I’m pretty sure Kamal Haasan had a 100% say in deciding the title of the film. “Papanasam”, meaning “Destruction of Sins”. Such an apt title for the movie, just like “Drishyam” was for the Malayalam original.

When the film certification card read “180 minutes”, it might have left people wondering “3 hour movie in this day and age when most movies end in less than 2 hours?!?!?!”. At the end of it all, the director left us wanting for more. What a movie, Director Jeetu. Take a bow.

Bharadwaj Rangan said, and I quote, “I feel intensely jealous of people who saw Papanasam without seeing Drishyam”.

Papanasam

Papanasam

Papanasam is not a Rajnikanth movie. So there’s no 100% assurance that the protagonist will win in the end. And that’s what keeps Papanasam pacey throughout, except the first 30-40 minutes when the “normal” life of a normal man in the countryside is depicted.

Kamal Haasan as usual excels there. Suyambu Lingam Annachi’s “Nellai Tamil” slang is such a treat to listen to. Let me try and recollect the different slangs he has aced in his stellar cinema career – Kovai slang in “Sathi Leelavathi”, Madras Baashai in Vasool Raja, Pammal K. Sammandham, Aboorva Sagotharargal and numerous other movies, Brahmin slang in Avvai Shanmukhi, Vishwaroopam, etc, Palakkadu Tamil in “Michael Madana…”, and the list will go on. The fact remains that few actors in the world can show this sort of range in language and acting.

Niveda Thomas who plays Kamal’s first daughter in the movie might have earned a few thousand fans in Tamil Nadu through this movie. That girl can act.

Suyambu Lingam portrays the “family first” mentality to perfection throughout the movie. The climax scene where he breaks down ought to be one of the best pieces of acting in World Cinema. If Kamal Haasan doesn’t get an Oscar in his acting career, whose loss is it? Kamal’s or the Oscar Award’s?

Jeetu Joseph and his script are the real heroes in the movie. The movie would have been a hit even if a Sarathkumar or Arjun had played Suyambu Lingam. The fact that Kamal played it is an added treat to the fans.

Having seen both Drishyam and Papanasam, there might be questions about who is the better actor. Mohan Lal or Kamal Haasan. In my opinion, in terms of acting, they are both great (and out of this world). No scope for comparison. But it’s in the other aspects of Cinema (Screenplay, Direction, Dance, Singing, Stunts, etc.) that Kamal Haasan has outperformed his co-star from across the border, throughout his career.

“Alwarpettai Andavaa”, one small request. Your fans prefer 3 Papanasams in a year compared to having to wait for 3 years for a Dasaavathaaram or a Vishwaroopam. More Papanasams, please!

P.S: you might want to read my review of Drishyam, here.

You know what’s the best part about Mythology? Anyone can take the core elements of an epic, add two tablespoons of imagination and three teaspoons of their own interpretation to make a great recipe under the genre called Fiction. The Ramayana my grandmother told me would be slightly different from the one you heard from your grandmother. I’m not sure what was the Ramayana that Amish’s grandmother told him but what Amish has decided to tell his grandchildren is a completely different one, full of his own dose of inventiveness. What’s more, he’s managed to pull off a recipe that will be loved by all and will leave his fans wanting for more.

Scion of Ikshvaku

Scion of Ikshvaku

I had the privilege to meet Amish in person early this month, in a chapter reading event held in Delhi. He didn’t out-rightly call “Scion of Ikshvaku” a work of fiction but acknowledged that at many a place, it would have “his own interpretation” of events from the Great Epic. 10 pages into the book, I knew what he meant.

Most people who spoke of Amish that day touched upon his attention to detail. Right from the font of the book to the colour of the clouds in the book cover to the agenda of the book launch function, he has had a contribution everywhere. People who’ve known him told he’s always been this way. My admiration for the author had only gone up.

The book opens with these lines written by Khalil Ghibran:

“Parents are like a bow, and children like arrows. The more the bow bends and stretches, the farther the arrow flies.cI fly, not because I am special, but because they stretched for me”

“Scion of Ikshvaku” is not actually based on Ramayana. The two works just happen to have a lot of coincidences. :) For example, Ram is born to Dashrath, married to Sita and goes to Vanvaas for 14 years. Core elements like these are same in both the works. Almost nothing apart from that, is. Which is why, “Scion of…” is unputdownable according to me.

