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which competed with Mazhavil Manorama’s Thatteem Mutteem, and has not lost its charm due to repetitions and being outdated as a number of years have passed now, and Flowers itself has other shows which gained supremacy.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.

<—Click here to go to the previous post.

<— Click here to go to the last film review.

TeNy

The Versatile Happens

versatile_blogger_award

On this beautiful day, I remember another award and feel very happy to have received The Versatile Blogger Award from Anita (https://icecandy16blog.wordpress.com) 🙂 I write this down while seeing a picture of Roger Federer holding an Indian cricket team t-shirt with the Bleed Blue hashtag – I love that feeling 😀

Thank you Anita for this wonderful award: (https://icecandy16blog.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/my-first-blogging-award).

Rules of the award:

Display the award on your blog.
Thank the person who nominated you.
Share 7 facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 blogs.
Link your nominee’s blogs.

7 facts about myself:

I believe that the Valentine’s Day is becoming more and more fake every year.
I have found the early morning, best time to read and study.
I can’t stand the dubbed versions of English movies on television channels.
I need more hours on a day – may be I should travel to Venus and claim them.
I believe that opinions should be respected and nobody has the right to abuse in return.
I feel that a movie experience is more personal than any other.
I support American Sniper for the Best Movie at the Oscars this year.

The 15 bloggers:
Anna (http://filmgrimoire.wordpress.com)
Natasha (http://allizzwell.net)
Jaideep (http://pebbleinthestillwaters.in)
Shibu (http://shibumathewn15.wordpress.com)
Sandeep (http://www.sandeeppatil.co.in)
Sanjeet (http://sanjeetv.wordpress.com)
Leo (http://leocraven.com)
Courtney (http://cinemaaxis.com)
Dan (http://dtmmr.com)
Indah (http://indahs.wordpress.com)
Susanne (http://susanneleist.wordpress.com)
Danny (https://dannybreslin.wordpress.com)
Bikramjit (http://mannbikram.wordpress.com)
Faith (http://faithsimone.wordpress.com)
Mark (http://mrmarakai.wordpress.com)

Enjoy your blogging… 🙂

Appreciation Matters a Lot

Movies of the Soul is a blog which I started on 5th February 2013 as part of a desire to express my purely subjective opinions on the latest movies that releases in our theatres. The first review there was on Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a movie which I watched at Cinemax, Oberon Mall after the show got cancelled at Q Cinemas, Gold Souk Grande. Still, Annayum Rasoolum at Matha theatre, Aluva was the movie I watched first in the year. 2012 was already an year which saw me watching so many movies. It was my second blog after Travel Diaries: Of this World and Beyond not considering the abandoned ones.

The idea behind the same was based on the fact that I spend above ten thousand rupees an year (even when not including the travel, food and parking fees) for the movie watching experience in the theatre watching one hundred plus movies on the big screen to almost no result at all – not to forget the time spent. I have supported a lot of movies just because I felt that they deserved to, and even tried to watch those which I had less hopes as I felt they could use some support. But I had to do better that just staring at the theatre screen, because as a jobless person, the money I spend for the movies was too high – it had to work at least for the intellect.

A screenshot from the top half of Movies of the Soul.

A screenshot from the top half of the blog, Movies of the Soul.

The total number of movies I watched in the theatre last year was 103, along with the number of flicks I watched at home having a much bigger count – this year’s count is now close to one hundred. I visited nine theatres last year, a number which has increased to fourteen this year. I have travelled kilometres just for a movie that I really wanted to watch, and I have made journeys in a limitless manner in the circle of Ernakulam, Paravoor, Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha, Vytilla and Edappally on a two-wheeler in the rain as well as the extreme heat.

When the newspaper shows the wrong information and I end up on the wrong theatre to watch a particular movie, I travel more, until I find the particular movie. Sometimes, a cruel multiplex cancels a show saying that they can’t have the movie there unless there is a minimum number of viewers, and then I have to travel from one mall to the other. Sometimes, I watch two or three movies on a day continously in a theatre. That was with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens at Q Cinemas, Gold Souke Grande. I have spent all my pocket money for the movies as if I didn’t have to eat or buy new clothes.

A screenshot of the Facebook page of Movies of the Soul.

A screenshot of the Facebook page of Movies of the Soul.

I have spent too much of my time watching movies, and in the words of some people, rather “wasted”. I have also had Film Studies as my elective for post graduation. With all these, I did hope to be noticed. I have had a seventy five thousand plus viewers so far, so it is more about being “seriously noticed by Keralites”. I don’t know if this has happened before and if it did I have failed to notice the same, but I didn’t miss this one, thanks to my friend Ajai. It was shared by the movie on its official page itself (Angels) Malayala Manorama and PrimeGlitz, and was noticed and shared by the director of the movie, Jean Markose and one of the main actors, Joy Mathew. This one has a mention for my blog, even as they messed up the spelling.

