Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lohithadas – You Will Always Live in Our Hearts

Lohithadas – the man who penned so many great movies died of heart attack at the age of 54. He was one of the few writers who could create movies that were full of life. He has given us so many movies that we will cherish for ever. It will take years for the Malayalam film industry to come out of this huge loss caused by the death of writer/director Lohithadas.

Here is a very nice interview with Lohithadas. I am not sure when it was taken but is very good. It throws a light into the greatness of this man.

In this part Lohithadas talks about how he learned his values in life from his mother. Lohithadas talks about how he us to cheat his mother to go for movies.He reveals the secret of finding the hidden talent of an artist.


Lohithadas talks about how the films of these days influence the people. At the end he talks about what is needed for a successful marriage life.

Lohithadas in this part ridiculous our race for money forgetting the values of "love". Of all the three parts I love this one the best.

Lohithadas started his journey in 1987 as a script writer in the movie Thaniyavarthanam made great by Mammotty. After the release of that movie he never had to look back. Hits after hits followed and Malayalam cinema in general gained from this great talent.

One of the best scripts Lohithadas wrote was for the movie “Kireedom”. This became such a huge hit and Mohanlal won special jury award for his performance in this movie.

The same team of Sibi Malayil – Mohanlal - Lohithadas gave so many hit movies in a row during the early part of nineties. This includes movies like “Desaratham”, “His Highness Abdullah” and “Bharatham”. These movies from this trio were a feast for the movie loving public of Kerala. Here is a scene from the movie Desaratham.

His Highness Abdullah was a musical hit for which the singer MG Sreekumar got the national award for the best playback singer.

Bharatham – the movie that fetched Mohanlal a national award for the best actor.

Lohithadas has teamed up with another great artist Malayalam movie industry has produced – Bharathan, to give few gems like “Amaram” where Mammotty took acting to another level.

Venkalam was another great movie done by Lohithadas and Bharathan.

In year 1997, Lohithadas made his debut as a director with the movie “Bhothakannadi” with Mammotty in the lead role. This movie won lot of awards and was widely acclaimed.

His best movie as a director in the box office was the movie Kasthuriman with Meera Jasmine (a gifted actress whom Lohithadas himself introduced to the Malayalam movies) and Kunchako Boban in the lead.

He has many more movies to his credit as director like Joker, Chakkaramuthu and his last being the movie Nivedyam.

It is tough to digest the fact that Lohithadas is no more. Death has taken away his body but the fragrance he has left behind in the form of great movies will never die. Every Malayali will cherish that fragrance in his/her heart for their entire life time.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

“FIRE” magazine published by Kerala Kaumudi – Let us condemn it

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I know for some time now about a lot of periodicals that are widely circulated in Kerala like Fire, Crime, Crime File that are perfect examples of yellow journalism. I always thought that it was published by some third rated publisher who is out there to make some quick bucks. But recently to my utter shock I found that “Fire” magazine is being published by Kerala Kaumudi, a newspaper in Kerala with very good circulation and reputation.
I am sure Kerala Kaumudi with its newspaper and other periodicals other than “Fire” is making a good profit. So why does a publisher like Kerala Kaumudi has to stoop to such low level. Only one answer comes to my mind – the greed of the owners and share holders for more profit by selling pornographic material that has a great market and in the process misguiding people, especially the teenagers.
The “Fire” magazine has a separate website and you need to subscribe to read it. Here is the front cover of the magazine. See what the front cover has to say about the magazine – “A Magazine for exposing atrocities against Women, Children and also Men”! In short a magazine to expose the atrocities against mankind. If you know to read Malayalam see what are the atrocities against mankind they discuss in this magazine. No wonder the atrocities against women are on a rise in Kerala. The people who read these kinds of periodicals regularly will start seeing women as a “sex object” and start indulging in “atrocities against women” and thus motive of the magazine could be met.
Magazines like “Fire” are sold in local book shops, railway stations and bus stands. Why don’t we react against such publications that corrupt the society and at the same time bring more and more profit to the already rich publishers? I believe to allow publishing a pornographic magazine like “Fire” is a serious issue that needs to be condemned. It is time for the government to act and ban such magazines for the good of the society.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alcoholism and Kerala - Made for Each Other?

The photo to your right is not a queue for a movie or anything like that but a queue in front of a liquor shop in Kerala. Every dawn scenes like this is common in Kerala. No wonder Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in India.

