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Annual Filgrimage

Most of the film festivals around us were conceived before a time when the numerous OTT platforms or even the Internet was a thing. Those days, we could only watch the movies that were screened in the cinemas near us. Film festivals were probably the only way to get a taste of cinema from around the world. Now, of course, times have changed so much that a South Korean TV show was the biggest hit of the past year worldwide. We have digital platforms offering carefully curated, critically acclaimed movies. Content has never been more accessible.  In such a time, have film festivals lost their relevance? One look at the huge crowds who turned up for this year’s IFFK would tell you the answer is a big, loud NO. Film festivals are all about movies, and yet not only about watching them. The feeling of a community action that you get when you see co-delegates with their clothe-bags and id tags, the adrenaline rush from the careful scrutiny of the screening schedule to pick the films matching
Recent posts

Saturday Night

  It was Saturday night, and we had settled ourselves comfortably in and around the couch to watch the Malayalam movie Super Sharanya on Zee5. (sidenote: I had watched it in the theater already, and normally I don’t invest time to watch something a second time. However, this was a movie that I had enjoyed thoroughly and was an ideal watch with family.) As the movie progressed, we could see various characters trying in their own (some endearing, some questionable) ways to win the heart of the protagonist, Sharanya. This includes the lecturer Arun and the self proclaimed hero Ajith Menon, who tries to force his decision on her with scant regard for her opinion or consent. Now, those who have watched the movie would know that the character of Ajith Menon is a caricature of the much celebrated and glorified psychopath Arjun Reddy (or Kabir Singh or either of the Varmas). The makers have hit the bull’s eye in drawing out the problems of such a character, who is an embodiment of toxic mascul

Planet Perillamus

  Planet Perillamus An excited Ethoruthan broadcasted his findings to the Inter Universe Lifeform Detection Council. ‘I have discovered life on another planet.’ ‘Oh not again, Mx Ethoruthan!’, the Chairman of the council, Dan Maraman, shot back.‘ This is the eleventh time you are making such a claim over the last six months. How many missions have we launched to verify your claim - and have even one bore any result? These voyages are damn expensive, you know.’ ‘Please hear me out, Mx Maraman! This is not like the previous cases. I have proof.’ ‘What proof?’ Senior agent Thengaenthu was intrigued. ‘Do I have permission to present my thoughts to the council?’ Ethoruthan asked Maraman, Dan. ‘Yeah! You may.’ the Chairman relented warily. ‘Okay here is the interesting part. The life forms on this planet have devised something called movies - where some of them write unreal descriptions about unreal persons, and someone else would behave like those unreal persons. These behaviors would be re

I Want Your Life

A vague story idea hits you one day. You think it would pass, just like a hundred other vague ideas have, in the past. But to your surprise, this one stays. You are unsure at first, but interest seeps in gradually. You toy with the idea in your head.  As the story takes shape and characters are born, you are drawn deep into that universe. You look up facts, read accounts, and do some research on matters that would form the core of the story. You observe. Your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, the people you saw on the metro or in a restaurant. You engage in social debates - online and offline. You observe life. All of it may not find its way into a story. But, some would. You start writing (typing). An entire chapter some days. A few lines some other days. As you write, you realize the story is evolving over the course. You finish writing the first draft. You add a working title. “I Want Your Life”. Your story is now a word document in your computer. You want it to be a paperback

Chosen Books

  An ordinary man seems to have received a divine revelation. A voice from the other world revealed themselves to this chosen man, and started filling his head with worldly wisdom. The chosen man was not selfish, and so he decided to share his newly gained knowledge with his folks. As if to clear away all their doubts, a miracle was also performed - something which was apparently impossible without a divine intervention. The chosen man gathered his trusted followers, and asked them to write down the wisdom he gained in a book - so that they would not lose this knowledge so precious. And they filled pages and pages with the words of the voice as dictated to the chosen man. The book had guidelines on how to live their lives - what was to be done, what was not to be done. And they began following the book to the dot. They shaped their lives in accordance with what was written. They even found some success and prosperity. Happy days. But, as they say, happy days did not last. As it turned

The times I traveled an extra mile for movies

  People who know me might know that I am a cinephile. I avidly follow the happenings in the cineverse, regularly interact with fellow cinephiles in social circles, and occasionally write short snippets on movies that moved me. I am not much of a picky eater, but I am a picky watcher. I check reviews, watch the trailer, and decide to watch a movie only if it suits my taste. In a time before Covid and direct OTT releases, seeing a movie that you waited for eagerly was not always easy. The cinema halls may not be that accessible to you, or the movie may not be prominent enough for it to release in your nearest theaters. There have been times where I have dropped the idea of watching some movies in theaters due to practical limitations, but here let us talk about the times where I went the extra mile. The Jungle Book (2016) Disney’s Jungle Book was, beyond doubt, one of the most prominent releases of the year, and of course, it was released in theaters near me. But the trailer of the movi

When Kunjananthan visits Kammattipadam

As the news of the islanders of Lakshadweep being engaged in long drawn protests with the authorities took limelight in the media, I was reminded of the malayalam movie Kammattipadam. This Rajeev Ravi directorial talked about the lives of people who were forced to give up their lands to the powerful real-estate mafias, as Kochi underwent a tide of urbanization. The tropical archipelago of Lakshadweep is apparently finding itself in similar waters. The Union Government seems to have a revamped  vision for the islands, with a great onus on tourism. High end tourism projects are being mooted, “under the aegis of NITI Aayog with a vision to establish a robust base for maritime economic growth with tourism development”. Among the various plans, the major attractions include the construction of overwater villas and bungalows, which have proved to be a great hit with tourists worldwide, especially so in Maldives and Bora Bora. While India has the ideal geographic conditions in the islands to