Thursday, November 26, 2015

Anarkali Malayalam Movie Review: Prithviraj at his best, Biju Menon & Suresh Krishna bring on brilliant performances

Directed by Sachy, Anarkali  is a beautiful love story. 

Not saying this because of the Prithvi-Priyal deep kiss. Nope. 

While the duo were smooching away on screen of course (no decent flowers coming to cover the screen - where have the blasted flowers vanished to, they always popped up on time when I was a kid!!!) I was too busy covering my curious 9 year old son's eyes! 

Anarkali Story
Coming back to the movie, I watched it because it is a classic love story about a young man from the Navy who falls in love with the daughter of his senior officer and he pays the price for one dangerous kiss with his life. His search for the girl he loves forms the crux of this love story. 



His final attempt leads him to the beautiful island of Lakshadweep, where he works as a diving instructor. The island is known for being a place of goodness and simple living - where there are actually no crimes and therefore, the prison is closed! People are conservative but they live in harmony and they have an openness to outsiders that is full of warmth and curiosity.

The fascinating culture of the people of these islands that are brought to life through Sujith Vasudev's stunning visuals. 

Anarkali Cast

Anarkali would not have be a classic without some excellent performances such as that of Biju Menon as Commodore Zacharia, Suresh Krishna and Miya as Dr Sherin Matthew. We have Kabir Bedi in an important role as Jaffir Imam. 

If I had to choose a favorite from these three highly talented actors, I would say it is Suresh Krishna. Suresh Krishna portrays a man who is from the island - his dialogues, his diction and his body language has been brilliant, honed to perfection to suit the character he is portraying and his attention to the minutest details has been consistent throughout the movie.

Despite his on-screen charisma and amazing voice, I did not find Kabir Bedi to be particularly impressive in his role. 

Sudev Nair deserves a special mention for his role. He has beautiful eyes, the intense look of a budding hero and acting ability to clinch more roles in Malayalam cinema.


This movie also has director Shyama Prasad acting in a small but significant role. His charismatic presence lends charm to the film's qawwali song. As if all this isn't enough icing on this layered cake, we have the 'Fair & Lovely' ad girl Priyal Gor. 

In every scene, Priyal Gor looked ethereal as 'Anarkali.' She seemed to spring to life in the qawwali song. I knew instantly that paired with Prithviraj, she would bring to life an amazing performance, which she definitely did right till the end. A stunning actress with great spunk and depth in performance, I must say. 



What is most breathtaking about Anarkali is its cinematography by Sujith Vassudev and music by Vidyasagar. 

The stunning visuals bring to life the culture and splendour of Lakshwadweep. From the lighthouse, you can see the beautiful waters lay stretching out, spanning the entire horizon against the startling blue skyline. And it's not just the islands that Sujith Vaassudev has brought to life - the Naval Base, at Wellingdon Island in Kochi as well. 

Anarkali is a story of love, longing and passion - it conveys that true love will survive the odds no matter what the distance is. At certain times, the pacing of the movie seemed to go too slow but when it is a love story, every moment has a bitter sweet longing to it. 

Here's a movie that you have simply got to watch on the big screen. It's beautiful. It's deep madness. It's love. 

If you enjoyed reading this Malayalam movie review,do check out these too:


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Oh, the joy of eating pazhamporis, only a Malayali can tell you

Can I share a secret with you? Something I never told you before?
Don't laugh! I see a smile on your face but that's okay as long as you aren't laughing at me yet.

The thing is I crave to munch on piping hot pazhamporis! 

Okay, blame it on the Malayali genes that are so used to munching on banana fritters while it rains, or when it is a sunny day or a scorching one. We don't care about the weather. 

We simply love biting into the juiciness of home-made pazhamporis, exactly the way our mothers make it at home.

I crave for a world where I don’t have to feel apologetic about eating pazhamporis.


Maybe I am not the only person who fears to talk about eating food openly, for the pure enjoyment of it. That doesn't always have to be equated with calories and nutrients. 

So, what's your favourite food that you love to eat? Tell me about it!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review: Vikas Singh's Bhima is full of passion, action and humour

Over the years, like many Indians, I too have read several books in English and Malayalam that reinterpret the Mahabharatha from a specific point of view, such as that of Draupadi. I was a teenager when I read Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair’s classic ‘Randamoozham’ (Second Chance) which positions Bhima as the protagonist. It was mind-blowing brilliant and I was haunted by Bhima for years.

