Tag-Archive for » Malayalam «

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 | Author:

The 57th National Film awards were announced last night and Bollywood’s got reasons to cheer about.  Amitabh Bacchan’s stands tall & surpassed his fellow mates by winning his third national award on his stupendous performance on Ad film maker R Balki’s ‘Paa”.

In this National award, Big pictures backed projects have received 14 trophies. The clear winner appeared to be Malayalam film “Kutty Srank: The Sailor of Hearts”- a story of a lonely and short tempered, boatman from Kochi – won five awards including best screenplay (original) and cinematography for P.F. Mathews-Harikrishna and Anjuli Shukla respectively.

Mamoothy in Kutty Srank
Mamoothy in Kutty Srank

Cutting it all short, go through the list below

Best Actor – Amitabh Bacchan – Paa – Hindi

Best Actress – Ananya Chatterjee  Abohoman, Bangla

Best Direction- Ritoparno Ghosh  Abohoman

Best Film Award – Kutty Srank– Malayalam

Best Hindi Film – Paa

Amit Trivedi won Best Music for DevD
Amit Trivedi won Best Music for DevD

Best Music award – DevD Amit Trivedi

Best Editing – Arghyakamal Mitra Abohoman

Best Make Up – Paa – Christein Tinsley and Dominie Till

Best Supporting Actress – Arundhati Nag – Paa

Best Film providing wholesome entertainment –  3 Idiots

Best Cinematography – Kutty Srank

Best Costume – Kutty Srank

Best Screenplay – Kutty Srank

Best Film by a Debutante – Lahore

Best Background Score – Ilayaraja  for Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja

Best Supporting Actor award Farooque Shaikh Lahore

Best Lyricist Swanand Kirkire ‘Behti hawa sa thha woh’ from 3 Idiots

Best Playback Singer male – Rupam Islam for Kolkata in the Bengali film Mahanagar

Best Playback Singer female – Nilanjana Sarkar for Bengali movie ‘Houseful’

Special jury recognition award – Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey, Malayalam film Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, Kutty Srankenjoyed – Malayalam

Malayalam film, Pazhassi Raja , Mammooty starrer Kutty Srank.

Best Film on social issues – Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba

Boman Irani in Benegal's Well Done Abba
Boman Irani in Benegal’s Well done Abba

Best Film on national integration – Delhi 6

Best children’s film award – Putaani Party Kannada and Keshu  in Malayalam

Best child actor award – Jeeva and Anba Karaus

Best film award – non-feature category – The Postman and Bilal

Established in 1954, the National awards are widely appreciated and certainly the most prominent film award administrated by the Indian government’s Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973.

A national panel is appointed by the government where the awards are given away by the president of India, in New Delhi.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 | Author:

As soulful Malayalam songs play on in the background, I’m inspired to write this piece. As a matter of fact, I’ve always been intrigued by the power of music to transform people, however transiently, to calm, soothe and uplift them; whenever, wherever. Great music can transport people into imaginary lands, evoke nostalgia, throw open floodgates of memory, and as the great musician Tansen would have done, lighted fires, brought the rain and cured diseases…

So, what makes the sound of music so magical? Why is great music inspiring every time you listen to them, no matter how often you do? Why does great music always grow on you, rather than you growing tired of it? Well, as I still am clueless about the answers, I thank the Almighty for the great gift of music and His blessed musicians. (Wish writings too had the instant connect and mass reach that music enjoys!).

Speaking of musicians, my long-time favorites are maestros A.R. Rahman, Illayaraja (of “Pa” fame) and the late Malayalam composer Ravindran. For me, their soul’s divinity is reflected in their music, which is an unmistakable connection with God. So, if someone were to ask me what divinity and complete bliss are, I’d, without a grain of doubt, answer: it is in the music that moves, in their golden renderings, in soulful poetry, in nature’s magnanimity and, eventually, in mothers’ care. So, as a parting note and a tribute, I pray to the Almighty to endow His gifted children with more talent, passion, love and humility, which fuel their sublime creativity and enable them to touch lives for ages to come.

Wednesday, February 04th, 2009 | Author:

The smells of food always enticed me. You know how you can smell spices being fried in ghee, their soft, hissing sounds in the non-stick pan. It just lets you soak up the mingling smells, letting you know that its time to tip in the onions. When you have sugar bubbling ever so gently in a pan, just watch it turn into the color of caramel and the scent of slightly burnt sugar seeps into your senses. That’s when you know its time to do something fast so that you don’t bake the pan itself in burnt sugar. Well, I thought, why not share my thoughts about food? I mean, let’s face it, we all love good food and dining.

