Story of a lost journalist

February 28, 2015

Kingsman, FB Friend and Rain

Filed under: Diary,Movies/TV — Cris @ 23:43

Kingsman is not the kind of movie I would have wasted a Saturday afternoon for, if it weren’t for that picture of Colin Firth in Google. I really had no idea about the film, never a believer of watching trailers or keeping myself updated that way. (Perhaps it was a bad idea to put this in public about a feature writer, writing on films). But before giving myself a chance to back out and go sleep away my Saturday afternoon, I booked on bookmyshow and got myself a D-25 at New Theatre (that’s a seat no, yeah they do go up to 25 n all, imagine that). A little fella next to me asked me about the theatre and its show timing. And when the movie began we kept exchanging happy one-liners: “So, the Pulp Fiction guy is doing that.”
“But why is he doing that?”

Turned out he was doing that for population control after all. Twaing. Where have I heard that before? Tom Hanks’ face, the Dan Brown set up. Why, Inferno. That crazy man Zobrist something with his crazy plan. Same idea for him too, population control.

Oh but I enjoyed it, Kingsman I mean, classic action comedy. Not that I know anything about action comedies. But if this is what it is, it’s gotta be classic. The kid Eggsy – I loved him as soon as  I heard the name, so PG Wodehousish that. And Colin managed to be Colin. With his big umbrella and black suit and no-smiling face. Come to think of it, there’s a bit of MIB in here too, complete with no-smiling older guy recruiting younger guy into a secret service, nicknames, fancy weapons, and even amnesia inducing gadgets. If you think of MIB sequels, older guy owes younger guy’s dad too! Matthew Vaughn is the Priyadarshan of Hollywood then?

But Colin’s nothing like Tommy Lee Jones. Well, not exactly the most cheerful guy around. Dour, a friend said he is. I suppose I fancy dour then, if they come in the shape of Colin Firth. Or maybe it had to do with Bridget’s voice (Bridget from the Diary), talking about him so and so, once upon a time.

By interval my neighbor asked my Facebook id and here we are, friends. And when the movie ended and I left D-25, it was raining outside. Who would have thought now, with all that summer and all that bloody heat, you would see rain in Trivandrum on a nearly-March evening. I grabbed all of it that came my way, but unfortunately I had brought my bike and not walked like I planned. Even so, some Saturdays just magically turn out to be diary-ish material. A movie, a day with myself, a new acquaintance, and rain.

November 8, 2014

Interstellar in my life

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 15:42

I have been haunted by movies before, but not to this level. Where I take it to my life and feel nearly mad trying to find new meanings in harmless everyday thoughts and words. The Interstellar theme music is playing in my head, over and over again. I have got tears in my eyes and I have no idea why. Definitely not because I am feeling sad for the movie or about it. I hate spoilers but I will just talk about this one piece of furniture that’s really taking over my entire imagination now. A bookshelf. Between times. Between now and then.

Now everything is jumbled up. The dream I saw two nights ago about my best friend Ros telling me of a chemical compound and atomic weights – words and numbers I have never thought of after leaving school. The wish I made looking at the full moon sky last night to help me mess with time, trick it. Even the strange leak of the bathroom ceiling that drips a drop or two everyday, sometimes on my face, my way of seeing snow I used to think.

The little girl Murph in the film. We should not ignore that what little children say because we think they don’t know what they are talking about. Their minds are clearer, no learnings to mar it, and no prejudices from the learnings. They are more open, more receptive to a new message. Maybe we should go back to being that. Like how you were brave enough to pick yourself up and learn to walk in two legs, when you had no idea where that would lead you to. You felt it, and you did it. Now we don’t listen to our feelings, we think they are unimportant. “We didn’t invent love, it can be observed, it is powerful, it has to mean something,” she says, Brand says in the film. We don’t create it, we don’t manipulate it, no one has put it there, and yet it is there. How.

If, they are there to help us, the they that Nolan talks about, and they can’t communicate, what happens? They put strange dreams into your head, strange insights and thoughts, and feelings like love? And when the they are really us, it’s become what Brand said it is – the meaning.

Thank you Nolan, for putting me through this, whatever this is.

