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

UCC: All that is Fantastico

I have watched many movies which are based on campus life, including Classmates, Niram, Doctor Love, Nammal and more, but never did I thought that my post graduation time will be the best years of my life. Yes, there has been problems here are there, but all of them have only contributed to making me a better person, and there was the chance to go through all the literature, which is why I consider the two years as among the best of life, and remain as my strongest memories; UCC is the fantastico of my education.

This memory is all about UC College or Union Christian College. The history of UC College’s history goes back to 1921, when it came to existence as a result of co-operation between four major church denominations in Kerala, the Church of South India, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. Earlier affiliated to The Travancore University and now affiliated to the Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam, UC is a very much reputed college.

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UC College has been one of the few things which continues to represent the town of Aluva, along with the Marthanda Varma Bridge, the Federal Bank HO, the Shivarathri Manappuram, the Advaita Ashram and Mangalapuzha Seminary. Located about four to five kilometres from the main town area, UC College is one the best known education institutions in Kerala, and among the colleges in Ernakulam district close enough to Cochin, it has been traditionally the most popular.

The college was also like three and half kilometres from my home at that time, a distance which I could reduce by a few metres if I had chosen to walk by taking a few shortcuts through a world without traffic. So, UC College was always going to be the right choice for me to go for MA English. So, the fact that I could get admission there on merit itself was more than just another happy moment for me. But I wasn’t sure about my future even then, and I could never be clear about what was to happen there, being the big cynic.

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But the college which you have seen in the movie Premam was not just another educational institution for me. UC College has been the source of nostalgia, something that still stays, unlike the rest of the insitutions – in the case of all the others, the memories have clearly disappeared. From the canteen to the library, and through each building there, stretching around the green campus which has so many trees and old structures, each corner of the college is still alive in my mind. It feels so good to reach the campus early morning, and walk through this green universe. There is the need to arrive early and leave late considering how refreshing the campus is.

The days were fantastic, even though I understood that they were so when it was coming to a finish. I didn’t feel that it was going to be this good when I began, but things only got better. As the second year started, life had become so much closer to literature, and Film Studies was also a paper waiting to come to light. The whole department had become even more friendly, and even getting permission to go to the canteen and have a cup of tea was so easy. I could never study at an institution which had friendly teachers earlier, but UC College was an exception. Most of the school teachers have been demons for me as I remember.

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The advantage of having friendly teachers is that you will have a better interest in the subjects which they are teaching, and you never hesitate to ask the questions. Throughout my studies, until joining UC College, I had only one or two of such friendly teachers, but thankfully that changed with the MA English adventure. I remember the opportunities to attend the seminars at different colleges and the chance to be part of many quiz programmes in Central Kerala along with winning a few! One of those wins are still shown there on the official website of the college, and that still feels happy and extra fantastico! 😀 You can see it here

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me during my MA English course there.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

Did I Really Do It?

It has been some years, but it feels like an eternity. I don’t really remember those days at all. Did they really happen or were they just dreams? I do have the certificate and the mark list; so it should have happened at some point of life. I have only some recollection of the same, but it seems like I did do it. There will be doubts if it is really a useful thing, but I guess I did it at that time. Sometimes I wonder if it was ever supposed to bring something better in mortal life or monetary benefits; I guess it wasn’t on the list.

Yes, I am talking about the MA English Language and Literature course. It was only a few days ago that I found and looked at the syllabus of the course, and that made me wonder if it was me who really studied that course and wrote those exams for that MA English First Class (read as the BCom First Class which was mentioned in the movie, Naadodikkaattu). I actually remember very less from the course and a lot of these papers in the syllabus stare at me as if I am a stranger. The syllabus itself seems to wonder if it had ever seen me before, but I will show this one the degree certificate! I will just go through what used to be that syllabus and see if we remember each other enough in the end.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need.

I will miss this classroom all the time, no matter where I visit in my life!

