Was amazed to see the February cover of National Geographic ...a must see !!!

A girl turned 18 yesterday and became one of the richest women on the planet...not that she's poor now...:)

Went to Coorg last week...just for the weekend...It's a 3hr journey from Thalassery in Kerala to Virajpet(Coorg's capital).The roads are horrible but the cool fresh mountain air makes up for it.Virajpet is a small noisy town surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations.Coorg is known famously for two things ,its coffee and women.Just had a glimpse of both ;).The place is blessed with natural beauty and you can find many quiet places if you are willing to explore.Time has no meaning here.So does the internet.Just a single internet cafe as far as I could see in the town and that too exorbitantly priced .A vehicle (a jeep preferably) is a must.Kannada is the language but everyone knowns Malayalam as well.The central town square is straight out of a Ruskin Bond novel with goats & cows having a free hand in everything.The coffee in the hotels are garden fresh and needless to say tastes divine.14 km from Virajpet is "Orange County ", a luxurious and expensive resort with all modern amenities.But you can just visit the place during the day as well without spending a paisa. Came back with my batteries fully recharged....
Ahh ...something constructive finally happening in my beloved state Kerala :)

"Marriage is bliss.Ignorance is bliss.Therefore..." -Anonymous. (Courtsey : S.Upendran,The Hindu)
A very busy week it was...Last sunday went for GandharvaSandhya (Kairali Yesudas) awards at Kanakakkunnu palace...Went for the show a good 3 hours before the opening...on reaching there,found out that unlike previous years you had to get a free pass.It was a bolt from the blue ,never was mentioned in the papers.Think Kairali,who was sponsoring the event, was to blame??So there i was stranded and the security was tight and strict as the Governor was coming.The program was supposed to start at six...Suddenly at 5:00 comes the announcement that no more people will be allowed in,even those with passes, as it was full to capacity !! People were going back gloomy and the police drove away the reluctant ones.I waited at a nearby bustop..."To wait and not be tired by waiting..."

At seven the program came on in a giant screen fitted outside...The awards ceremony was over...And Asha Bhosle had left suddenly ...no one knew if she would be back...At that precise time the heavens opened.The open air theatre ,Nisdhagandhi, at which the program was held ,was doused with a light but steadly drizzle.The families and the less sturdy started coming out and FINALLY the police opened the gates and we moved in...people all excied running ,pushing ...After standing for four hours,had to continue that effort with one foot...the place was jam packed.Sigh!!No problem the minute Yesudas started singing one forgot everything else.
Manna Dey was super, i thought.But the crowd got restless after hearing the old unfamiliar old Hindi numbers .Some oof them scoffed at the old man with the harmonium, who is a living legend.They clapped middl eway through a song and some people even had the teremity to howl and jeer.All a grim pointer to what is really wrong with this country.Intolerance.Let's not even start discussing Gujarat.None of the papers mentioned this rougish behaviour.Manna Dey refused to come on stage again ,even though it was announced a memento was to be presented to him.Don't blame him at all !!

On the way back through the lush kanakunnu palace with a beautiful moon above me I thought about the royal family and whether we blundered in choosing democracy...
There is a cardinal sin in any profession; more so in journalism and that is to pass your frustrations on to your writing, making it one whole. Smitha Sadanandan of “The Hindu” penned a film review on Nandanam on January 10, 2003.

This woman has been seriously wronged either by one of the film’s people (maybe one of them refused her an interview?) or she has a personal problem in her life and is taking the frustration out in her writng. Understandable, since she usually writes dull boring articles on Resident associations and filler articles in The Metro page. But this is not about her writing skills at all. This just goes on to show what a person, even if he/she is a journalist can do to mar a film’s prospect simply because he/she has no clue how to go about it.

There will be differences of opinion sure. A film that I love may seem pathetic to you. But there’s something called courtesy, which ladies and gentlemen is still around. A basic unwritten law in reviewing suspense films is not to divulge the ending even if you think the film was directed by an eleven year old. Smithaji has divulged the ending in Nandanam, which is a very very vital part of the movie. Not exactly a suspense thriller this movie but the ending is crucial. The funny thing is that even on then net (read uninhibited freedom) not a single reviewer, and there were plenty of amateurs, divulged the ending. Why are you a sadist, Smithaji? Ever read any review for “The sixth Sense”? Ever read anything that suggested what was going on in the movie and a detailed explanation of the last scene even by a critic who ridiculed the movie?