Malayalis and Food
Like most Indians, the Malayalis (people from Kerala, not Maldives!) are known for their love for food, especially non-vegetarian food. Just the thought of fried fish and chicken fry can send Malayalis into rapture. I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that in nearly every Malayali’s home, food is the most talked about topic, next to politics and religion. The usual greeting when you step into a Malayali home begins with what food can be served to the guest right away. Even the success of marriage celebrations in Kerala is assessed on the quality of the three course traditional feast or sadhya. Of course, if the food wasn’t tasty enough, the brickbats fall on the girl’s family for years to come. You see, how marriage-life-threatening food can be in Kerala?

But these days, Malayalis are obsessed about eating mainly North Indian dishes whenever they visit any restaurant or hotel in Kerala. Paneer dishes, tandoori food  and Chinese dishes are a huge craze in every part of Kerala. Any restaurant worth its name has to have at least one Paneer dish and a Chinese dish in its menu. Pizzas, burghers and noodles are not very popular in families and tend to be dumped by the majority as ‘junk food.’

So, you see, that’s why I decided to go ahead and talk on and on about food. After all, it’s one of those essential things about life that we can talk about even with our enemies!

Skimmer’ Woes
Hey, when it comes to food, I am a skimmer which means I look at a meal and decide what is delectable and what is gross. Cantonese Chinese Fried Rice, for example, needs to really look light and fluffy or else it will taste like rubber. But culinary experts know the trick. They scramble the eggs first before cooking the rice itself. Then they go ahead with the usual stir fry.”

I know what you are thinking. What does it matter, really, if the eggs are scrambled last for fried rice? It’s just Chinese fried rice, just like chow mein, yes, I know what you are trying to say but the beauty of cooking is that you can’t simply toss in all the leftover veggies and scraps to create something truly delectable, can you?

That reminds me. I had a friend called Hiran, whose lunchbox was the envy of an entire organization. Even when she fasted, her lunchbox would be so artistically packed with cut fruits arranged in layers. She just had to open her lunch box and everyone is begging to taste the delicious food her mom makes.

Over wait
If you have visited  United Coffee House, (Connaught Place, Delhi), you would understand what waiting means. I’ve gone there with friends and waited like ages, because the table was not ready and the queues outside the restaurant make me feel like a refugee than a guest.

Seriously, I am not a hotel managing wizard but couldn’t waiting guests be provided seating arrangement in a waiting area inside the restaurant? It lets guests like me spend time by reading the menu, learning new spellings of new dishes, things like that, you know what I mean.

That reminds me of the service at The Chinese (Connaught Place, Delhi) where within moments of arrival, an elegant Chinese hostess steps in to make sure that guests who have to wait have a tiny area right near her desk to remain seated. The seating overlooks the outdoors which makes it relaxing too.

Once customers are shown inside, the hostess comes over to make sure they are comfortably seated, served with water and have the menus and cutlery ready. This probably takes about five minutes of engaging the customer and creating a wonderfully cared-for experience. That’s what a good manager does. Then, guests are treated to a miniscule teaspoon ‘ice cream dot’ treat. The thing is the dot is tinier than a mole but the visual experience and rich feel spells oomph, especially when served by a very pretty looking Chinese belle dressed in a silk kimono. What a way to wait! But you know, the Chinese and Japanese always come up with great ideas when it comes to optimizing management related processes.

Take the example of the famous Japanese restaurant Nobu which has branches in New York, Dallas and Miami Beach. No matter how many guests are waiting, the Nobu staff are famous for transforming the waiting phase into a relaxing experience. They manage the waiting period effectively by keeping guest engaged in other services. In hospitality sector, it’s even termed as the ‘Nobu experience.’

In contrast, the popular South Indian chain of restaurants, Saravana Bhavan (Connaught Place, Delhi) hurries you not only by forcing you to race through the maze of tables and grab your seat but you are forced to practice your karate skills and knock off the rival racing guest to grab your seat.

It’s the same in Andhra Bhavan’s canteen. Maybe this is with the view to improve guests’ fitness and stamina, but I find that my appetite disappears. Orders are taken in such a lightning rush that you can’t even ask a query about a dish without being given looks. You should try your karate and racing skills there, believe me, I’ve nearly done it! Once when we hated our firangi boss, we took him to Andhra Bhavan for farewell lunch and ordered the Hyderabadi chicken fry and while the rest of us were licking it off our plates, the poor Australian guy was having tears coming out of his eyes. He had never eaten anything so spicy in his life! Before you think I was mean, please remember it was ‘team work’, no pun intended.

How can you eat when you feel so rushed?

