Arts & Culture

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    On the Comeback Trail


    The walls of his opulent home tell the tale of a life harnessed in glory and yet one that stopped short of a wholesome outcome. Filmmaker Priyadarshan has had it all and yet nothing. Broken by circumstances, he valiantly tries to pick up fragments of his life and bring them together because togetherness…

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    Rajinikanth’s Kerala Connection


    Finally, Kabali has hit the theatres all over the world. The build-up has been so meticulous and strong that the countdown toward the release date itself was celebrated as some sort of a daily spectacle in the social media. In Kerala, Kabali has hit around 300 screens at one go. Initial reports indicate…

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    Thiruvannamalai: Malayalee Artists’ Tamil Sojourn


    Thiruvannamalai, famous for the Ramana Ashram, the seat of sage Ramana, doesn’t look like a lucrative abode for artists. Spiritualists of different kinds from both India and abroad sit in silence in prayer halls of the ashram. Some of them stand still, contemplating on the lives of…

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    The Mega Star's Mighty Fall


    ' Rajamanikyam ', released in 2005, was a watershed film in Mammootty’s career. Still charming with his chiselled looks, the then 54-year-old ‘Mega Star’ of Malayalam cinema adopted Thiruvananthapuram slang for the movie that went on to become one of his biggest hits. The film…

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    Kerala’s Renaissance Man


    Kavalam Narayana Panicker is no more. In his hay days, the arrival and departure of death would've been with the evocative chanting of folk rhythms. When he died yesterday at the age of 88, nothing of that sort happened. In northern India, it had come a week before, taking one of the finest theatre…

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    Living an Art


    Margi Sathi's autobiography Rangasree poignantly blends the life of an artist, snuffed in her prime, with the life of a dying art form. A riveting autobiography that assumes a humble tone, but describes many heart wrenching moments of what it means to be a woman artist, and a Koodiyattom…

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    Rugmini: A Stolen Childhood


    She was a bard of stolen childhood, of orphaned toys and betrayed schools. Rugmini, the eponymous heroine of the film *Rugmini,* epitomizes Kamala Suraiyya's vision of a girl child’s world; a girl who wants to play till she drops asleep, but doesn't want to be 'played' with by the predatory…

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    Ozhivu Divasathe Kali: A Brutal Show on Malayalees' Unanchored Life


    Circa 1970. Location: a local reading room in Kerala. Five young men sit around a table and discuss Kafka, Camus, Freud, Marx, and politics. They argue vehemently on the merit of the recently published 'Legend of Khasak' (*Khasakkinte Ithihasam*) by O.V.Vijayan. Two boys strike at the carom board…

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    Recreating a Legend


    It was a rain-soaked evening. Around 7 p.m., a crowd, drenched in the downpour, was heading toward a huge tent erected at the Kozhikode Medical College ground. Inside the tent, there is a stage surrounded by gallery from three sides and a projection screen on the fourth. Aliyar's tea stall was on…

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    Performance Art or Protesting Act?


    Blackening her face for 125 days was a new aesthetical mode that artist P.S. Jayamol adopted to create a social critique on the discriminated 'living' experiences of the Dalit communities. But it seems to have almost backfired on the face of the artist herself. The onus is now on Jayamol to defend…

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    Gopikrishna's World of Painful Paintings


    Through the large windows, the foliage and tree top freshly washed by mid-summer rains, I see three owls calmly sleeping. The artist smiles at me. "Look, what do they need?" I remain silent. I want the artist to speak. He continues: "They just need a place to sit and sleep. At night they fly away…

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    The Accordion Man


    When K.S. Chithra walked up to the microphone on stage, she was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd. She started singing, as perfect as ever, but kept glancing at the accordion player standing next to her. The man would nod approvingly, reassuring the singer she hadn’t slipped on the pitch and was…

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    Kathakali: Ultimate in Fusion, Unparalleled in Grandeur


    There is no other theater form which imposes a world of illusion the way Kathakali does. Grandeur unparalleled, befittingly non-worldly, stylization ultimate, drama evocative and magically surrealistic, Kathakali is the wonder of theater. Often designated as total theater, Kathakali offers more than…

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    Panchavadipalam: A Lashing Footnote to Our Political Absurdity


    Now that the heat and dust of the election campaign has settled and we begin the countdown to the next government, our funny bone waits to be tickled at the expense of our politicians who are the kings and queens for the next five years. Our lives are literally at their feet, and all we the people…

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    Discovering Pottekkatt, the Trailblazer Travel Writer


    'Bridge View' was the name I gave my writing room – a rented space in a commercial building by the banks of the canal. It had a unique atmosphere marked by a strange color and odor. Sound even. The stink from the cremation ground toward the west wafted in with the wind along with the stench…

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    A Solemn Rebellion


    An aged man with thick grey beard, balding pate and scrawny body appears in a dance pose in a photograph, and a big crowd of Facebook buffs follow in flocks. The unusual picture is shared by thousands, quite unbecoming for a photo which has little sensational value.

    But there was something…

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    Warrior Woman to Wily Seductress: How Two Films Created & Killed An Icon


    She was the icon of a generation. Our own warrior woman who became a household name, a symbol of cultural pride, dignity, courage and beauty -- thanks to the magic of cinema. In the afterglow of a newly won freedom, the nation seemed all set to celebrate the free spirit and noble fire in its women.…

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    Toms: The Man Behind Kerala's Beloved Mischief Makers


    At the attic of Ravi Maman's house in our village, his son told me that there was a hidden treasure. A landlord's son, Ravi Maman was a literary scholar who collected books and magazines. It was in 1980. We decided to sneak into the attic to see the treasure trove (we actually knew what we were looking…