I dig deep into the memories, and I remember those earlier works like The Canterbury Tales, Utopia, Doctor Faustus, Paradise Lost, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Way of the World and all that we studied, but there were the two papers which followed, and those were Phonetics and Literary Criticism. I remember being shocked at the subjects which were part of these papers.

Vampire Owl: What do you mean?

Vampire Bat: Biographia Literaria, The Language of Paradox and others.

Vampire Owl: Okay, whatever.

In the case of Phonetics, I felt that I was going straight to hell. But I still passed, and scored well there, and that was a confident booster. I still believe that words should be spoken like we want to and not according to the Phonetics side – that will be Indian English 😀

These days, when I look at these papers, I am only going to be more and more shocked. I really wanted to use what I studied in life because I managed to pass, but such an opportunity was never to come. While my earlier talk was about the first semester, here I remember that the second one was much smoother, and I remember the second semester as a rather easier one; I was more comfortable with the class and the college, and the seniors were close; the papers were smooth and Linguistics remained the only problem there. But with more focus on that, I could do it better than I did in the case of Phonetics.

I remember that the first semester of the next year, and this third semester of the course had two big troubles; one being the Literary Theory – I was absolutely uninterested in this, but I had good teachers. The classes turned out to be better than expected and something in the internet surely helped. Nature of the Linguistic Sign? The Metaphoric and Metonymic Poles? The Death of the Author? The Critic as Host? And whatever came after that, I don’t remember much of it, and I am not that disappointed about my short memory here. I will keep the memories of my college instead of that, the greenery and everything else. Those sights will surely bring more of the memories back to me.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily.

The greenery at college is inspirational, but the theories are surely not.

The second big trouble was this paper called Politics of Narration, about the aspects on fictional and non-fictional expression in narratives. Even though this was a twisted paper, the scores came good just like Literary Theory. Another thing about this paper is that the talks and discussions related to this paper has helped me in improving my writing. Along with the same, there were a few interesting works of fiction with this paper. Women and Literature along with Writings of the Public Domain were partly bad for me! But the fiction and some interesting ideas saved the day most of the time. I still wish I could go forward with life as the MA English graduate, but that option is the jobless one.

Film Studies was the strangest paper for me; one one side, there were those movie which we surely had to watch, and there was the need to write critical appreciation of movies. This side was pretty much okay for me, and by the end of this paper, I was ready to start the blog, Movies of the Soul. The review of Celluloid at the blog is the same which I submitted for the assignment, with slight changes. But it took me a long time to recover from the theories which were related to movies; those were the difficult ones for me, and I shall not name them – but the memories are coming back to me; now I realize that I had learnt them all, and they are stored somewhere in my memory 😀

Now I am sure and I remember that I am MA English First Class from Mahatma Gandhi University and jobless 😦
Check this video of the BCom First Class version from the movie Naadodikkaattu 😛

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me at Union Christian College, Aluva.

Btw, check out for my favourite movies from the year 2015.

TeNy

UCC: Random Thoughts

It has been two years. Time has moved fast, and I still remain where I was by the end of July 2013. I was going through the final stages of my project on vampire as a cultural construct at that time, and after two years, the vampires remain, or rather the ghosts of the vampires, and the new ones have also joined my imaginations. After two years, nothing really has happened with my life except for the fact that the distance has increased considerably; distance not just to one thing, but to many.

I am away from my college, the students and teachers, further than ever. We have moved from Aluva to the present location, which means myself and the college no longer shares the same town. Even after leaving Union Christian College, I used to wander around the place, having tea at the nearby restaurants and bakeries. I was close enough, and I had a few visits after I left officially. There were a few friends visited and the teachers were also there. The distance from my home to college remained three kilometres at that time.