There’s a fine balance that needs to be drawn in the context of serving fine food and managing table flow dynamics because we don’t merely visit restaurants to eat. We visit these places to unwind, talk, soak in the ambience, feel pampered and relieved from external pressures. It’s so many things rolled into one, you know.

At  Saravana Bhavan, there are countless occasions when couples can’t even linger over their ‘filter coffee’ because the bill is literally slammed noisily onto their table. Again, a serious sign of bad food service.

Leftovers
There’s always a debate as to whether it’s classy to bring back leftovers from a hotel. Different people feel differently about it. What would you do if you went to a restaurant, ordered food that you thought you could finish but end up eating just half of it?

Well, let me confess that I bring it back home to eat. After all, if it is tasty and I paid for it, why shouldn’t I do that? Why should i waste the food? Of course, in places like KFC, I can finish the whole thing in minutes because as their ad says, ‘its finger-lickin’ good.’ In places like Saravana Bhavan, I have many friends who get the coconut chutney and sambar packed additionally because they find it so tasty and irresistible.

Well, every one has experienced a sweet and sour memory or feeling about food. Some food brings happy memories, others make you nostalgic. It’s not just about eating tasty food but about experience yourself, the others around you and building new bonds through food. Sometimes you find yourself able to talk peacefully with people you don’t know over food, at other times, you just feel peaceful eating by yourself and watching others do the same.

Let me finally end my thoughts on food with the wise words of La Rochefoucauld (don’t ask me who he is but his name sounds intelligent though I can assure you I don’t have a clue!), “To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art.”

Tuesday, February 03rd, 2009 | Author:

Director Rosshan Andrrews represents Kerala’s new generation of film directors who have vision, passion and commitment but not necessarily a good understanding for story or screenplay excellence.

Four decades ago, the Malayalam film industry had been the envy of nearly every Indian film maker. It boasted of veteran directors who ruled cinema because of their excellent screenplay techniques and the ability to tell stories that were different yet rooted to reality. Those who believe that directors such as Priyadarshan represent Malayalam cinema on a broader platform in Bollywood are ignorant because his movies are not a patch on the superlative quality of films that veteran film makers of Malayalam are truly famed for.

Today’s Malayali directors are young and aspire for quick fame. Their techniques are more focused on infusing their movie with young dialogues, peppy music and great cinematography. The technique of story telling has been affected badly in the process.

Even then, the screenplay rights of most Malayalam movies are bought at staggering sky-high prices by the Tamil industry and now, Bollywood. Some of Bollywood’s poor adaptations of Malayalam movies include Gardish, Baghban, Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchal, Garam Masala, Bhool Bhulaiya, Dhamaal, Chandni Chowk to China, and Billu Barber. I use the term ‘poor’ because the movies had senseless screenplays when translated to Hindi while in Malayalam the context, the dialogues and even the themes were justifiable and justly portrayed by veteran film makers.

A Malayalam movie that I recently watched is “Notebook” which was directed by Rosshan Andrrews. Thankfully, the rights of this movie haven’t been grabbed up. With excellent music, cinematography, editing and fine camera techniques, this movie is interesting though it doesn’t do much on an emotional scale due to its excessive modernity.

The movie depicts a beautiful journey into the intimate friendship between three high school girls who stay in hostel and become as closer than siblings. One of the girls ends up pregnant and the two girls cover up for her to the extent that they force her to abort and finally, the girl dies.

When she dies, the two friends hide her death till the police grill them and one of the girls (played by actress Roma) breaks and conveys the truth.

The second friend denies having any involvement in the abortion. The boy who was involved with the deceased girl doesn’t even hear about her death till much later. When he does, he is filled with pangs of guilt and longs to do something to make amends though he knows it is too late.

The betrayal of friendship and the subsequent estrangement between the girls throws them into separate lives and separate ways of dealing with the loss of their friend. Everything is questioned in the screenplay and tosses out some truly important questions for parents, teachers and all of us to ponder about:

  • What is friendship really? Is it a whim, commitment or responsibility?
  • What forces young girls into making choices like abortion? Is it broken homes, wealthy lifestyle, lack of morals or a desperate choice fearing the hypocrisy of Indian society?
  • Who has a right to pass judgment over choices that young people make – those who give birth to them yet have no time or inclination to be with them, those who call themselves ‘teachers’ and can’t see beyond the syllabus or curriculum or those who are their best friends?
  • What role do parents or teachers really exercise when it comes to the ‘morality’ of their children/wards? Can they make a positive difference?

Ultimately, it is broken homes, rich families and lots of money which bring these children together to live in a top residential Convent school, where money power, management power and vested interests are more important than a student’s talents or aspirations.

Category: Reviews, Story  | Tags: , , ,  | 2 Comments