She claims that “Nakhakshthangal”, that poetic MT-Hariharan picture inspired director Ranjith.Both have the Guruvayoor temple as the background and a dusky village beauty as the main characters and of course some out of the world songs. Apart from that these two movies are as different as chalk and cheese. Lady, you CANNOT pass accusations and not support it, ok? Another cardinal principle of responsible journalism.

She also says with authority that “Nandanam” has employed a not-so-new-formula to rake in the bucks. Just a one liner will suffice for this. “All the stories have been told, it’s the way you tell them that counts”.

Smithaji really takes her movies very seriously. She rues the fact that “logic goes for a royalspin” and something about maids falling in love with well off dudes. I can’t comment on the latter coz she’s dissecting the movie’s ending and I don’t want to repeat her mistakes. But the best, the very best is reserved for Navya Nair. “Navya Nair is convincing as Balamani, but the Manju Warrier fixation is evident.” When I read that, I was reminded of a press conference by a dude in Trivandrum claiming that all earthquakes and train crashes in India were perpetuated by Pakistan using laser technology. Baba, you are just let speechless at such statements.
I can guess what has happened here, though. After Anand Parthasarathy left Trivandrum, the post for film reviewer has been left wide open. Smithaji desperately wants to impress her bosses. The irony of all this is that I went to see Nandanam solely coz of an earlier article in The Hindu commenting on a Different well made movie. That was after the premier of the movie, I presume. Another very funny thing, Nandanam has been almost universally acclaimed by critics. The majority of the people who saw the film too had good words for it too.Some people ,like me, attach a lot of importance to critic’s view .We usually decide to see or skip a movie based on what he/she has to say.I learned an important lesson here.Better to trust and go with a critic or fined who has similar tastes to you than blindly following what any Tom,Dick and Smitha has said on the matter.
Whoa , ever had that feeling on reading something that YES!! this is what I wanted to say right down to the last dot.Check what Lekshmi Nairhas penned down....I couldn't have done it better....an ode to my beautiful city Trivandrum and its people...

A confession to start off with… I very rarely watch new Malayalam movies, so kindly take that into consideration while reading this review. My shrink says that this is my body’s way of coping following an irreversible psychological trauma after watching a flick titled “Mr.Butler”. Yep, that was the time folks that I knew that something was going on around me and I was not being let into the secret. The audience was laughing mad at Dileep & co's antics and double meaning dialogues and all I could do was squirm in my seat. Hell, by the time that movie was over, I had sworn off new mallu movies for good. I am not an art film lover. Just a good movie lover. I can see “In Harihar Nagar” and “Nadodikattu” a 100 times and still laugh. I can see “Onnu muthal poojyam vare”,”Unnikale oru katha parayam” and still cry. Hey I am not biased towards Moahanlal, ok? :) I don’t demand too much from movies, either it should be entertaining or should make you think or do both, which is rare. I had that rare opportunity recently while watching Nandanam.

There was an article in “The Hindu” which commented that Nandanam was different and good. Now if “The Hindu” says something is good, it usually turns out to be great!! Those guys are real miserly with their praises. Anyway so here I was in an “A.C” theatre in the capital of God’s own country. Sree Vishakh it was, and if the theatre is Sree Visakh, you can bet your life there won’t be any aircon. Only a handful of theatres Kalabhavan, New (same management as Visakh!!), Kripa, etc put their coolers on for that matter.

Right from frame one, the movie had me hooked. The story is set in an old Nair tharavadu and centers on the love between the maid of the house with the dude of the house, who incidentally is going to the US of A in short time. The city lad had just come down to be with his grand mom before heading West.Balamani(affectinately called Bala by Manu), the maid falls in love with Manu, our hero at first sight. So what’s new, u ask? Titanic reversed?? Well, as we all know, all the stories have been told but it’s the way it’s told that counts. So it is with Nandanam.Ranjith, the director of Devasuram, Ravanaprabhu fame really surprised me with the sensitive handling of the plot. And for once in a mallu movie the casting is impeccable, right down to the house servants. I can’t imagine anyone else other than Prithviraj and Navya playing the leads.

This film is about simplicity. Simple story, Simple sets, straightforward characters, no dishum dishum, no rape, no handicapped dudes (Thank God!!), etc. And it’s immensely difficult to critique a film when it’s simple and not pretensious. The director talks straight from the heart with minimum commercial compulsions. Any wonder then that the film was in the cans since Vishu with no distributors willing to touch it? I am not going into the plot coz knowing the story in any degree kills this film. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it immensely being totally ignorant of the plot when i went to see it.