The culture of drinking is so deep rooted in Kerala that it is tough to live as a teetotaler. As soon as I completed my B Tech in Civil Engineering I joined work in a construction company in Central Kerala. We used to have lot of parties sponsored by my company and other contractors. I used to attend most of it but when it comes to drinking part I used to politely decline. One day in one of the parties I told that I am not drinking and one of the senior manager who was fully drunk called me and told "Did you ever go to an engineering college? I am ashamed to tell to every one that I have an engineer in my office that doesn't drink". That has become Kerala culture - whether you are an engineer or a doctor or a priest if you are a Malayali male, you are supposed to drink.

I happened to see a debate about drinking in Kairali, in the program "Cross Fire" presented by John Britas (in Malayalam). The panel consisting of actor N.L. Balakrishnan, a business man E M Najeem, Addict India President Johnson Edayaranmula and an activist fighting for liquor ban in Kerala Arimanur Sivarajan. The entire video is about 45 minutes and brings about some facts that should never make us proud.

In the first part of the video N.L Balakrishanan talks about his drinking habits and his views on why drinking in not that bad. E M Najeem who owns two hotels claims that one can promote tourism even without alcohol. Johnson gives us some statistics of liquor consumption in Kerala that is mind boggling. The per capita consumption of liquor in Kerala is 20 liters per person among people who drink.



Another statistics - the average age one starts drinking dropped from 19 years in 1986 to 13.5 years in 2006! Activist Sivarajan talks about why the movement to ban alcohol in Kerala has failed time and again.


The third part discusses why this is happening and what can be done to prevent the menace.

In the fourth and fifth part of this talk show discussion looses its flow with participation of people.


The drinking culture in which Kerala is immersed need to be changed. Other wise the price we have to pay for it in the long run will be immense.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy 91st Birthday Wishes to Leader K Karunakaran

The Congress leader and former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran is celebrating his 91st birthday today. He is the senior most leader in the Congress party today and I wish this nonagenarian political stalwart from my home state of Kerala a very happy birthday.

Leader K Karunakaran is the politician I admire and respect most in Indian politics. The reason – his ability to make things done. Nowadays we hear about lot of developmental projects like Smart City or Skybus but nothing gets actually implemented. Leader K Karunakaran had the vision for Kerala and more important had a God given ability to implement them. Nedumbassery Airport with people's participation, Kayakulam Thermal Power Plant, Technopark in Trivandrum, Guruvayoor Rail Line to name few of the developmental activities initiated when Karunakaran was the Chief Minister.

He had the vision to see that Information Technology was going to be the “buzz” word in the next century (as early in 1991) and he took steps to start Technopark, immediately after Roa - Manmohan Singh opened up the Indian economy. This was much before Chandrababu Naidu, the then CM of Andrapradesh even thought of Hi-Tech City. The then opposition LDF tried hard to stall the creation of Technopark but the will power of Leader prevailed. For those who thought that acquiring land is a big problem in Kerala he was able to acquire around 300 acres of land in Trivandrum for Technopark. It is ironical that once Technopark became a reality the LDF took credit for it.

We always hear that people are not willing to invest in Kerala due to the militant trade unionism prevailing in the state. Even when that image about Kerala was widespread Leader was able to envision and more important implement the building of an international airport in Nedumbassery with participation of people especially by making Non Resident Indians invest in this project.

Another quality I like in him – although he became an undisputed leader of the Congress party in the eighties and early nineties he never lost contact with the common party workers whom he always considered his strength to move forward. His capabilities to go to any extend to defend and protect the party workers and officials loyal to him have brought him many friends as well as enemies.

As Leader K KARUNAKARAN celebrates his 91st birthday, let us all join together to wish him a great 91st birthday and pray to almighty God to give him continuing good health.

Photo courtesy cartoonistbinuh.blogspot.com

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joy and Pain of Blogging

I just realized today that I have posted over 150 blog posts (165 posts including this one) in the last three and a half years. When I started my journey of blogging by writing my first post in Manglish (Malayalam written in English) I never dreamt of reaching so far. The truth was that I never thought I will update my blog with another post. But here I am after three and a half years with over 150 posts and around 100,000 visitors. Here is the site summary for all these years from sitemeter.

This post is a look back into these years of blogging – happiness and sorrows of blogging and what motivates me to continue blogging.

Most of the posts I wrote were just an extension of what was going on in my mind that day. From childhood, I used to read a lot about current affairs and politics and then used to think about what I read during my spare time. One example that comes to my mind is the post I wrote about desi consultants “Evil Called Desi Consultants”. That was written after I found that few of my friends who did PhD with me have to wait to know the results of H1B lottery to find out if they are going to get the H1B visa or not. The pain and anger of genuine candidates getting H1B visa denied made me write one of the most popular posts I wrote on my blog. Like that majority of my posts here will have a spark associated with it.