There are story-tellers. There are master story-tellers. Then, there is Amish. He is one of the very few authors who manages (effectively) to move a story through dialogue, rather than narrative. I like that about his writing style. And surprisingly, there is a lot of humour intertwined in the dialogue throughout the book, especially the parts leading to the adolescent phase of the four brothers. Humour is used even in the most serious of scenes. If an author has an innate sense of humour, it is bound to reflect in his work too.

Ram wasn’t the perfect man. He was the perfect follower of rules. It is this aspect that keeps coming back, again and again, throughout the book. The way different scenarios pan out to put Ram into a dilemma whether to follow his dharma or choose a practical solution, is explained very beautifully in the book. Ram, of course, stood by his dharma. Now, don’t call this a spoiler. :P

We see very little of Hanuman in the series opener. Of course, 4 more books to go. Look forward to how Amish portrays my favourite God.

“Scion of Ikshvaku” will go down in literary history as the opening act of an epic interpretation of the Ramayana, much like Cho’s “Valmiki Ramayana”, Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas, Devdutt Patnaik’s “Sita” and thousand other interpretations of the epic across centuries.

Long wait for the sequel has already begun.

P.S: You might want to read my review of “The Oath of the Vayuputras” here.

Writer’s note: The review is full of spoilers. Advised not to read it if you haven’t watched the movie and plan to, in the future.

“Manoranjan (Kamal Haasan) comes to know that he has only few days to live. So he decides to make a film in which he’s immortal.”

What a one-liner for a movie! I was floored.

Uthama Villain

Uthama Villain

This time last year, we were exposed to a few first looks of the movie and the anticipation kept building. My old room-mate (who too is a Kamal veriyan) had the “Mrityunjaya jaya jaya” music as his ringtone.

Sadly the movie didn’t release in Gurgaon (Why does this always happen to Kamal Haasan)! So after two months of release, I managed to watch it today. I consciously kept myself away from reviews and news articles about the movie because I knew I was going to watch it anyway, and didn’t want any exposure about the movie, so that I could completely enjoy it when I finally watch it. Which I did.

I refused to believe the people who called Uthama Villain a boring movie. I knew Kamal Haasan was not going to disappoint us. And with K. Balachander playing a key role, I was going to watch it anyway, even if the entire world told me the movie was bad.

And what a delight it was! The five things that stood out to me were: Kamal Haasan (the actor), Kamal Haasan (the singer), Kamal Haasan’s story,  K. Balachander’s acting and Ghibran (the music director).

The film tries to portray the personal life of a public figure, how difficult it can be, sometime to succeed both in personal life and in your profession (art in specific).

The film “Uthama Villain” within the film is a comic relief with Nasser, Gnanasambhandham and the other minister providing ample support to Kamal Haasan, the comedian! What is this artist not good at! __//\\__

Things which could have worked against the movie are its running legth and very poor animation (the Tiger looks like a cartoon).

Nevertheless, the movie to me stands out because of the lead actors’ performances, the irony in the script and its music.

The film ends with these lines: “Saaga varam pol sogam undoa! Theera kadhaiyai kaetpaarundo!”

Fortunate to live in the Kamal era.

Wait begins for Paapanasam.

“நல்லதோர் குடும்பம் பல்கலைகழகம்” என்றான் கண்ணதாசன்,
அதற்கு எடுத்துக்காட்டு எங்கள் KG என்கிறேன் இந்த நித்தின் ஸ்ரீனிவாசன்!

ஒரு மாதம் இருக்கும் இந்த Whatsapp குரூப் ஆரம்பித்து,
ஆனால் நாம் கற்ற விஷயங்களோ தொள்ளாயிரத்து பத்து

ராகவன் மாமா மூலம் கர்நாடகா -வை ரசித்தோம்
சித்தார்த்தின் கேமரா மூலம் கொடைக்கானலில் வசித்தோம்

அம்மாவின் மொக்கை Forward -களை படித்தோம்
KJ பெரிப்பாவினால் பழங்களின் நன்மைகளை அறிந்தோம்

விஜி ஆன்ட்டி இடம் ஆங்கிலம் கற்றோம்
பரத் மூலம் கால்பந்து ஞானம் பெற்றோம்

MRVS அத்திம்பேரின் வீடியோ -வை பார்த்து வியந்தோம்
பாப்பா அத்தை share செய்த பழைய போட்டோக்களை பார்த்து மகிழ்ந்தோம்

நந்து பெரிப்பாவின் கவிதையில் மெரசல் ஆனோம்
விஜயன் சித்தப்பாவின் எழுத்துக்கு அடிமை ஆனோம்