Vikas Singh in his recently released novel, Bhima, states that he was inspired by MT’s ‘Randamoozham’ but felt that he had another ‘Bhima’ in his perspective.

This is my book review for the #FestiveReading series that has been unveiled by Writersmelon. Visit here http://www.writersmelon.com and you can also follow them on Twitter @Writersmelon.

So, what makes Vikas Singh’s ‘Bhima’ different?
For one, Vikas Singh’s ‘Bhima’ is full of passion, action and humour. The first chapter catapults you into the fiery passionate love making between Bhima and Draupadi, after he ties her hair with Dusshasana’s blood.



Sex sells – be it in books, movies, art, etc. But while reconstructing mythology-based classics, an overdose of sex is a dampener. A classic needs to be experienced as a classic – especially when it is reinterpreted.
                                                                       
Let’s move to the blurb may give you a further hint of what to expect:

I am the mightiest warrior of my time. I have violated my dharma and murdered a man in cold blood. I have, single-handedly, wiped out a whole generation of my kinsmen. I have committed acts of unspeakable brutality on the battlefield. I have done it all for the love of one woman.

I am Bhima, the second Pandava.

Vikas Singh’s ‘Bhima’ explores the curious, passionate, courageous and sensitive side of the great warrior. He is the only Pandava who sees through Yudhishtira’s intentions behind every action and raises logical questions to Krishna about every important event.

None of the other narratives on the Mahabharatha offer such glimpses of Bhima with this unique intensity – as a curious son, a selfless brother, a passionate and caring husband and a most protective father and uncle.

Then why did Bhima keep quiet when his mother Kunti said to Arjuna that all the brothers had to share the “prize”?

His thoughts go like this:

Yudhishtira says that “Mother’s words are like a command of the gods...”

A part of my brain was pointing out to me that if all five of us indeed married Draupadi, then as the eldest brother, Yudhishtira would be the first to consummate the marriage with Draupadi.
                                                                      
“What would have I done if I were in his place...maybe I would have just taken Draupadi’s hand and walked away from there forever...”

The technique of evoking humour will delight readers, especially with the consummation sequence, where the author tactfully uses Bhima’s witty nature to reconstruct the scenes.

We know that Arjuna has almost always been the unspoken hero in the Mahabharatha but he is side-stepped in this narrative. Throughout the narrative, Bhima’s honesty and integrity as a warrior is brought to life. You will feel for Bhima like never before.

Bhima’s love for Draupadi and his part-love, part-jealousy of Arjuna is explored across every sequence of his life. But as a reader, I would also liked to have seen an interplay of magical facets and a playful narrative in this book, instead of the straight-forward retelling of Bhima's version of the events that led to the Mahabharatha.

Mother was always a formidable woman but Arjun could cuddle and kiss and tease her in a way that none of us dared to, least of all me. Since I was completely hopeless at displaying affection through words or gestures, I tried to do so through actions. I would tirelessly run errands for mother, or do things that I think would make her happy. This pattern, set in early childhood, would become a recurring theme later in all my relationships with the women I cared about. Sometimes they noticed. Mostly, they took it for granted. Still, I was grateful for any scraps of attention that came my way.”

‘Bhima’ by Vikas Singh is a deeply moving account that provides the definitive answer to the question: What was it like to be Bhima?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Happy Diwali

When I first came to Delhi, I struggled to understand why people celebrate Diwali with the joyous fervor they do. Coming from Kochi, the significance of Diwali, in comparison, has been minimal. 

The only time we in Kochi used to realize that it is Diwali is when popular sweetshops, particularly Bimbis located at MG Road, began to sell the 'North Indian mithai' items. 

We would see a crowd in front of it. All of us would use the pretext of Diwali to persuade the elders to buy the 'North Indian mithai' and the glossy packets, with its delectable scent, would linger on days after Diwali.



That, dear friend, is the closest that I came to understanding Diwali.

Now that I am settled and living outside Kochi, I see the happiness and the amazing positive energy that makes Diwali something more than a festival. 

I can see how it brings families together, colleagues together, friends and so on. People dress in their brightest and best clothes, vibrant colours are splashed all around and they share beautiful moments, sweets and traditions (optional of course).

For me, Diwali is about watching my son enjoy to the fullest. When he was a baby, I would light the diyas in front of our house. I would dress him in a new colorful kurtha and delight in his baby steps and the way his face would light up with smiles when he looked at the diyas and the lights all around our building.

