Arts & Culture

  • img

    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…

  • img

    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…

  • img

    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…

  • img

    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.…

  • img

    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…

  • img

    Leela: A Lost Chance to Shatter the Myth of Machismo


    How do you translate a story of sex and sexuality into the medium of cinema? This was the general curiosity surrounding the making of Leela, part perceived, part generated and marketed by the industry that popular cinema ultimately is. The makers of this film were able to tap into this curiosity…

  • img

    Living in Limbo


    About 12 years ago, when the Tom Hanks starrer 'The Terminal' hit the screens worldwide, we all came to know about the plight of a man who spent almost 18 years in the Terminal One of the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris as a refugee. His name is Mehran Karimi Nasseri. He was an anti-Shah activist…

  • img

    Nightingales Are Falling Silent


    Much to our melody chagrin, the female solo songs are fast becoming a thing of past—and, if the trend continues, we will soon see a complete silence of our beloved nightingales who over the years have sweetened Malayalam cinema with their melodious voice.

    Change, they say, is the only…

  • img

    The Lover Boy of All Times


    The word 'evergreen' connotes immortality. Perhaps, there is only one actor in Indian screen who has gained this title and that is our own Prem Nazir (1926-1989). Had he been alive, he would have turned 90 this year. A quirky thought would bring us the picture of a well-groomed Prem Nazir going to…

  • img

    Malayalee's Own Chalk & Cheese


    No two entries could have been more different.

    One was a known entity. The other was a non-entity.

    One’s entry was well-anticipated. The other walked in as another unknown face among a motley crowd of new faces.

    One wore the shiny, yet uncomfortably heavy crown of the young…

  • img

    Kali: A Very Angry Young Man’s Tale That’s Missing Some Nuances


    When heroes become angry, they thrash evil, fight against injustice and question the establishment. Don't we love it? It was Amitabh Bachchan's deft portrayal of anger - not love, compassion or humor - that catapulted him into India's biggest superstar. In Malayalam, we've had Mamootty, Mohanlal…

  • img

    Piravi: A Film for Our Bewildering Times


    It is a windswept countryside where the green fields and village waterways sway in the heady breeze bearing the touch of an impending storm. A typical decrepit local library shivers in the rain laden wind, doors slam all around deepening the furtive silence, a ubiquitous black cat sneaks out. You've…

  • img

    G. Aravindan – The God Who Failed to Deliver


    I saw Kanchana Sita, as a college student, before Ibrahim Alkasi, chairman of the National Film Award Jury (1978), hailed G. Aravindan as "the director who opened the eyes of Indian cinema," and Chidananda Dasgupta described him as "the Shakespeare of Indian cinema."

    I saw the film, repeatedly,…

  • img

    The Struggle to Find One’s Own Story


    A woman relinquishes her four-year-old son to tourists passing through town. Losing him, she loses the story of her future. A world away from her, the boy becomes a man without the story of his past. Decades on, the mother struggles on her deathbed to find the story that will release her from life;…

  • img

    Reviving Kathaprasangam: Will Technology Help?


    Can Kathaprasangam have a new lease of life in Kerala’s cultural landscape? Television, which had killed the beauty of this performing art, has ironically revived 'modern' forms of this story telling to cash in on the growing demand from viewers who have a craving for the nostalgic past. Though…

  • img

    Kerala's Own Rockstar


    There are two kinds of people. One, who look like immortals, and two, who look like mere mortals. Rest falls in between expectations and ordinariness, and they are called the 'middle class.' But death, the great leveler, doesn’t differentiate between the seemingly immortals and the mortals.…

  • img

    A Musical Genius’s Hidden Gem


    If I ask you to name the top 10 songs of legendary composer M.B. Sreenivasan, chances are that this one won't figure in that list. Probably you aren’t even aware of this song, and even if you are, you may not know it's an MBS composition.

    It’s one hell of a song. Here you go: “Peethambara…

  • img

    B.D. Dethan: Painter of Hard Times


    Angst doesn't ooze out from the smiling personality of B.D. Dethan, the well-known artist from Thiruvananthapuram. But his paintings impart the inner turmoil of the artist as a contemporary human being caught in various socio-political throes. Artists are the followers of human sagas, and at times…