ரமேஷ் பெரிப்பாவை நினைவு கொண்டோம்
விஜயன் சித்தப்பாவின் தரிசனம் கண்டோம்

மைதிலி பாட்டிக்கு பிறந்தநாள் வாழ்த்து பாடினோம்
ரவி பாலுவின் கதை கேட்டு வாடினோம்

என்னையும் ஒரு கவிஞன் ஆக்கிய KG -க்கு நன்றி

நித்தின் ஸ்ரீநிவாஸ்

The song “Ekadantaya Vakratundaya” was originally sung by the legend-wait-for-it-ary singer Shankar Mahadevan. I’ve heard it a zillion times at Amrita University, my Alma Mater.

Sharing a Karaoke I recorded a few months ago! Listen to it and share your comments. Brick-bats most welcome!

Related post: Lord Ganesha – a hobbyist’s delight!
https://meluhanmuggle.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/lord-ganesha-a-hobbyists-delight/

Om Ganeshaya Namah!

My Firsts! Nostalgia…

Posted: June 13, 2015 in Diary
Tags:

Triggered by a relative sharing his list of “firsts” in a Whatsapp group, I share my list of firsts here…
Memories are awesome, aren’t they!

First cycle – in class III (Thatha’s gift)

First live cricket match – Ind vs Pak 1999 @ Chepauk (Yes, THAT HEARTBREAKING MATCH)

First failure – Class VI

First full length vocal concert – 2002 (in Mama’s marriage)

First movie I watched twice in Theatre – Baba (2002)

First real friend – 2003

First movie with friends – Anniyan (2005)

First award – 2006

First Music CD released – 2006

First time on flight – 2007

First visit to my blog – July 2, 2012

First day away from home – July 2008 (first day of college). Seven years now!

First blogpost to receive 1000+ Visits – written on Dhoni in May 2013

First (and only) book published – September 2014

First sight of snow – Feb 2014 (Lachung Village, Sikkim)

First sight of frozen waterfalls – Feb 2014 (Zero point, Sikkim)

First complete night out – July 2012

First (and only job) – April 9, 2014

First experience of eating self-cooked food – April 2014

First experience of white water rafting – April 2015 (Rishikesh, Uttarakhand)

First experience of Paragliding – May 2015 (Bir-Billing, Himachal Pradhesh)

In loving memory of Ramesh Perippa

Posted: June 11, 2015 in Diary
Tags:

This day last year, God decided it was your time, your time to go!

Why He chose you, I would never know!

I remember seeing you in March last year,

Alas, I didn’t know then, that your end was near!

You always wore that wide smile on your face,

Making any place a happy place!

You treated me like your son,

With your calm demeanor, many hearts you won!

You were a man of few words, I realized

But no doubting the fact that your heart was king sized!

To your family (us), you were a silent guardian, a watchful protector,

We all loved you as you were.

To the common man, Jolarpet is just another station,

For KG though, it will be remembered as the abode of their most loved Son!

We love you Ramesh Perippa.

Even though you can’t say it, we know you love us too!

 

11th June 2015

In loving memory of Ramesh Perippa

 

It’s good that “Kaaka Muttai” has released with English subtitles, for it’s not a film that deserves to reach only the Tamil audience. Addressing the issue of urban poverty and cheap aspirations of the urban poor, it is a landmark film in Indian cinema. The director hasn’t gone out of the way to force comedy tracks into the story. Rather, they flow seamlessly with the script.

Kudos to Dhanush and Vetrimaaran for encouraging such scripts to make it to the silver screen. Unlike mainstream cinema where there are certain scenes placed in the movie to please every section of the society, Kaaka Muttai doesn’t have a single scene or dialogue that is not needed for the flow of the movie. No wonder it’s so short in running time: less than two hours.

It’s a single line story. Two urban poor kids go on a mission to have Pizza from a Pizza outlet.

Kaaka Muttai

Kaaka Muttai

Screenplay is the real king, followed by the lead actors – the two kids, their mum and the two sidekicks who ensure you laugh your ass off in every scene they come.

Everyone knows Dhanush and Simbhu have become close friends. It’s evident in the movie too. There’s a guest appearance from Simbhu, there’s once scene where the kids see a film scene  from a Simbhu flick and there’s another scene where there’s a reference to the random controversies that are spun on him.

Kaaku Muttai makes you laugh and makes you think at the same time. MUST WATCH!