February 28, 2010

Oru cheru punchiri

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 23:17

I found my new favorite Malayalam movie. Oru cheru punchiri (One small smile). When Amma told me there is a movie like this, I was all eager to see it. Today Doordarsan played it without any warning so I missed the first half an hour. But what a beautiful movie. What beautiful dialogues. What beautiful characters. The title is just so apt – the movie moves like a beautiful smile. So so – ok I am going to use an adjective I don’t approve of cause of its over-use – sweet. It is simply sweet.

Line by line, scene by scene I just wanted to sit there and enjoy every bit of it. Just take in every minute. I am not exaggerating.

We have a lovely old couple. Oduvil Unnikrishnan is our hero and now he is my hero as well. What a man, what an actor. Why didn’t our directors explore his talent more? The lady is a new face to me but she did a great job.

I did my research and found my guess true. The man behind the movie is none other than M T Vasudevan Nair. He not only wrote the screenplay, he directed it as well. MT really should have directed more movies. What beauty. The man is a hmm, he is a hmmm, (thinking of adjectives that have not been used on him till date) hero! My hero! I will forgive him for not replying to my letters in the past.

I will not be able to do a good review if I try to go into the details of the movie. It has to be seen. People think I cant appreciate romance since I am anti-marriage. But this is the kind of love that I believe in – the one I saw in this movie. I thought it would exist only in minds that loved and didn’t get a chance to come together. I thought togetherness could actually destroy the meaning and depth of love. But if there really are people like this old couple, I might as well believe that love and togetherness can actually co-exist 🙂

November 3, 2009

Kerala Cafe – ahhh :-)

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 21:53

Wonderful wonderful movie
I loved Kerala Café. All 10 stories.

I will not attempt a review – I don’t think I could do justice to the movie by trying to write about it. But I will say I am feeling extremely sentimental right now. About my own life, about my old friends, about old relationships, about my school, my college, and a thousand other things I used to have but I have somehow grown so distant to now. Either through time, or through distance, or through emotions or through – nothing at all.

No the movie isn’t exactly a kind that tries to make you cry or emotionally break you down. All 10 stories are about people – no exaggeration, no drama, no superhero stuff – just people. It is a wonder how when some 2 n a half hour movies could make you feel so gross, this one has all its 10 stories each in one tenth the time, doing the job of story telling so beautifully. And we all thought good stories were having their own kind of recession all this while!

Anyway, I would tell those who can follow Malayalam, to do see it. I liked it. A lot.

December 2, 2008

Varanam Ayiram, hmm

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 10:29
Tags: , ,

Philip has already done a good job of Varanam Ayiram – story and review. When commenting I thought I will write my own version. Here is how it started. My auto rickshaw driver heard “Sreekandeshwaram” when I said “SL Theatres” – don’t ask me how, I guess its my brilliant accent – and directions were never my strong point – so we saw a lot of Trivandrum before reaching the Cinema. One more side-detail before reaching the main story – they took me to a seat right next to which was sitting an ex-colleague with helmet on lap and heading towards nap (hey that rhymes!) – such a small world – you have a howdy-mate wherever you go.

Now the movie. I was warned that it had a bit of The Wonder Years in it which was what actually took me to the movie. So I found a boy narrator talking about himself, about his Dad. Good. I like it when there is narration. Boy narrator grows up, he reaches high school, college and proceeds with life. Surya, I thought looked very much a young boy doing school days. Early life finished pretty fast. That was one thing about the movie. All the while so many things were happening you hardly had time to keep track.

The narration goes on and we see Sameera Reddy appearing. Now Philip may say she was an angel on earth but like I have commented there, I thought blech, a male faced female. So when Surya was saying “I knew that night what kathal (love) is… I knew what you felt when you saw Amma for the first time”, I thought “Sheesh”.

I actually liked the Surya-Sameera part of the story. It was, in one word nice. Surya’s exaggerated expressions actually seemed quite – alright I have to say it – cute (I have a particular aversion to that word). I will agree with Philip on one thing. The Priya part of the story failed to sink in. But then it somehow seemed the natural course to take – it felt real. Then there is Simran doing an older mature role. Not bad.

And then of course the main theme – the Dad part of the story. I was not quite happy there. From all that adoration, I was expecting a stronger Dad – I don’t mean a 6-pack abs or one that roars – but somehow the Dad lacked character, the Dad was not Dad enough. He seemed like a good old man who gave bits and pieces of advice to a younger man in the neighborhood – all the Dad-son reality, freedom, and naturalness was missing. It was like a good natured patient character was stitched up for the Dad who just talked like a good natured patient character. He could be anyone Surya knew, not Dad.

