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#DudeTravels


 

Jewellery ads and election posters dominate the 'Stick No Bills' part of our walls! ‪#‎Thrissur‬

Jewellery ads and election posters dominate the ‘Stick No Bills’ part of the walls! ‪#‎Thrissur‬

"You are not a Malayalee if you haven't travelled on these #KSRTC"- Jacobinde Swargarajyam

“You are not a Malayalee if you haven’t travelled on these #KSRTC”- Jacobinde Swargarajyam

Election campaigns are on full swing! #Aluva

                              Election campaigns are on full swing! #Aluva

I was sweating profusely throughout the day. The humidity levels were simply unbearable. Global warming is more than evident in these parts of the world. To tackle it, more air conditioners are added and it’s just a one-way route as far as Global warming is concerned. May God save our planet.

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1

Is Premam worth all the ‘hype’?


I was in Trichy last week. And to escape from the brutal Trichy summer (which makes the tar melt in double quick time on the roads and where people do not need a gas stove to make egg omelettes), we decided to hit the shopping mall for ‘AC’. I was just about casually humming the melodies that were being played inside, when my ears, arteries and veins lit up. It was ‘Malare‘. The same ‘Malare‘ which took Kerala by storm. The same lyrical brilliance which tests one’s pronunciation skills, something which a Non Malayalee might find hard as gargling a marble. So, how did ‘Malare’ make it to the playlists of non Malayalees, Tamilians in particular?

I have lived all my life in Trichy and it is very rare that a Malayalam film is talked about, forget even getting released. I wouldn’t blame the city and its people for it. There is a good number of Malayalam speaking people, who like the many I have seen, prefer Tamil over Malayalam. And so, even if, all the celestial bodies align and a Malayalam film gets released, it will definitely run to near-empty audience. But this is where Premam stood out. Defying all the laws, Premam was re-released in Tamilnadu and the film was a run away hit when it was screened at LA cinemas in Trichy. The film ran for over 250 days in Chennai’s Satyam cinemas. The funnier part is in Kerala, the film’s intended audience, the film didn’t cross 160 days.

Pic Courtesy: Muzik 24*7

Was it the merely the Nivin Pauly phenomenon? Or did the story bowl the Tamil audiences? I’d say its a mix of both, though the story, screenplay and the costumes were the clincher. Nivin Pauly is the most sought after hero in Malayalam, closing in on the levels of Mammootty and Mohanlal. His boy-next-door roles that became blockbusters in Malayalam were gleefully accepted in Tamilnadu. His bilingual ‘Neram‘ fared reasonably well at the box office and was critically acclaimed here. ‘1983‘ and ‘Bangalore Days‘ were much talked about in Chennai. And slowly, people started following his films. Chennaites fell in love with his ‘Oru Vadakkan Selfie‘. It is at this backdrop that ‘Premam’ hit the screens in Chennai and Coimbatore. From what was initially thought to be a Nivin Pauly entertainer, the film transcended boundaries and made its characters, household names.

When you talk about ‘mass’ scenes, our films have shown us the cliched image of a hero beating down a herd of villains, sometimes in gravity-defying stunt scenes, supported by some killer background music. Or as some of the Telugu and mindless Bollywood films showed us about bikes and cars toppling, with the hero coming out unhurt. Obviously, lakhs and crores were splashed to shoot these ‘mass’ scenes. What Premam did was quite simple, like how some Russian chap suggested the usage of a pencil over a fountain pen inside a spaceship. College students aged 21, sporting a beard and a rayban glass, dressed up in a Black shirt and a ‘mundu‘, would be walking while raising their legs to wind up the ‘mundu‘. Add to it, Rajesh Murugesan’s killer background music and the slow motion shots. Just that. That’s it. No guns. No knifes. No broken beer bottles. No sharp weapons. What we saw on screen gave us goosebumps. You felt like you could throw up twenty villains at a time. You felt energized. You felt you could yell ,”Screw you” to your boss. This was the real ‘mass’ scene. Of course, we have seen Mohanlal stylishly do that before. Mammootty adventurously did it in Rajamanikkam. But this was equally effective on screen and was of a different level. They are college going guys. The film was catered to the age group of 18-25. And they went amok. Every Tamil speaking person who saw it, could relate it. ‘Mundu‘ or ‘Veshti‘ is their traditional attire as well. They had seen such a scene at least once in their life as well. (Wonder why Narasimham and Rajamanikkam didn’t become a rage in Tamilnadu. The scenes were equally mass).

'Mass'

  ‘Mass’

After watching it umpteen number of times, I can easily say that without the ‘Malar‘ part, it would’ve remained a normal Malayalam film. It wouldn’t have taken Tamilnadu by storm. It wouldn’t have prompted some of my Tamil speaking friends to learn Malayalam. It wouldn’t have bridged the gap between the two industries and more importantly, the fans. The character was laced on reality. A Saree wearing teacher without make up is what you see in a normal college in Kerala and Tamilnadu. The concept of a student falling in love with a teacher is not new. You have seen a Malar and George. You have seen love stories in campuses. You have seen love failures and broken hearts. Alphonse Putharen simply showed us what we’ve already seen and heard. There was nothing new. But it was all about the way the scenes were conceived and shot. The depiction is completely non-filmy. The dialogues were raw, nothing of the cinematic stuff were included. And people liked it. In the end, people like to see on screen what they see in real life, unadulterated. Give them raw, they will definitely like it. Tamil audiences too, deserve films likes these often. Hopefully, the film makers note it.