I have had very less attention from Keralites for my blog, and with fan clubs making decisions around here, I was sure that the hope was very less. It is the same reason why I decreased the number of Malayalam movies I watched this year, and I even ended up missing a few movies which I really wanted to watch. Yes, my take Malayalam movies do get read more, but the appreciation has been very low for the opinions. People would be more like, “you don’t really have the right to opinion”, unless they are also blogger, and know the value of opinion. Meanwhile, I make clear that I have always wrote opinions on how I felt, without any prejudice.

Due to the same, I am glad that my blog gets a mention somewhere. Not that I am in desperate need for the same, as I have lived without the same for quite some time now, but this mention makes me happy and it is one of those things that assures me that I am not really wasting my ideas on a blog, and neither am I always a jobless person who is of not much use. At the same time, thanks to my blogger friends, who have made sure that there is a meaning for my blog and has kept me going all these years to this point, and it is something that I admire unconditionally, no matter how much appreciation I get from the world outside 🙂

Watch the video; the mention is by the end of it 🙂 

Do spend some time at https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/ with the Vampire Bat and his partial best friend, the Vampire Owl 🙂 To go directly to my post on this movie which I strongly recommend, go to https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/angels/. I know that there were times when I have been a bit careless about the Malayalam movies (it also took me some time to develop my style in writing reviews), because I felt that nobody outside my blogger sphere really noticed them or cared what I wrote, but this small mention is a big boost to my confidence, and I will try to watch more of Indian movies and will try to explore them in a deeper and a more detailed manner. I do wonder if they changed the spelling of my blog intentionally though; after all, I am a cynic; but thanks nevertheless 😀

*Edited from the original post; another one, this time with the right spelling, blog mentioned second 🙂

Thanks to Anoop (http://anooppillaiz.wordpress.com/) for finding this one, and thanks to those behind this video 🙂

TeNy

Escape from a Lost Planet

There is something about not being an Aluvaite. There is not much about leaving from a land plagued by potholes and disturbed by the Metro construction. It just adds to that harthal which devastates the state from where there is no escape. But forgetting all the troubles which are not really the part of Aluva alone, and missing being part of the same place is another thing. Forgetting having no more friends in the lands and no more of anyone to talk is rather the product of that engineering experiment to which our students have agreed, the result being more engineers than coconuts and all of them exported to Bangalore or Chennai.

The river Periyar which covers most of the town (taken on my DSC-W310)

The river Periyar which covers most of the town (taken on my DSC-W310)

The first part of not being an Aluvaite is not being UCean, talked about here : (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/uc-as-in-you-see-and-mgu/). Not being part of the college had already happened earlier, but being not at Aluva adds more distance. Union Christian College, Alwaye comes as part of the town and it has been defined as one of the few things that define the muncipality, along with the Federal Bank, Sivarathri Manappuram and the Marthanda Varma Bridge. Therefore, UC College is the first thing to missed while leaving Aluva. For Sivarathri, we can always come here, and not travelling through the bridge is actually a boon considering the potholes – for Federal Bank, I am still a customer 😀

St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary & the church (DSC-W180)

St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary & the church (DSC-W180)

The Aluvaite effect is kind of lessened when you are living in a flat – the feeling of living in a house being taken away for about fourteen years, and never in between those years getting that opportunity to feel really at a house except for may be at some of those tourst destinations. When you live somewhere with rules against playing cricket and football, plus the need to stop any kind of entertainment at 9PM, it gives the feeling of being in a totalitarian state which stretches its arms towards further control. There might be celebrations for Onam and New Year, but who cares anymore?

Siva Temple & Aluva Manappuram (DSC-W310)

Siva Temple & Aluva Manappuram (DSC-W310)

Everyone wanted to play cricket and football and the replacement is badminton. But would the kids want to play that? No. Are there any old people who wish to play it? No. Can we ask any of the working people to come and play before 9PM? No, they won’t even reach home at that time. What is this other than an intelligent plot to stop people from having fun along with some exercise? Is it because the fascists can’t do that, the kids shouldn’t also do that? Should they just play the computer games and study during the rest of the time? Yes, create a video game playing, internet addicted future generation.

St. Xavier's Church in the centre of the town (DSC-W310)

St. Xavier’s Church in the centre of the town (DSC-W310)

Now, what were these games for us? Were they just about doing something because we had lots of time? No, it was a place for socializing; for they were not just games. I have met more people while indulging in sports rather than being in a boring meeting talking about why we are so awesome and planning for some boring fake celebrations which are conducted. Nobody really cares about this dumb repetition every year, and some people just act as if they do. There is no real effort put into it, and we have a new generation not caring about the same, because it is what some people want, and youth wants no part of it.

