The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)

US Presidential hopefuls take RVs, Che went on a motorcycle. The point is you need to go on a road trip to become a successful leader of the people

Ee Adutha Kalathu (Recently)

Strange and familiar make an appearance together for the first time in Malayalam cinema and the pair is a hit

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

Four feisty ladies, upbeat music and a handsome conman. Anushka gets Ranveer. Bollywood gets Parineeti

Das Boot (The Boat)

Best WWII film ever, in fact the best war film ever. In true German fashion, restraint is applied by shooting the entire movie inside a U-boat

Neelathamara (Blue Lotus)

Blue lotus shares the same stature of blue moon in Malayalam, so do good remakes. This one bucks the trend.

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Aug 22, 2012

Vicky Donor

It is the season of wonderful word play in Indian cinema. I see this trend of superior screenplays picking up steam both in Bollywood and South Indian movies. Subramaniapuram and Ee Adutha Kalathu are representative of this change in Tamil and Malayalam. Vicky Donor penned by Juhi Chaturvedi and directed by Shoojit Sarcar is one of the best scripts that has come out in Hindi in the recent times. Well done, John Abraham, you chose an cheeky subject for the first film you produced and your gamble paid off ! I'd have never suspected you had that in you with all that brawn.

The subject of (!!!spoilers!!!) sperm donation is such a progressive and unconventional topic for a traditional society as India. Juhi Chaturvedi - a woman writer with a flair for local humor and an astute observer of human character has taken Hindi movies to a place where no man has gone before. With two new faces in lead and majority of the cast comprising of no name actors the success of the movie proves the merit of the film.

Anu Kapoor - the multi talented character actor is the backbone of the movie as the irresistible Dr. Chadha. Credit should also go to the debutante hero, Ayushmaan Khurana. The casting is excellent with the traits of Delhi Panjus and Bongs captured to a T.

Aug 21, 2012

District 9

It was a chance encounter. I was at the neighborhood public library scrounging for DVDs. As expected of a person with low expectations all my movie requirement filters were turned off. I'd have taken any movie which looked remotely like Independence Day. That is, any movie that could afford the same adrenaline rush, the tumult of emotions, the invigoration that comes after listening to an impassioned speech of a US president, the CGI and the final triumph of mankind offered by an Independence Day. I felt like I hit the target when I saw District 9. On the cover loooming over a not so innocent looking metropolis was an alien aircraft, what could I ask for more, I grabbed the DVD and left.

When I started watching the movie, I realized that for some unknown reason best known only to aliens, aliens had skipped dazzling cities like NY, LA or Paris and had decided to hover over Johannesburg. WTH? Not only that, when humans finally had a peek at aliens they turned out to be in worse shape than refugees from civil war torn African republics. At this point I was certain that there would be no Will Smith to save humanity.

Instead what we have in District 9 is very un-Hollywoodsy take on aliens alighting upon Earth from a uniquely South African perspective. Directed by Neill Blomkamp who finds an amazing lead actor in Sharlto Copley in his debut role(what?!) District 9 is like an alien sighting in the world of alien movies. The realism of the real, magical and news footage kind is bound to blow you away. A very human film about aliens, don't miss this sighting.

Aug 20, 2012


Ishaqzaade was an unexpected treat. I had seen its posters before the film came out and was baffled what made Parineeti Chopra chose such a film after her amazing debut performance in Ladies vs Ricky Behl. And Arjun Kapoor was nothing more than yet another star spawn who zipped up the fast track thanks to his genes, squashing the chance of many struggling, aspiring Bollywood wannabes.

The first half of Ishaqzaade proved me wrong. It also affirmed the age old adage that you can never judge a film by its poster, even if it looked twenty years too late or Ek Duje Ke Liye-ish. The second half of the movie was mostly directionless in terms of story but I could excuse that considering its beautiful frames, audacious tunes and a genuine lead couple.

