than the overrated Bollywood movies – it has made that kind of an impact already, and even though a similar movie out of history Mamangam didn’t receive that much of an appreciation, one can only keep waiting for this one considering the grandeur and the effort. I also have my own doubts about it, but I am also hoping for the best – it should release next month itself, as the theatres here have closed due to Corona virus this month.

5. Artemis Fowl: Somewhat taken from Eoin Colfer’s works of the same name, the movie takes one back to the world of a twelve year old criminal mastermind. A much known book here is not something that we have followed much at this part of the world, even though it has been well known. The movie becomes an opportunity to get back to this. A thriller fairy tale and the conflict between good and evil never gets old. The whole setup leading to the movie does look good. Now, it is to be seen how well the movie turn out to be – it also needs to be seen if this is released here.

6. Spiral and Run: We also need the regular dose of horror movies and thrillers, and these two seem to come up with some of it. Both movies seem to have something grand in store, with very much sinister secrets out there. It seems that we will know very less about these, but sometimes, it is the beauty of the same. Lets have more of similar movies, as long as they release here – we are surely going to have a rush of movies as the theatres come back to life next month, and we can hope that these would also join in between all the rush which has been happening.

***All the images used on this blog post were taken from the official Facebook pages of the movies and the actors or actresses performing in them.

**And belated happy birthday to me.

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TeNy