UCC. The wonder that is a college (GT-B7722)

UCC. The wonder that is a college (GT-B7722)

It is clear that most of the people don’t know anybody, even their own neighbours. We all know that person who gets out of the nearby door and comes back in. But who on the Earth are these people? Did they drop right out of hell last day with the expression that says “move out of the way or I will deliver you a clothesline”. So many families; we know a lot of them when we are a small group, but as the gang increases in number and diversifies, we ends up knowing none. There was only one cat that cared, but it got run over by a car.

Marthanda Varma Bridge. Defining Aluva (DSC-W310)

Marthanda Varma Bridge. Defining Aluva (DSC-W310)

Can we be confident about the fact that it will be any better at a new place? No and it can be even worse, but we will live in a house, and when we are bored, we can always take care of a garden, and there won’t be the need to listen to that grilling which happens every day at some random rich guy’s flat who does that too often. What are you building? A Taj Mahal – Victoria Memorial hybrid? Who cares about this bloody bourgeoisie who thinks that money can get them anything; but no, not respect, unless you live like you deserve it. I see that most of the good people have moved or are going to move from our neighborhood – I will miss many good things about Aluva and my best friends were indeed from here, but add me to the list.

Chowara St. Mary's Church; a beauty (DSC-W310)

Chowara St. Mary’s Church; a beauty (DSC-W310)

TeNy

Taker of Nostalgia

Among the large number of the superstars, the celebrities and the sportsmen who graced my childhood world, I wouldn’t consider anyone bigger than that one man who was part of the daily trump card games. It was one of those more precious cards to have to secure a win, as the Undertaker had a very good rank which was usually between one and three, and a good number of fights fought, won as well as a height which was huge and good weight, biceps and chest, the elements needed to win the trump card game. This man, originally Mark William Calaway, has been a legend and a sure wrestler in the WWE Hall of Fame soon.

There were just Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart Hitman around him in the rankings, and when I managed to buy a few cards again, it was The Rock and Tripe H around him – somethings never change, and there was always the Undertaker, between Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg or whoever came around. He was the man who had something for us kids, even as he was considered more of a man of the dark side with the avatar that he had chosen. Standing at 6 feet 10, weighing over 300 pounds, this man was always there, defining sports entertainment like nobody else.

He was the dead man walking, coming to the ring with an entrance which would make most of the undead rise from their graves and clap their hands. Even at a time when the effects were not that developed, he did manage to keep the scare tactics alive. There was always Paul Bearer and his urn which had his powers. He used to rise all of a sudden when everyone thought he was finished. He was a master entertainer, like nobody else. We loved his chokeslams, tombstone piledriver and the last ride, the finishing moves which remains in the minds of the fans forever.

My last collection of WWE trump cards, should be about ten years old.

My last collection of WWE trump cards, should be about ten years old.

We can remember those Casket Matches, Last Ride Matches and Buried Alive Matches, and that long presence in Hell in a Cell Matches. We loved him with his half-brother Kane as they became the Brothers of Destruction. Two chokeslams or two tombstone piledrivers at a time, and that is one great fest. Then when they fought against each other, there were sparks flying. I can remember not many things in WWE being any better. Then they had to make him face Brock Lesnar who was to disappear after that match, why?

When he was defeated at WrestleMania XXX, and his great undefeated streak came to an end, undoubtedly due to some bad writing, my world had clearly changed and I realized that it was the time to decrease my interest in WWE, as even IPL seems to be coming up with better scripts. WWE’s two main stars were John Cena and Daniel Bryan, both of them of no significance to me, and the upcoming ones like Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are my least favourite characters. Kane is reduced to someone who is regularly beaten up, unable to chokeslam or beat the new faces; Triple H in a coat – what more can get worse for WWE?

One positive is Paige, the lady in black who has been gracing WWE for the last few months. This beauty surely has the power to unleash the beast by playing the monster with a certain amount of the inner demon unleashed. The Divas division surely has more scope these days. The same can’t be said about the men’s division though. Unless Kane becomes the real monster that he used to be, and fill the void that has been left by the Undertaker, plus Triple H decides to get into the ring as cerebral assassin fighter, there is not much ahead for WWE.

The Undertaker, the legend, the most memorable performer  of WWE (Photo from wiki)

The Undertaker, the legend, the most memorable performer of WWE (Photo from wiki)

I am fed up seeing the whole thing repeat again and again with no real change. These new wrestlers are rather too predictable and weaker stars combined with even weaker storyline is bringing doom. There comes the emptiness that one feels when the Undertaker is not there, and the realization that he has become old and won’t be the same again; he was already just restricted to being a small presence in WWE. I will surely miss the Undertaker, and I guess the only way to bring him back with immediate effect is to play WWE RAW, the old PC game again, but then it had the Undertaker in his American Bad-ass biker version, not the one I admire.

TeNy.