There are more aspects in the movie, which Philip says was the work of a confused director who wanted to have a bit of everything in his movie. I didn’t exactly feel it a hullabaloo of events, but yeah some of it was a little out of place and fitted in for the sake of fitting in. Like the director must have thought “Oh there is no Kashmir in the movie, let me add that now”.

About Surya, he acted well and boy he has a good face, I thought it’d be perfect for Jesus Christ’s role but I won’t try talking about his 6-pack abs (another personal aversion!). So hmm that’s it. I am not giving out the story. It was a nice 3 hours for me, and I didn’t think it a waste of time or money. It could have been better yeah, but then every one cant do wonder-years.

November 15, 2008

Ritwik Ghatak’s Ajantrik, 1958 movie

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 14:27
Tags: ,

I have just watched a 1958 Bengali movie called Ajantrik. With subtitles of course. They are showing 3 of Ritwik Ghatak’s movies at K C S Panicker Hall, Museum today. I had to be pushed by friends into going, Saturday mornings being the R-I-P in B-E-D time for me. I am absolutely thankful for all the pushing, though I should remember to set my phone to not accept any calls before 10.

About the movie, it’s a taxi driver’s story, where his first love has always been ‘Jagaddal’, his taxi. I was expecting a lot of absurd actions, unnecessary music, exaggerated emotions and expressions, pushed-in pathetic attempts of humor. I was a moron. Watching a few old movies should be no reason to form unjustified prejudices against all that happened before 1980s. Ajantrik was a classic. The audio was not that clear, and sometimes the visuals too were a little blurry – I am not pointing that out as a fault.

Whatever I say about old movies, many times I have been the victim of time-attack – which means I am arrested by the old times, where I had no place. It’s a strange feeling, the one that you get when you see small flowers and stones in the background and wonder what happened to those; when you look beyond the characters and see people and buildings far behind the action and wonder where their fate ended. From scene 1 of Ajantrik, I experienced all the above. It was obviously black and white. There is no fuss, no drama, we are taken straight to the town where lives our hero Bimal and his love, Jagaddal . The movie, if I heard right, starts with a weird laugh. It starts with humor. And wow, who said movie makers those days didn’t know how to make the audience laugh. Though the theme itself was a dear precious one, the film had its share of fun – both loud obvious ones, and silent subtle ones. I thought so many times, movies today that try to inject slapstick meaningless scenes in an attempt to be funny, had a lot to learn from its predecessors of the 50s.

Actions and expressions – knock on my head for being a prejudiced idiot – ok there may have been a lot of eye-bulging here and there, but that doesn’t stand out odd when the rest of the actions were done so neatly. The actors talked and behaved like how they would have, if you took a time machine and went back to the streets of Bengal of 50 years ago. You’d wonder how they did it so well, but then why not? Who said less advanced technology meant less advanced aesthetics? And oh the music, it just comes as part of the background, as part of the past times, though I’d say it was a tad too high at some points – and I believe background music should not stand out in movies, it should be just that- background.

And there was this one female character, she looked really pretty. I have heard that women those days didn’t really take to acting. But when this beautiful lady came on screen, I thought Ghatak must have done a lot of searching for that one! There was a small boy, who stays as that small boy in mind, when he should be the age of my father now. Another wonder of movies – how we sometimes find it incredible that child actors grow up!

The movie was great. It had emotions, it had a fresh little idea, it had a man, woman, child, it had a lot many things I have no idea how to describe. I am going to see a lot more 1950 movies, and next time I wont need a lot of pushing. Well maybe a bit.

A lot more about the movie could be found here.

October 1, 2008

Madhupal’s Thalappavu, brilliant Malayalam movie

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 14:30
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Thalappavu was beautiful. Not probably the right word. Mm touching? Heartrending? Maybe brilliant. Let me explain. Its about a story in 1970. A lot of stories. A lot of events, happenings. And its told in 2005. By an old man, Lal. Lal transfers with him, the scene, to the past, each time he finds a connection, cause after 1970 he hadn’t really lived, he just existed, running away from the realities he feared. And why? To hide, to escape.