I could think about what I read from various angles and if the news involves personalities, I could think what I could have done differently if I was in their shoes. For example, recently I used to think what I could have done differently if I was the Sri Lankan President, to reduce the sufferings of the civilians caught in the war with LTTE. This kind of analyzing always keeps my mind busy and helps me approach an issue from different angles and gives me enough stuff to write a blog.

Now after publishing each post I learn something new. I never consider my blog complete without the comments from the user. For me what I wrote is only half of the post and other half is contributed by the readers in the form of comments and emails to me. I always consider my blog post and comments as a single unit and believe my blog posts will be incomplete without those comments. The comments help me to see and understand the thought process of others and in turn refine my thought process. One example that is coming to my mind is the blog post on “Superstition”. I learned a lot about the concept of superstitions reading the comments. Now having acknowledged that comments play a big role in making my blog a better one I must say that I am not that good sometimes in replying to the comments. Most of the times I make an effort to reply but it may not be possible always. Sorry if that has hurt few of my readers. Please do continue to post comments as it helps me to improve my perspective on that topic and helps improve the quality of the posts also.

Another interesting thing happening after I started blogging – friends and total strangers either emailing/calling to suggest topics for me to write. I have a lot of topics like that to write. I may not be able to write about that topic the very next day. The topic will be in the back of mind and I keep thinking on it and some day I will be writing on it. I wrote a blog post “Myth about Saving in US”. This was after one of my friends suggested me to write a post on the difficulties of saving in the US. I didn’t write that post immediately but it was in my mind and I wrote that one after around six months my friend told me. To my surprise even my parents suggest topics to me when I call them these days. My father recently sent me the photos of the unhygienic conditions in the heart of the Trivandrum city and told me that you can use it in one of your blogs and after few days I wrote this blog post “Monsoon Time is Disease Time in Kerala”.

I started blogging about 8 months after my marriage. One of the main reasons I still blog is the constant encouragement I get from my wife Deepa. It takes me on an average about 2 hours to write and publish a blog post and if she sees me writing or putting my thoughts together for a blog post she never disturbs me and leaves me alone. I write the blog and she does the proof reading. So if you feel the language I use is good majority of the credit should go to my wife.

I have seen a lot of people starting a blog, updating it for a few months and stop it completely. The reason – you need a lot of passion and determination for blogging. It is easy to start anything but the will power and determination to keep it going is enormous. You may have to sacrifice something else to make time for blogging. I used to be a movie buff earlier but I hardly get time to watch a movie now. So if you are not ready to put in a lot of effort you cannot sustain blogging for a period of time.

Another reason I could blog so long - the encouragement I get from you – the readers of this blog. A very big “THANKS’ to each one of you and hope you people will continue to support me. Your encouragement and support means a lot to me.

Before I sign off for today I would like to share happy news. Deepa and I are going to become parents of a baby girl. The baby is due by the end of September. Hopefully the baby girl will be like her mother and won’t disturb me while blogging!

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

A documentary on Kashmir Conflict by Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy

Other than the day to day Indian politics another thing I follow closely is the ongoing conflict in Kashmir. I am a strong believer that Kashmir issue should be solved by talks involving India, Pakistan and the local Kashmiri people. This is what I wrote previously in one of my blogs “Being Flexible” is the key to solving the Kashmir problem. All parties should accept the fact that there cannot be a permanent armed solution for this six decade old problem and the only possible way to have a solution is through talks with all parties concerned. During the talks it is a must that all parties have to abandon their age old stance and take flexible stance taking into account the “changed world scenario.”

I happened to see this 45 minute documentary about Kashmir made by Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, an eminent Pakistani Nuclear Physicist and a graduate from MIT. Even though I disagree with him at couple of places in this documentary, this is the best documentary I have seen about Kashmir made by a Pakistani. This documentary takes you through the entire Kashmir issue starting with the partition of India. This documentary narrates the sufferings of both Muslims and Kashimiri Pandits due to this conflict.

In the first part of the video, Dr Pervez talks about the hatred, people of India and Pakistan have for each other. It also talks about how the now “infamous” rigged election of 1987 saw the rise of freedom movement in Kashmir.

In the second part of this documentary, it narrates how Pakistani army turned the unrest among Kashmiri people after the rigged election into its own advantage by sending out fighters to fight a proxy war against India.

Third part talks about how extreme religious venom is injected into the minds of young children in Pakistan in the name of Islam that translates as hatred towards India. This part also has some rare videos of Lord Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

The fourth part recounts how both countries become a nuclear power and what forced Pakistan to invade Kargil soon after Pakistan became a nuclear state. It also has the interview with Amanullah Khan, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader, who narrates how Pakistan has hijacked the Kashmir freedom movement.