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Now, it has all changed though. With the distance, the world itself has broken away into two, one from the past and the other of the present which is a void. My only hope remains that my former classmates will call me for their weddings. I do suspect that some of the girls might be already married and I never knew. I hope that the food at those functions was not that good; otherwise I will be very disappointed. Well, I guess that I was pretty much expendable and the time had arrived to use that particular characteristic – I feel that now.

Everyone has evolved into something else, and there are no assignments, seminars or projects to talk about or to be of help. So, there is more chance of my mobile number being scrapped, and someone can always say that it was the mobile which was lost or changed. They are more practical and I am a wanderer in the thoughts which won’t have any significance for a normal person these days. May be I can use that “former intellectual” tag and use it on my name plate, hanging it on the gate of my house as a memory.

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UC College has surely made me a better person, and I have talked about it on my earlier post. But the depressing thing was that it was too short a period of time for me. There were also enough strikes to make it even shorter. I feel it even more after watching the college in the movie Premam. But I would still not doubt the fact that it was the right time for me to study there. I did feel that the forces present there at that time were custom made for me, including the students and the faculty.

When you feel that a place has made you a better person, and now you have no connection with the same, it should feel terrible, or at least for me, it does. I know that as we consider the expected model of the college days, mine wouldn’t count as interesting. It is not worthy of being an entertaining collection of two years for humanity. I haven’t had a huge friend circle, and without those quiz programs, I would have been mostly unknown in my department too. But I was glad with what I had, and the books.

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I enjoyed watching the rain which made the college which is close to nature even more beautiful, joining my favourite lecturers for a cup of tea or having onion vada with one of those faces which I knew. I loved to go to the library and collect those vampire-related works, and I loved where I parked my car. I won’t say that it was about having fun, and for the same reason, it was closer to my heart. I have enjoyed loneliness with a book under the tree and keeping on ordering for more tea at the canteen while working on my vampire thesis. And now there is no connection. My previous post, The College Days at UCC which was a contest winner, had a more optimistic side, but it has been some time!

***The photos were taken by me at UC College; there are no surprises there.

TeNy

Five Colours of UCC

This is the time of Holi and it has brought us the season of colours again. India has won the fourth match in a row in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, defeating West Indies chasing an easy target. Even the Undertaker seems to be making a return to the WWE. Therefore, it is time to bring back the colours of life too, and in my case, it is clear that they are part of my time in Union Christian College at Aluva.

1. White: The first colour easily visible at UCC is white, which is part of almost every building there, and also visible through the first rays of the sun which was often witnessed by me who reached there as one of the first students of the day, very early morning. I would like to remember my friend and classmate Vysakhi who gave some competition on reaching the college first, but no, I was there first to witness the white light, except for the cats and dogs which wandered around at times.

The rays of the sun welcomed me almost everyday.

The rays of the sun welcomed me almost everyday, and there was a good start.

2. Brown: Not really the exact colour for everything, but this symbolizes the time of study; it is not only the colour of the desks and chair, but also of tea and the beautiful lands of UC College after the rain. UCC is too beautiful to describe on a beautiful rainy day of the lovely monsoon, and this is when you look outside from the college canteen with a glass of tea with cutlet or onion vada. Tea, classes and the land during the rain makes the second colour, or what made this universe so colourful.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need – no modernity needed.

3. Green: Here is the colour of the campus which is more green than anything else with its trees and all the blessed greenery of nature just adds to our need to study at the college. It is indeed a green campus – once I had the photo of my car parked around the college as the desktop wallpaper, and one of my friend asked me if I park the car in a forest or wildlife sanctuary. I take that as a compliment, and unlike some of those concrete college worlds, each and every campus should be like the UC College campus.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily from this photo.

4. Blue: This one comes later. Even though it does show me being rather clueless with a few film theories and big critical theories in the final year and looking at the blue sky, there is more to this side. Phonetics and Linguistics had disappeared and I had the opportunity to do the seminars with the aid of PowerPoint presentations. Blue was the usual colour of the wallpapers of my Netbook, and my favourite background colour for slides. It felt good to bring the vampiric ideas out there.

