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Take Off Movie Review: Parvathy brilliant; Kunchacko Boban is master of subtlety and Fahaad Faasil excels

Inspired by real events pertaining to the terrifying ordeal of Malayali nurses who were captured by the ISIS and brought safely back to India by a rescue operation of the Indian government, this movie Take Off is Mahesh Narayanan's directorial debut - the movie is intelligently crafted and showcases the spirit of sacrifice and dedication of Malayali nurses despite the tough conditions of life they are forced to live with.

Right from the beginning, the narrative throws you into the difficult life and struggles of a Muslim working mother called Sameera, whose life catapults between her work and her longing for her son Ibru ( the little boy is adorable with his big, melting eyes and the sweetest, most lovable smile) and in between, you see her pop sleeping tablets to sleep - such is the stress in her life. You also get to see snippets of her strong personality flare up when conservatism and bias become too much for her to ''adjust'' with.

For instance, when Sameera (sta…
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C/O Sairabanu Movie Review: Manju Warrier is a treat to watch, Amala Akkineni commands respect, Shane Nigam a powerhouse of talent

Manju Warrier's movies click not just at the box office but in almost every Malayali's heart.She brings an element of ''something special" in every movie she does. Another reason is trust. You can trust her films to be clean family entertainers - which is also the case with her latest film, C/o Saira Banu.
In a recent TV talk show with Rimi Tomy, Manju Warrier was asked why she wears very simple clothes for award functions and TV shows. Her reply was, "The truth is that I look good only in simple clothes."  This authenticity is what makes Manju Warrier stand out as bold and beautiful.
                                                      [Image: C/o Saira Banu Facebook page ]
In Malayalam cinema too, no other actress has been able to pull off complex woman protagonists with the effortless poise and simplicity that Manju Warrier has. She is the woman who lives next door, the one we can all connect to and sometimes she reminds us of ourselves - the struggles,…

Mahashivaratri: I'm loving it!

When I was a child, Mahashivaratri bhajans used to be conducted at home. It meant 24X7 work for my parents, especially my mother. But this is the one festival that we loved to get ready for. 
You had to prepare in advance for hosting so many people overnight. They had to be comfortable yet alert because no one who stays can be allowed to fall asleep unless they are unwell or on medication. So, if there were aunties who wanted to take a ten-minute nap, I would time it and call them exactly in ten minutes!
The joy of watching grown-ups make a fool of themselves over getting few more minutes of sleep cannot be underestimated especially when you are ten or twelve years old!
Perhaps it is those beautiful growing up years that make it difficult for me to stay away from an all-night vigil during Mahashivaratri. I can't stay away from it no matter where I am, even if the following day is a working day. This year too, I attended the Mahashivaratri bhajans at the Sai Center, Lodhi Road, and I …

What's the one delicious desi sweet that you miss?

I grew up outside India for many years - which also meant that while I got to eat exciting types of food (nope, sorry to disappoint you, not grasshoppers - I don't think I would be okay with it!), like crispy chicken in the basket or grilled Chambe fish, I missed out on some desi food options. My parents say that I was such a reluctant child when it came to eating food that I used to take two to three hours to finish a single meal, morsel by morsel! Not anymore....hahaha!

Tea-time snacks at home used to include a variety such as dhoklas, parippu vadas, unniappams, murukkus and cakes. Yes, that was my mom's happiest ''cooking days" sort of phase. She would whip up a new dish everyday and it would turn out so yummy that we would want more of it. Looking back, I can't help admiring my mother because I simply don't have that kind of consistency or energy to even try this on a daily basis. She did this for years while we were growing up outside India, which also…

Surpanakha was never wronged by Lord Ram and Lakshman; still, we blame them!

You know I love readings books and if it relates to mythology, you've got me glued to every page! It is never easy to recreate the character and the inner world of already known characters - the challenges are many and quite tricky for a writer. 
In the mythology genre, Kavita Kane is my favorite writer.  Her booksKarna's Wife and Menaka's Choice had me spell bound!. Kavita Kane brought every character to life and I simply loved both these books. [My post in Writers Melon: Why are Kavita Kane's mythological narratives so compelling to read?]
                                      [Source: Kavita Kane's Facebook page]
If you have read the Ramayana, you already know a little about the story of Surpanakha - the ''wronged'' sister of Ravana. In this novel, the author gives readers a glimpse of the inner world of Surpanakha - her childhood, her relationships with her parents and siblings, particularly Ravana. 

Surpanakha's nature is vulnerable and strong …

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips

Time flies faster than we can imagine.  A little girl who is the ''music" of our home is now celebrating her birthday, continents apart. Her birthday is on January 6th and it brought back many sweet childhood memories. She is away from home but never far from our thoughts or my heart. 
Geethu and I, as sisters, grew up together and as most of those who know us already will know, we are absolute opposites but we complement each other in a beautiful way. But let me confess, growing up with a super intelligent kid who could breathe, think and talk science and maths like a pro was a traumatic experience for the older sibling - namely, me. It didn't help that she was also one of the best in all types of sports and we had no space to keep all the certificates and prizes she won for her school in different sports categories. Well, I spared my parents the trauma of having to store my certificates or trophies of glory by not having any...lol! 

What I think is most amazing is how…

2016: The Year That Taught Me That Anything is Possible and Nothing is Impossible

Loving Happy New Year wishes to all of you and I say this with all my heart. If I don't feel it from my heart, I can never sit down and write these words to you. 2016 has been a roller coaster year for me - I am sure it may have been the same for you and your loved ones too. 

Life will keep unfolding, the best thing we can do is to keep evolving and making new choices that bring us more peace and clarity about being in the "present." I don't know if this sounds like mumbo-jumbo nonsense - yikes, I hope not.
As a working mom, the toughest challenge that I faced this year has been to be fully focused on my son. As my son is growing older, he has far too much to tackle in his studies. What I strive for is to have open discussions about any topic that he has questions about even if it means answering questions that are not easy to find a balanced response to but we discuss everything openly. 
I am not a control freak mom and I don't aspire to be one. I want to watch my…