The fifth part of the documentary reminds us of the dangerous world we are living in and also gives some probable solutions to Kashmir issue that may not be acceptable to all parties. One thing I like to disagree in this part of the video is the reference to how minorities are treated in India which is totally false.

Overall a nice documentary and I will give a 7 on 10 for the effort of Dr Prevez Hoodbhoy. Hope there are more people like him in Pakistan who could analyze events in an impartial way.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Let Us Not Give/Pass A Judgment On The SNC-Lavalin Case, As Yet!

(The intention of this post in no way to support Pinarayi Vijayan or others accused in the SNC-Lavalin Case but to question the trend in the media (both print and visual) and the common man to pass judgment on the cases involving politicians even before the various courts in the country give its final judgment.)

Kerala Governor R.S Gavai gave permission to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC-Lavalin case involving certain charges of corruption. Now it is going to be a bitter fight in the various courts before a final verdict comes out in this case.

The court is going to look into this case soon. But the media (both print and visual) and people opposing Pinarayi have already passed their judgment – corruption has occurred and Pinarayi is the culprit. It has been a feast for the last few days for the media to bring more and more spicy stories in this case and it will continue till Pinarayi resigns from the post of CPI(M) state secretary. Why are the media and people jumping to the conclusion that they are guilty even before the court gave its verdict? It is said that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Why is this not applicable to cases involving politicians?

We don’t learn from previous mistakes also. Take the case of Bofors Gun deal. Based on a CIG report the then opposition parties made an allegation against Rajiv Gandhi and his government that he got kickbacks in the Bofors Gun deal. The media started the role of investigator and judge and passed the verdict that Rajiv Gandhi was corrupt. The majority of the people in India believed these stories and voted him and his government out of power in 1989. After few years the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi. He was not alive to hear that verdict though. Did any media that carried pages and pages of allegation against Rajiv Gandhi openly apologize for their action? I don’t think so.

Another case that comes to my mind – ISRO espionage case, that happened in Kerala in early 1990’s. I remember reading in all the prominent newspapers including Mathurbhoomi, Manorama, Kerala Kaumudi colorful stories (some were even good to be a C blue film) describing how the prominent scientists from ISRO slept with the two ladies from Maldives and in return sold sensational information to them. The stories were narrated such that who ever reads it will believe it. The incident was such a political hot cake that it resulted in the resignation of then Chief Minister of Kerala, K Karunakaran. The intention of the media was a war against Karunakaran and they succeeded when he resigned.

But have these people who brought out the stories thought about the lives of those prominent scientists against whom they were alleging all kinds of crap? These allegations destroyed the lives of few scientists and families. The media who acted as judges in this case made us believe that spying has in fact occurred. After few years the various courts of the land came to the conclusion that no spying had ever occurred and all the stories going around were pigments of imagination of someone. Did any news media that claims to have a social obligation ever apologize for publishing all these stories? Did the media that did irresponsible journalism get punished for it?

I don’t know much about the merits of the SNC-Lavalin case. I know Pinarayi Vijayan and few officials of Kerala Electricity Board are involved. The prey for the media is now Pinarayi Vijayan like Rajiv Gandhi in Bofors Case or K Karunakaran in ISRO espionage case. Media will write all kinds of stories to fill in their pages and increase circulation and in that process force common man to make judgments based on newspaper reports. I believe this should stop. If a verdict is passed based on the findings of the media then why do we need various courts of law? Let us always keep this in mind, “a person is innocent until proven guilty”.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Meet LAL- The Multifaceted Film Personality of Malayalam Movie Industry