Vampires have been mostly associated with blood red, but not this time.

Vampires have been mostly associated with some bloody red, but not this time.

5. Silver: The great silver lining follows the darkest of clouds, and by the end of the college, the happy ending was that I could finally submit this thesis on “Vampire as a Cultural Construct”. This didn’t really work out that well with the viva, but I got caught up with that silver lining and realized that the scores don’t define me, and I still did good. The cover of the thesis work was chosen by me to be silver despite most of the others preferring the golden cover.

And everything finishes with the silver lining of the great vampire thesis.

And everything finishes with the silver lining of the great vampire thesis.

I am glad to have had colours in my college life, even though it has never been like what many people would define an eventful life of college. It was different and it was surely serene. The colours of that part of life were not those which were visible to everyone. They were mine, and there were five. May be there could have been subdivisions, but I am contented with these which have come to my mind. After all, life needs its colour, and nostalgia is a good provider of the same even after the best of times move away. Happy Holi!

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

***The photos used in this blog post are from my time at Union Christian College, taken on my Sony camera and Samsung mobile phone.

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TeNy

The College Days at UCC

This post is my entry for ‘My College Diary’ contest held by travel blog My Yatra Diary in collaboration with Collegedunia.com

There are not many memories that give me a better feeling than my days at Union Christian College, Aluva – where I attended for my MA English. I have been to other educational institutions for a longer period of time, but there was nothing like being in this college which had the most interesting days of my life. It was like each and every day was special, and had something new for me. I have always been a lazy person who hesitated to go for the classes, but everything changed and I came out of there as a different person.

I was always there to witness the first rays of the sun.

I was always there to witness the beautiful rays of the sun, very early.

There is something about learning English Literature in one of the oldest and the most reputed colleges in Kerala. With a green campus full of trees and having a number of old buildings of antique value which takes us to world beyond the busy traffic right outside the gate, being at UC College is a privilege that I never thought I would have, and for the same, I would like to thank God as I could get the admission by merit itself without any trouble, and that is one miracle that stays on my list forever.

UCC on a rainy day while reading romantic poetry!

UCC on a rainy day while reading romantic poetry! Nostalgia strikes!

We had our classes right on the block on the back side of the oldest building around, surrounded by trees and having a shortcut to the canteen. The first thing we notice there being the lines from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”, I entered the classroom with doubts about what was next in my life. I was quite late for post-graduation, as I had changed my graduation to Literature after having my way with Computer Application.

Now you know where I parked my car :D

Now you know where I parked my car 😀 Loved parking it – was more like hiding it 😉

1. The Strangers’ Paradise: I entered this place, which was the paradise of strangers, a world which had students who had taken graduation from different colleges. There were eighteen including two of us boys, a number which decreased to thirteen by the final year. Most of them didn’t know each other, and what made me feel better was that nobody knew me at all. Being a stranger among strangers was fair, the right point to make an introduction. I could make the right impression, but still I ended up being just me, and thinking about it, that was the best thing that I did there – being myself.

That visual from our first year classroom and nearby.

That visual from our first year classroom and nearby; almost made me jump at times.

2. The Strength of Tea: The first thing I asked after getting there was about the canteen. Yes, the toilet and the library are significant, but there was the need for tea. Ever since finding the place, I was a regular visitor there, even meeting the teachers further there. It is the place which tells us that our teachers are awesome, over a cup of tea. We know our friends better at the canteen with the tea, and meet a lot more people there. We might still not know them directly, but it is a certainty that if we see them somewhere outside the college or on Facebook, we know who they are. I used to jump out of the classroom for the same reason, having a cup of tea between the hours.

Those steps under the chapel: a usual place.

Those steps under the chapel: a usual place, no matter what the time.