Arjun Kapoor's movie collection has stood the actor in good stead, it has definitely helped him learn acting. Parineeti is so honest and natural it is hard not to like her ebullient spirit. Habib Faisal, the director of Isqzaade has his finger on the pulse of North India. Or to be more precise New Delhi and the towns and villages surrounding the capital city forms the geography and the language of his films.The dusty cow belt city of Almore where this Hindu-Muslim love story is set is your everyday North Indian town and the dialogs and the characters are just what you'd hear and see if you happen to land in such a town. Amit Trivedi's defiant and upbeat music sets the tone for the story. Another low cost-high returns hit from Yashraj films.

Aug 4, 2012

Best story in a Malayalam movie, ever

 അപരാഹ്നത്തിന്റെ   അനന്തപഥങ്ങളില്‍ ആകാശ നീലിമയില്‍  അവന്‍ നടന്നകന്നു. ഭീമനും യുധിഷടിരനും ബീഡി വലിച്ചു. സീതയുടെ മാറ് പിളര്‍ന്നു ചോര കുടിച്ചു ദുര്യോധനന്‍. ഗുരുവായൂരപ്പന് ജല്ദോഷ മായിരുന്നു അന്ന് . അമ്പലത്തിന്റെ അകാല്‍ വിളക്കുകള്‍ തെളിയുന്ന സന്ധ്യയില്‍ അവള്‍ അവനോടു ചോദിച്ചു "ഇനിയും നീ ഇത് വഴി വരില്ലേ ആനകളെയും തെളിച്ചു കൊണ്ട്?"

From the 1985 movie Boeing Boeing directed by Priyadarshan, dialogs by Sreenivasan and enacted by Jagathy Sreekumar as an aspiring writer presenting his story in front of news editor played by Sankaradi, IMHO this is the best story ever to have hit the silver screen in Malayalam. Take a bow, Sreenivasan!

For those people who can't read Malayalam: Aprahnathinte ananthapathangalil aakashaneelimayil avan nadannakannu.Bheemanum Yudhishtiranum beedi valichu. Seetayude maaru pilarnnu raktham kudichu Duryodhanan. Guruvayoorappanu jaladoshamayirunnu annu.Ambalathinte akaal vilakkukal theliyunna sandhyayil aval avanodu chodichu, "eniyum nee ithu vazhi varille aanakaleyum thelichu kondu?"

Aug 3, 2012

Live Streaming Malayalam TV channel site

Malayali’s tendency to emigrate is well known. From chayakkada (tea shop) on the moon jokes to meeting a Malayali in Alaska(that would be me), we Keralites think that we have a monopoly in the category. The problem is the Chinese, the Punjabis, the Gujaratis , the Philippinos and the Koreans, to name a few, also claim that they are in the driver seat when it comes to driving away from their home countries. Just look at all the China towns in all major cities across the globe, you’ll see that the Chinese have a strong case.

The emigration competition can wait, that was not I came here to write about. As usual, meandering thoughts took control of my keyboard. What I wanted to post about is a  website I chanced upon recently –, that brings live streaming of major South Indian TV channels and a few Hindi channels to your home anywhere on the planet, provided you have an internet connection. Goes without saying, it should preferably be broadband.

For Indians like us who live in places where the scarcity of sub-continental Indians(South or North) have failed to entice satellite TV providers to generously beam down our desi TV channels, is quite a find. Reception is fabulous, even in this remote niche of the world called Alaska. It is almost like I never left home more than a decade and a half ago. 

Some observations after watching a few hours of Malayalam TV:
  • Move over prescription medicine ads, make way for gold jewelers. Both items promise to make us better than we are, through different approaches. Clearly a Malayali prefers wearing a three stone (precious of course) gold bracelet specially anointed and blessed by his astrologer to ward off his Pharmacophobia. 
  • Politicians continue to bicker and reconcile over power, liquor, women and prayer.
  • TV presenters still can’t enunciate Malayalam properly and insist on speaking in some version of English undecipherable outside Kerala . Along the lines of Lou Gehrig Disease this affliction can hitherto be called the Ranjini Haridas Disease after its most famous proponent and propagator.
  • Reality television has become a reality. ‘Inspirations’ of Judge Judy, The Amazing Race, Maury and Survivor are all over the place bringing the traditionalist Malayali to bare and give all in front of a television audience for fifteen minutes of fame.