Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jagathy Sreekumar – Emperor of Acting

The other day I was talking about Malayalam Movies to few of my friends who hail from Tamil Nadu. They know almost every popular Malayalam actor. To my surprise no one knew who Jagathy Sreekumar was. It is true that he hasn’t acted in any languages other than Malayalam but I felt very sad that a talent like Jagathy is not know to outside world other than to Malayalis.

I promised my friends few links about Jagathy when I get back home. Then I thought I would put all these links about Jagathy in my blog so that few more people who don’t know Jagathy will get a chance to know him.

To know how good an actor he is just see this clip from the movie “Udayananu Tharam” (being remade in Hindi with Anil Kapoor as hero and the movie is named Short Cut). In this clip Jagathy is teaching Sreenivasan how to act in movies. See how Jagathy shows the navarasams in his face in a single shot. How many actors in the world can do this?

Jagathy was born in the year 1951 to Jagathy N K Achary a famous dramatist and writer. The journey for Jagathy in movies, which started in the year 1973 with the movie Chattambi Kalyani is going strong for the last 34 years. He has acted in over 1000 Malayalam movies in this span which itself is a record. Last year alone he has acted in 21 of the 64 movies that were released.

He was given very prominent roles in the early movies of Priyadarshan. The clip below is from the movie “Mazha Peyunnu Madalam Kotunnu” (one of the few movies that Priyadarshan has yet to remake in Hindi). In this movie Jagathy plays the role of a father who wants marry his daughter to an American returned groom (Sreenivasan). The driver of the groom (Mohanlal) fools Jagathy and makes him believe that he is the orginal groom and wants the American returned groom to be thrown out of the house. See how well he has enacted the role of an old man even though he was only in his early thirties during that time.

Jagathy has acted with the past as well as the present generation of Malayalam actors. See this clip from the movie Ulladakkam (content). Here he acts as a mad man who thinks that he has swallowed a horse. He is taken to the hospital where the doctor (Mohanlal) tries to treat him. He lives like a mad man in this scene.

See this clip from another Priyadarshan movie- Thalavattam (Kyom Ki in Hindi). In this scene Jagathy loses his job in the hospital and comes to his boss for mercy. Seeing that his boss is not ready to forgive him he starts shouting at him. See how natural acting comes to his great man.

In the movie “Kilukkam”, one of the all time hits of Malayalam cinema, Jagathy outshines even Mohanlal. See this clip from the movie “Kilukkam”.

Another movie where Jagathy makes every one laugh is “Yodha”- again a movie with Mohanlal. A. R. Rahman started his career in music with this movie.

One more movie clip of Jagathy to show his versatility as an actor, various emotions come to his face with such ease.

These are few of the classic movies, which Jagathy acted. There is lot of other masterpieces he has acted like Moonam Pakkam, Kabuliwalla, Pidakozhi kuvunna nutandu etc. If you have not see those movies I can tell you – you have missed some world-class acting. If he was a Hollywood actor and had just put in half of his performance effort he could have won an Oscar award for best acting several times.

Jagathy Sreekumar has won the Kerala State Best Supporting Actor two times in 1991 and 2002. His biography titled “Jagathy Chirichum Chirikaktheyum” was recently published.

I believe if we take a list of 10 best actors India has ever produced, the name of Jagathy should be in it. I consider him just below Kamalhasan in terms of talent.

“Let Us All Hope – Best of Jagathy is Yet to Come”

Also read Meet Sreenivasan – The Master Craftsman of Malayalam Movie

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Need For Quality Books About Indian Politics

I just finished reading Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward and started reading State of Denial by the same author. The book Plan of Attack gives the reader a detailed account of how President Bush and his allies planned and executed the ouster of Saddam Hussein. I am not sure how much of Bob’s account is true but for me, reading that book gave me an idea about how the American democracy works. It gave me a picture of a typical day of various administrators under President Bush. It also shows us the amount of work the elected representatives carry out in the form of meetings/discussion before important policy decisions are made. These kinds of books also help the readers to judge their leaders and decide for themselves if they are making right decisions.
I read Against All Enemies written by Richard Clarke, who served as the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter terrorism under President Clinton and President Bush. In this book he narrates in detail what happened in Washington following 9/11 terrorist attack in the US. Various meetings/strategies, policy changes following 9/11 are described in this book. A common US citizen can understand what actions their Government took when their nation faced a great danger.
I have been reading a hell lot of books about current affairs of US lately. I am more interested in reading such books about India. I am yet to find a good book similar to few I read about US. I am very much interested what, then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and his cabinet colleagues did before and after Babri Masjid was demolished. I like to know if they discharged their duties correctly and judiciously during the time of crisis? I like to know about the detail discussion then Prime Minister Vajpayee and his cabinet colleagues had when India was fighting a war in Kargil against Pakistan. Can I find a book similar to Against All Enemies which describes how Indian executive executed the plan for defeating Pakistan in Kargil war? I am yet to find a good book on these topics.
Again in May 2004, when then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost the confidence vote on the floor of the Lok Sabha by 1 vote I am sure lot of political maneuvering might have taken place behind the scenes. If such a thing has happened in US, the whole world could have read about all the political dramas that had taken place through 100’s of books that might have been published and few could have become best sellers also. If such kinds of books are published with the same frequency in India as in the US then we could know the dirty politics played by our politicians to stay in power.
I believe such kinds of books are very much necessary. Now if an American interested in knowing how the various Presidents have carried out their responsibilities he has tons of books to refer to, but what about the situation in India. Most Americans know what is a typical day of their President. How many of us know what a typical day of Indian Prime Minister is like?
I use to think why there is less number of books about current affairs/public figures in India? It is not because we don’t have good writers. I feel majority of Indians are not interested in going in depth about the various political issues. Majority of Indians feel that politics and politicians are dirty and they don’t want to know much about them and their policies. They fail to understand that various decisions taken by their leaders are going to have a direct impact on their lives. Publication of various books/articles helps the common people to understand how our leaders make decisions and if they have made the correct decisions.
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