Now my baby is 9 years old (how time flies - don't ask me about it!) and we go diya shopping together. You can't imagine the amazing fun we have, selecting diyas, carrying them home and then waiting for the D-day so that we can start lighting those diyas. Adi loves to paint the diyas and he takes a lot of effort to combine the colors and dry them so that they are ready at least a day before.

It's what makes Diwali a time of great joy and happiness for families. 

May there be abundance, love, joy and prosperity in your life. 

With all the love in my heart, I wish a very Happy Diwali to each and every one. 


Friday, November 6, 2015

Malayalam Movie Review: Rani Padmini asks serious questions but fails to deliver a meaningful impact

I like movies that show strong women. 

I had great expectations from Aashiq Abu's latest Malayalam movie - Rani Padmini. 

The two heroines Manju Warrier and Rima Kallingal demonstrate commendable chemistry despite a poorly paced script and badly written screenplay. 

While Jinu Joseph is impressive as the racer, there is no chemistry with Manju Warrier. The vibes are sangfroid between the two actors. 

The first half of the movie puts you on edge. You keep waiting for a spectacular story but the second half is where the story "begins."  The pace of the film is inconsistent. The 'Ant" story and also the 'paragliding' scenes were stretched to too slow. Then suddenly, the narrative becomes too pacy.

Malayalam Movie Review: Rani Padmini Story
The story goes like this: Padmini (starring Manju Warrier) is a Malayali girl married to a Delhi based racing car driver, whose name is Giri (starring Jinu Joseph). The couple love each other but Padmini is like a caged bird under the watchful eye of a dominating mother-in-law, who makes it clear that "This marriage is more for me than my son so that I have some company."

The movie begins with Padmini about to run away from her home and she begins her dialogue, saying, "My husband has left me to go to the Himalayas." 


                                       [Image: Mollywood Times]

Matters reach a boiling point when her mother-in-law asks her to sign a mutual divorce petition. Her husband has not said a word to her but he signs the petition and leaves to participate in the Himalayan race. 

I love that scene where Padmini calls from Delhi and tells her jealous best friend that her husband signed the divorce papers. Her best friend's reply is catty and funny, "Don't worry. There is divorce happening everywhere. Divorce is trending. It's cool!"

A determined Padmini runs away from her marital home, carrying a bag that also has her gold jewelery that she received from her parents at the time of her marriage. Her journey is to the venue of the Himalayan Car Rally, where her husband is one of the most anticipated participants. 

In the bus, she goes through the typical experience that most Malayali women have experienced at least once in a life time. That's right, a creepy guy pinches her while she falls asleep. Not once but thrice! 

That's when Rani (starring Rima Kallingal) makes her entry - a fiery tomboy like woman sitting next to Padmini. Rani gives that man "the experience" of a lifetime! I can't tell you how much I cheered for Rani at that moment. 

Amidst some poorly delivered dialogues and stale jokes, Padmini and Rani begin to care for each other and fall into an easy comfort zone that usually happens with women who spend time together.  They evoke the curiosity of others. Once when asked, Rani says, "We are lesbians and this is our honeymoon." The dialogue delivery by Rima Kallingal had humor and a spark of cheeky boldness.

We also have a "Don and Gang" who start off as a terror in Rani's life and follow her all the way up the Himalayas.

Malayalam Movie Review: Rani Padmini raises serious questions, answers none

There is a poignant scene where Rani tells Padmini's husband, "You don't deserve her." Symbolic words?

Director Aashiq Abu also raises questions such as:

1. Why are marriages arranged the way they are in conservative Kerala?
2. What is the role of a wife? To sleep, to obey and serve till she dies? 
3. Why do husbands not make an attempt to understand their wives?
4. What holds a woman back from exploring a world beyond her husband?

Aashisq Abu leaves us wondering why these questions were raised and for whom because there are no answers in the movie. The good, responsible wife goes back home to have a baby with the same man who had easily signed the divorce papers.


Aashiq Abu's 'Rani Padmini' is a movie to simply sit back and enjoy in the theaters. A 'good wife' has to pursue her husband to bring him back home even if it is from the Himalayas, then they have a baby, end of story.

Don't think too hard about a wife having to pursue her husband who abandons her without giving any reasons.  

After all, real life doesn't always give you answers. It's up to you to find them. 

Followers

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

India is my Country & my Pride