3. The Literary Power: The power of the library was clear right from the beginning, and I was clear about it before joining the college. We were blessed with a very old library which had a very good collection of literary works, but nothing new though. I used to make some frequent visits to library in the beginning, a habit which I somewhat abandoned as I could get the e-books in an easier way. But then, there was the idea of helping others to get the book – with canteen so close to the library, how could I not choose to go to the library? Cutlet and tea with books – a fair choice.

Those library cards on the final day of college.

Those library cards on the final day of college – one last look as I left.

4. Seminars of the World: A habit which soon developed was to go for literature based seminars at different colleges. Even as there were some of us going in the beginning, soon there was the practice of going together or staying at home so that there would be no class. But soon, some of the studious girls would develop the practice of going to the college to listen to the lectures based on syllabus, and I had to go alone or in smaller groups. But we got the attendance, and the classes rarely mattered to me as I had enough material to go through. The journeys on a Chevrolet Beat also started with these, making my car a regular visitor to the college.

A little more of the natural beauty to make you miss the place more.

A little more of the natural beauty to make you miss the place more.

5. Change of Perspective: The first few months had us taking down lecture notes as well as those which are provided to us. Then the situation changes to just writing down some random things, pretending to write and finally ends up not writing anything at all. Yes, there are the studious girls who got to write them, but we are people of the last bench. We know that it is not by what is taught in the classes that we are redeemed when the examinations arrive. We know that we have to read, and not accepting whatever is taught in a class; that is about having one’s own perspective.

Another beautiful, rainy day on the campus inspiring poetry.

Another beautiful, rainy day on the campus inspiring poetry.

6. The Quiz Surprise: Even as the things were going okay, nothing really made an impact like this surprise. There was the inter-college quiz competition for which I was told to go, just because there was the shortage of willing people; that was a nice journey, with two teams of us participating in the same, and myself and my partner winning the second prize. That was quite a turning point, with myself going to more of the competitions, with different partners – that was the beginning of the next phase which came only in the final year. I admired the department for the support here, and those who accompanied me for the competitions.

A screenshot from the college website at that time.

A screenshot from the UC college website at that time.

7. Political Extravaganza: Politics was banned for the first year I joined there as there were some bad incidents. But it came back with full power in the next year, with the Communist students wing SFI gaining most of the seats and the other Communist wing AISF coming so close. Congress’ KSU came right down and BJP’s ABVP managed one seat. It was not the result that caught my attention though, because it was the campaigning which has the beauty about it. There were thos nice artworks to support the parties as well as some cultural stuff. Who can forget those strikes which gave us more freedom?

A photo from the day before the election.

A photo from the day before the election.

8. Before Final Destination: Then came the season of trouble; the time for the final exams followed by the time dedicated for the thesis. There were lot of turbulence out there, especially concerning the studious girls, worried about the marks as well as how their thesis will look for others; but the rest of us were pretty sure that they will score high as usual and were just making a scene to bother us – that ended well. Among this maddening crowd, the thesis progressed fine,, and I am glad to say that I enjoyed working on my topic, and the support from the English Department was splendid.

Those final days of thesis; had to be the techie again.

Those final days of thesis; had to be the techie again and be the helping hand.

If I have the opportunity to go through all these, I would be glad to – it is that kind of a feeling that this college has left me with. It is not that I have never thought about it, and taking another post graduation in History would have been a perfect choice. But considering the fact that the syllabus has changed and so has the new generation, I would just end up being an outdated man, not old enough and yet not working well with the younger generation. So, I shall happily hold on to these memories which remain special for me.

A few things the elections brought for the college.

A few things the elections brought for the college; the area near the canteen.

Five bloggers I tag here are NamrataManiparna, KokilaRohit  and Nishi. I wish them best of luck 🙂
I also thank Sagarika for the tag 🙂 and My Yatra Diary for this opportunity.
*All the photos used here were taken on my former phone – Samsung Star Duos.

TeNy