Prithvi Raj comes in the past. And he was perfect for that role. I know he is not quite popular among the youngsters but I think he did a great job here. In fact he had fewer number of scenes, appearing only where Lal remembered him in the past, and the present. Lal, contrary to his usual tough-guy roles, plays the soft hearted policeman who had a normal life; memorable years of teenage, and then a wife and 2 kids who meant the world for him. But the events he was about to witness and experience was too much for the soft-heart he had. Prithvi Raj opens new lines of thoughts for him. Prithvi Raj offers him his hand when he falls down, just like he had to so many other people.

Lal was brilliant. Some of his old self reminded me of Thilakan’s role in Moonam Pakkam. The helplessness and weakness of old age… already a soft person, Lal calls out for a lot of mixed feelings including one of depression. He touches the audience with his niceness, with his helplessness and most of all with his tender affection for fellow beings.

I am not a Prithvi fan but I liked his scenes, it was just apt and brilliant the way he gave meaning to his gestures including a simple smile or glance.

Through Lal, Madhupal tells the story, through Prithvi he passes a strong message, through the events, he passes a sense of righteousness he hopes to evoke in the audience. He had done a neat job of interweaving the past with the present as remembered and seen by an aging old man. Only, I would have suggested to make all actors speak for themselves, especially when the cast involved the likes of Rohini who could have done marvelous with her absolutely natural dialogue-rendering. The girl who played ‘Sara’ was good, apart from the dubbing factor.

Atul Kulkarni was remarkable in his brief stint. Jagathy, Manianpillai Raju were all proof of the great choice of cast Madhupal made. I hope he continues in this new directorial role for a long time, not that there was anything he could be encouraged with. I went today frantically cause the movie was limited to one show per day, within a couple of weeks of release. It should probably stop running in a week. Sigh, that’s sad. That when horrendous movies like Annan Thampi or Verthe oru Bharya could run for so long, really deserving movies cant last a fortnight!

September 25, 2008

Subramaniyapuram, from self-appointed official Trivandrum reviewer, me

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 14:12

Been waiting forever to see this movie. Heard a lot about it and yesterday watching the song kankal irandal (which I had heard and forgotten about) decided, today shall be the day. Just back after watching it and in one word: disappointed.
So why did it get such a name, why did everyone keep telling this was a not-to-be-missed movie? Because it was realistic, I told my Mom.

I went in a bit late so missed the beginning. The story was set in 1980, I realized a little later. I am not sure what TN looked and behaved like in 1980, but I think they have done a pretty decent job there. The song was the only thing I knew about the movie so I anticipated it to be a romantic-realistic movie, maybe something like Kadhal. Yes romance played a huge role. But there was also politics, there was also friendship and what came with friendship – hard-core bonding, treachery.

All the men, well most of them sported long beards – maybe that was the in thing in 80s. Few scenes that touched me, cant tell them all cause it’d spoil the climax of the movie – but one of them was when Mr Hero tells Mr Hero’s Mother “Amma paathu po ma” (Mother, watch yourself).

When a movie is realistic, you have got to expect a lot of really boring stuff that came with it – to capture the essence. So there were long minutes of festivals and whatever came with it, there were times when if someone was running they’d show it all the way from start to end and there was whatever goriness that came with the whole reality stuff.

It also gives out a scary message: once you start on a wrong trail, you won’t feel like coming back, you will somehow keep going. No, no, no that wont do. You feel like stopping them to tell them, enough you have already done bad, now stop and turn back please. Alright maybe that’s not what you feel like doing, you might want to turn yourself away from the Cinema and take an auto home! But for some reason, I waited till the end to do that. I was waiting hopefully for a deeper meaning, for something more to suddenly appear on the screen. Yeah, yeah get a grip girl it’s a movie!

I wouldn’t say it was bad as in yuck, but I wouldn’t ask someone to go watch it. Unless they were one of those utter realistic kinda people. Its a simple story of a few simple people, and how the simple happy days change to complicated suffering ones. One word about the Heroine. Amusing. Her smile is. Anwyay here, Ze official site

September 11, 2008

M G Sasi’s Adayalangal, great movie.