So, is Premam worth all the hype? Not really. It’s a just a love story in different stages of a guy’s life. But extraordinary elements are the cinematography, direction, dialogues, background score, ‘mundu’, ‘mass’ scene and ‘Malare Ninne Kaanadhirunnal, Mizhivegiya niramellam maayunna pole

 

5

#BoycottKerala??? Get lost, aliya.


The #BoycottKerala spiel has been drawing excessive media attention over the past few days. A campaign which has been planned for July 26th, is to protest against Kerala Government’s plan to get rid of stray dogs. Kerala Government, which off late has been taking decisions that has surprisingly grabbed extensive national media coverage, has decided to respond strongly to the increasing dog menace in the state. Statistics tells us that a staggering 1600 cases has been reported since 2014. Though the subject can be debated upon, as is the case with any Government decision, I was furious after reading the reactions hatred pouring in from the other states and countries.

Maneka Gandhi, as she does always, stepped in. Animal welfare board fellows, who wouldn’t shell out a penny for the beggars at the traffic signals, are organizing this event. I don’t know whether that lady Pamela Anderson’s PETA has spoken on this yet. Herds of social media folks on Twitter have started trending #BoycottKerala, a plan to boycott travelling to the God’s own country if the order is not revoked. Some well mannered specimens, have even gone to the extent of questioning Malayali’s patriotism citing the ‘Gelf’ factor. Killing a dog–>Dubai settlement–>Patriotism. Wow, someone must be supremely talented in ‘Connect the dots’.

If these animal welfare board animals really care for the dogs, why don’t they just come and adopt them. What are they waiting for? There were reports of a stray dog biting 15 people in a single day in a town in Ernakulam. And these animal lovers have nothing to say for these. Bloody hypocrites. It’s easier to advice than follow the same. To those of you who wish to boycott Kerala, you are really welcome to do so. Our backwater beauties will remain the same. Our lush green cover throughout, will remain the way it has always been. Our way of life will not change. So, we do not give rat’s ass to your boycott.

“Avante oru Boycott samaram”.

Photo courtesy: @orionchampadi from Twitter

Photo courtesy: @orionchampadi from Twitter

So how am I going to respond to the #BoycottKerala campaign? Well, I’ll take the Malayali route. i.e offer ‘Pongala’ on their facebook page. Maria Sharapova. Mitchell Johnson. Ah, we’ve done that successfully before. Avante amme de………..

 

 

 

8

Travel- The green and serene Wayanad


Just when I thought that 2014 was ending on a boring note (like the year itself), I headed to Wayanad on the 26th for the annual festival in our family temple. Wayanad has always been a fascination right from the childhood- for the lush green coffee estates, for the wisps of smoke from the mouth in the nights and for its absolutely nature-friendly setting. I’ve always cherished my visits and every visit made me feel envious of my Dad, who grew up here. Can you imagine a world where people do not have time for smart phones, social media and digital life? Those people exist in Wayanad. And that’s why I love to come over here again and again. We, in the city life, are struck between complexities and often end up complicating stuff, instead of keeping it simple. I think that has been one of my interesting learning whenever I’ve traveled to these mountains far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Soak in the serenity of coffee estates

Soak in the serenity of coffee estates

Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Costa.. it all starts from here :-)

Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Costa.. it all starts from here 🙂

Our family temple in the middle of a bog

Our family temple in the middle of a bog

Talk about Symmetry!!

Talk about Symmetry!!

When I am on road, the possibility of bumping into offbeat locations are always a thrill. There are travelers everywhere, so the only way you can carve a niche for yourself as a traveler, is by taking the road less traveled. So we drove our way to the scenic Krishnagiri International Cricket stadium. This one would mislead anyone into thinking as if he were in a country side in England and New Zealand. With so much greeneries all around, the stadium is so picturesque.

Panoramic View of the Krishnagiri International Cricket Stadium, Wayanad

Panoramic View of the Krishnagiri International Cricket Stadium, Wayanad

View from the Media Centre in the stadium

View from the Media Centre in the stadium 

Other pit stops in the trip were the Phantom Rock and Regional Agricultural Research Institute, Ambalavayal. Not many would have Phantom Rock in their itinerary. It doesn’t give you the impression of a potential tourist spot, for reasons better known to the Tourism board. But it presents a beautiful view from the top, of the other rock structures and of the vast greeneries around. The climb to the top is as thrilling as the rock itself.

Phantom Rock, Wayanad

Phantom Rock, Wayanad

Gatecrashing the Regional Agricultural Research Institute was another understanding that this hilly town is so much in love with its flora and farming. Its an eye opener for the rest of the lot to preserve and respect nature. It was worth spending the last few days of 2014 in Wayanad. Needless to say, I feel a sense of freshness as we head to 2015.