Prithviraj, son of yesteryear “dialogue veeran” Sukumaran ,fits the role of Manu like a T.His dad would have been proud of him. This guy has talent and spunk. He’s a natural. Although the role doesn’t demand much from him, he perfoms well within the limitations of his role.

Nandanam begins and ends with Navya Nair. I haven’t seen any of her previous films but she blew me away with this one. You can’t but fall in love with Bala..She emotes beautifully and looks absolutely fabulous as a village belle. Check out her mannerisms and how shy she’s around Manu in the beginning of their relationship and you’ll know.Yep Bala is a member of the now nearly extinct group of mallu girls immortalised by the song "Sundari,nin thumbu keety itta churulmudiyil..." from Salini ente koottukkari.Yep this dasmel brings out the protective fatherly nature in any full blooded mallu guy..lol. I was surprised that Ranjith took the risk of shooting a woman (girl) oriented film. I’m more amazed by the fact that he got it to work too.

Kaviyoor Ponnamma plays her role to perfection, nothing less to be expected from a veteran. Revathi, a permanent Ranjith fixture, still looks and acts wow. Hmm, this woman ages like wine. Unni, played by newcomer Aravind, dazzled. His first screen shot was received with howls from the audience, maybe coz of his unconventional looks and physique? Anyway, within a short time he had them eating out of his hand. Talented chap!!The movie's got loads of "natural" humour too with Innocent and Jagathy leading the way.However the one scene involving Kalabhavan mani was a bit over the top.The casting (no of characters) is huge but not cumbersome.

The songs are a class in itself. Raveendran conjures up soul stirring music, and this is the best I’ve heard in years coming from a mallu movie. All the songs without exception are great. Yesudas shows who’s the boss rendering “gopikey” and “sreelavasantham” with that consummate ease of his. Sreekumar renders a fast peppy number in “Manasil midhuna”. The duet by Jayachandran and Sujatha “Aarum” is the most popular song so far. For trivia buffs, Yesudas makes a screen appearance after 25 years. Watch out for Chitra’s “Kaarmukil Varnante”, my pick in the album.

Is this a perfect movie,then? Well to me, the last song by Chitra was great but the picturisation left something to be desired what with the entire family trooping in. You’ll know when you see the movie, he he... Apart from that I can’t think of anything major to squabble about. Nandanam is one movie you can take your grand mom along with, knowing you won’t live to regret it..

So is it going to be a hit? Well my personal pessimistic opinion is NO. Frankly, I feel, Nandanam is too good for the Mallu public now. Heck, if this movie was released in the 70s or 80s it would have been a tornado. But judging by the current tastes of the malayali, Nandanam will be lucky to get its money back. A big thank you for Siddique, the producer for making it possible to see this film at last.

Well all good things don’t come to an end folks…Latest I heard was that the Tamil and Telugu rights for remaking the movie has been sold even before the movie’s release in Malayalam! First time something like this happening in Malayalam film industry, I’m told. Anyway ppl, if you want something meaningful and different to watch ,give Nandanam a dekho…
As an introduction to any unwilling , unsuspecting soul who has manifested here , this page was created purely out of need.MY NEED.Living in India , there are still certain limitations to what you can say…Sure, you can say anything but you don’t get heard , yes even on the net.So here I'll pour all my venom and praise and will never have to beg anybody to see myself in print…hehe….

It all started with “The Hindu” , where I came upon an article in which a female(Smitha Sadanandan,if I remember correctly) was bitching about a thing, I thought, she had no right bitching about .Well I should have just written to the paper ,right? "The Hindu" might be the most liberal paper championing minorities and all that stuff, but they don’t tolerate their readers much.Even if you email them they have to have your full snail mail address and all that crap.And they NEVER print or even read articles strongly in opposition to what is in the paper.Yeah, a sort of condenscending know all attitude.The only minus point for the paper, but a sad one.They like to be politically correct and yep u can’t name names and slander even if what youre saying is just truth.Oh yes that’s another thing about my site here…Ahem....TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

Well that which “The Hindu” started , they had a solution for me today.They just told me about weblogs and the rest as they say is history….More on Smitha Sadanandan and her patrionising paper later..