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 02:26
Tags: ,

I saw a Malayalam movie called Adayalangal today. To be honest, I never heard of this movie (yes I missed to take note of the State Awards) and when Amma suggested it, my immediate reaction was “Oh no, not another Akasha Gopuram”. Akasha Gopuram too, I saw and from my reaction, obviously it was horrendous. Agreed it’s a drama adaptation. But that didn’t necessarily mean the Cinema was to be used as a theatre, everything complete with screen in place of stage. The dialogue rendering pattern was for some reason following melodramatic rules of emotionless, mechanical or overly-emoted lengthy pieces and seemed to strip the connection between the audience and the screen. Maybe K P Kumaran wanted the audience to come, relax and do their taxes in peace, cause he certainly didn’t seem to want them to think of the movie.

Alright, back to M G Sasi’s Adayalangal (before I get kicked out by AG supporters). Really enjoyed it. Whew now I wouldn’t be cast off as someone who shut her doors when it came to “those Art movies”. In 2 hours, the piece didn’t bore me for one minute, touched me and successfully held that little piece of thread between mine eyes and theirs. Theirs are of new actor playing the central character of Gopi, of Gopi’s mother and little siblings who were all having a tough time out there, in the mid 40s –war time. Threads of connection also went to the entire village; a drummer man, Gopi’s mentor, his old uncle all of whom appeared on the screen for a matter of minutes and managed to take mine attention and empathy.

The negative characters didn’t break the connection, in that they did their job of taking all my ill feelings with them. Gopi’s brother, his aunt, Sree Raman all fit perfectly into the unsympathetic roles they were given suits for. Lovely cast. It came as a surprise that Jyothirmayi could act so well – in that she used no dubbing artist to speak her lines, dipped in absolute North slang. That was talent. Even Meera Jasmine, winning national award for her role in Paadam Onnu Oru Vilapam could not do justice to the Calicut accent, when the rest of the crew spoke at ease. Not that Jyothirmayi was at any time my favorite, but I am open to accept talent and she had it.

Old time Kerala, value of one rupee, pains of poverty, helplessness all portrayed without any gaudiness, as simple and as easy as it can be. I got out and someone asked me how it was. Seeing that I was one of the 10 who got out, he was placed at the entrance, ready to dash off. I said wonderful movie. And it was. Hope the tens turn out to be hundreds.

Disclaimer: Those taking my advice and watching the movie should do it at their own risk. No money shall be offered for the tickets and no bones shall be lent for breaking.

May 20, 2008

The Wonder Years

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 14:31

It is only morning yet (well it was when I started). I just wanted to write about a TV sitcom. The Wonder Years. Many people have watched it growing up. My brother did. I saw glimpses here and there back then. And now I have started watching it. And though my growing up phase is pretty much done with, I can still connect to the series so well.


For never-seen-a-single-episode readers, I should probably say that The Wonder Years is a sitcom of late 80’s, early 90’s, set in 70’s showing the life of a teenage kid and his friends and family. A narrator, an older version of the boy, narrates every episode in the background.

Ok time for outcries. I love it! It is the best series in the whole world. I used to give that place to Full House till a few days back. Ok I am a sitcom addict.

Now more about ‘The Wonder Years’, that’s what I came to talk about. If someone asked me what was the best way to do a sitcom I could point to The Wonder Years. But if someone asked me what made it the best I would very likely make a bad speech. Nevertheless, giving it a shot. When I start an episode and all through the middle, I’d be smiling and laughing and thinking oh-yeah. But in the end, the last line or 2 the narrator narrates, well, its always touchy – not the mushy kind we see around for attracting teary ladies, but more of the real connectable you-know-it teenage touchyness. Alright I am making a bad speech.

Quoting a couple of those last liners just to get my meaning clearer (this is what I remember, the exact words could be slightly different).

1. In an episode about his best friend, the narrator ends it with “Sometimes to grow together, you have to grow apart”

2. In an episode about his all-time since-childhood-known girl friend who just broke up with him, “I don’t know where we were going or what was going to happen to us, but I knew I was never going to let her out of my life”

So the whys. If you ask me if it’s the narration, I should say yes. But if you ask me if it’s just something that made me think of school days, I might still say yes. Well let’s just say one line about it. Its one thing I don’t mind waking up at 6 AM for and considering my waking up standards, that is saying a lot. Its one thing I would miss my morning coffee for, and that is saying a lot more. Ok that’s 2 lines now.


(click for larger image)

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