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If you are asked to name the most successful film personality in the Malayalam film industry right now what could be your answer? The answer has to be Lal, the director cum actor cum producer cum distributor who has only success stories to tell. All the movies he directed turned out to be super mega hits, majority of the movies he produced/distributed are in the list of super hits and as an actor given so many memorable performances.
Paul Micheal alias Lal started his successful journey in Malayalam film industry in 1989 when Siddique and Lal teamed to make the movie “Ramji Rao Speaking” (remade in Hindi as Hera Pheri). “Ramji Rao Speaking” was released at a time when no producer or director dare to make movies without Mohanlal and Mammotty. “Ramji Rao Speaking” has a debutant hero (Sai Kumar) and a cast that was not that popular at that time. The movie was so different and fresh that it became a mega hit. It was remade in many other Indian languages. Here is a clip from the movie “Ramji Rao Speaking”.
The very next year Lal and Siddique teamed up to make another movie “In Harihar Nagar” that narrates the story of four young men and their mischief. “In Harihar Nagar” was a much bigger hit than the “Ramji Rao Speaking” and the director duo of Siddique and Lal proved to the world that success of “Ramji Rao Speaking” was not a fluke. Here is an excellent comedy scene from the movie “In Harihar Nagar”.
The third movie Lal and Siddique directed is considered as the biggest hit of Malayalam film industry. The movie is “God Father” and it ran for one complete year in theatres of Kerala. It recites the story of a feud between two families but the narration was so different that people just loved that movie. If you are asked to watch that movie again and again all day I am sure you won’t feel bored. Here is a compilation of comedy scenes from that movie.
For the first three movies, Lal and Siddique never casted the super stars of Malayalam movie – Mohanlal or Mammotty but for the fourth one “Vietnam Colony” they casted Mohanlal. The trio of Mohanlal, Lal and Siddique did wonders in box office and movie “Vietnam Colony” was a big hit. The comedy scenes of Mohanlal and Innocent in this movie were mindboggling. Here is a excerpt from that movie.
Jagathy Sreekumar and Innocent, two gifted actors of Malayalam teamed up with Siddique and Lal for their fifth hit movie “Kabuliwalla”. That movie brought out the best of Jagathy and Innocent and as always like their other four movies this one also turned out to be a super hit. Here is a piece from that movie.
After the success of the movie “Kabulliwalla”, Siddique and Lal decided to part ways with Siddique concentrating on direction and Lal diving into other areas of film making like production/distribution. Lal produced the movie “Hitler” with Mammotty in the main role, directed by Siddique and it became a big hit. This movie started Lal’s journey as a producer. He has a long list of super hit movies under his belt as producer – Friends, Thenkashi Pattanam, Kalyanaraman, Thommanum Makkalum, Chandupottu to name few.
Director Jayaraj offered him role villain in his movie Kaliyattam in 1997 and that started Lal’s journey as an actor. Since then he has acted around 50 movies giving some memorable performance as an actor. He is one of the very versatile actors who can do comedy or serious roles with ease. Here are few videos that show his versatility.
From Movie “Thommanum Makkalum”
From Movie “Chandranudikunna Dikkil”
From Movie “Punjabi House”
The year 2009 saw the come back of Lal as director. He wrote the screen play and directed the sequel to “In Harihar Nagar” named “2 Harihar Nagar” that turned out to be a big hit.
Lal’s acting career reached new heights when he was selected the best actor for the year 2008 by the Kerala Government for his sterling performance in the movie “Thalapavu” directed by Madhupal. Lal portrays the role of a police man who was forced to kill a naxalite during the emergency time and how that incident haunts him later in the life. A must watch for those who love good movies. Here is a scene from the movie “Thalappavu”.
Waiting to see many more hits from LAL. Let us pray to almighty to give him strength and health to give us all more and more great movies that we can cherish forever.
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Friday, June 05, 2009

Comedy or Tragedy – You May Decide


Often you get a lot of forwards and emails from your friends in the name of comedy/fun that really test your patience. We may all think how the creators of these emails have so much time at their disposal to think about this and create such an email. I used to get a lot of them and the other day I got such an email from one of my friend in which he had mentioned that it was he who wrote those ones. There are thousands like this going around in the internet and the feeling I had after reading these cannot be explained in words.

Here are few of them. Once you read these you will understand the feeling I went through.

-- Lipstick sticks to lip but drumstick does not stick to drum!

-- Daylight is the light of day but Limelight is not the light of lime!

-- Grasshopper hops over grass but clodhopper does not hop over clod!

-- Underpart is usually found under but counterpart is not found in a counter!

-- In a vineyard, you can find vines but court is not found in a courtyard!

-- Weathercock moves in the direction of weather but shuttlecock does not move in the direction of shuttle!

-- Twosome means two but handsome does not mean hand!

-- Greenwood is in green but rosewood in not in rose!

-- You pluck hazelnut from hazel, but you cannot pluck chestnut from chest!

-- An eyeglass could be on an eye; but a sunglass could not be on the sun!

-- Goldsmith works with gold and locksmith works with lock, but will smith does not work with will!

My friend didn’t stop there. In another email he sends this one. This time he didn’t claim that he wrote this one. So someone somewhere has created this one and is going around in the internet.

Other than being fruits, what is common between an Apple and an Orange?

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try, try, try

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the answer is ..........

They Both Are Not Banana !!

I showed this to one of my colleagues and it took more than 30 minutes for him to come out of the shock. I wish the people who create these “PJ’s” use their energy for creative efforts.

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