Being active on Twitter has its benefits. I had pre-ordered “Scion of Ikshvaku” on Amazon and answered a few contest questions, and bang, landed myself an opportunity to attend a meet-and-greet event with the Author himself. I was elated.

With hopes of getting to know more about the Ram Chandra series, I reached India Habitat Center at Lodhi Road.

Few live tweets from the event follow:

Now, time to keep calm and wait for June 24 (expected date of delivery of the book) to enter the mystic world of Lord Ram!

Following my guru Bhaskar ji’s footsteps, I tried to live tweet my two day trip to Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj last weekend.

Tweets in chronological order follow:

And here’s the link to the shortened video :)

Read about my trip to Sikkim, here.
Relive my whitewater rafting experience at Rishikesh, here.

Know more about the trek to the mightly Velliangiri peak, here.

Some three years ago, I remember attending Nexus 2012 in Chennai. I had a lot of questions in mind about IIM Shillong. And Nexus was a great platform for people like me to get their doubts cleared from the Seniors. Prasanna and I were the only two people from the incoming batch of 2012-2014. We were completely outnumbered by our seniors and super seniors and “superest” seniors. I remember sitting there amid all of them, listening curiously to their chatter. They spoke about a lot of things related to IIM Shillong, which was Greek and Latin at that time but made a lot of sense after we reached there. I also made a few connections from the super senior batch who continue to stay in touch till date. It’s a simple yet brilliant concept. Nexus. Get a set of people together who have at least one thing in common. IIM Shillong. My Alma Mater. I attended Nexus 2015 in Delhi today. Attendance from the senior batches (my batch and my seniors) was surprisingly very less. But there were at least 10-15 prospects of PGP-15 batch who were in attendance. Somewhere while interacting with them, I realized how time has flown in these three years, from the day I attended my first Nexus till today. Over these years, my responsibility towards my Alma Mater has also increased. To be able to live up to the expectations of an IIM Shillong Alumnus! image

Three months ago, we also had a more formal Annual Alumni Meet at Delhi, called Mélange 2015. The event had our Director and our esteemed Professor Sanjeeb Kakoty in attendance. As Kakoty sir gave us updates about the changes in the Institute, the flashback of the good old days at Shillong replayed in our minds. Alumni Committee had also made a beautiful video about Life at IIM Shillong, with mini talks from our favorite faculty. It was a tear jerker, literally. image

Ah, how I miss that place! Shillong.

Janani

Posted: May 15, 2015 in Friends, Janani, Joker's Project, Mother
Tags:

I first met Saurabh sometime in December, almost 5 months ago. Even at that time, I remember him telling me he has been working on a track called “Janani” for a few months.

Janani - Mother

Janani – Mother

Well, it’s finally here, It’s worth all the effort Saurabh and his team has put into this project! The visuals, Yatin’s voice, Saurabh’s composition all make this a soul-stirring timeless masterpiece, dedicated to all Mothers.

An original, fresh and awesome work of art. A must watch!

There are followers.

There are fans.

And then, there are maniacs.

When it comes to the Chennai Super Kings, I fall into the third bucket.

The company I work for is one of the sponsors and the official e-Commerce partner of the Chennai Super Kings for this edition of Indian Premier League. So when I got to know there was a  meet and greet function organized, where we’d get a chance to meet a few CSK players, I wasn’t going to miss it!

Paaru and I reached the gates of ITC Maurya, realizing (as we walked to the entrance) that we were a bit over-dressed for the occasion.

Right at the entrance near the reception area, I spotted Ishwar Pandey, Pawan Negi, Mohit Sharma and Russel (the CSK manager who is hyper-active on Twitter). With players so accessible, I though it was going to be a great evening. Realized later that I wasn’t disappointed.

All three players were into their phones. Talk about heights of technology overdose. Just for a moment when Ishwar Pandey looked up, I seized the opportunity to request him for a pic. He obliged. We wished him good luck for this IPL campaign and clicked a selfie with him.

With Ishwar Pandey, Chennai Super Kings

With Ishwar Pandey, Chennai Super Kings

Just when I was about to meet Mohit Sharma, a bouncer whose biceps would have made Dwayne the Rock Johnson jealous pushed me aside with a stern look. “No more pictures”. That’s all he said.

Shortly, the players vacated the reception area, still deeply engrossed in their phones.

A little while later, I bumped into Irfan Pathan near the loo. “Irfaaaaan, big fan!!! One pic please”, I exclaimed. “Hi (looking into his phone), give me a moment. I am trying to figure my things out”. And off, he vanished.

After 2 futile attempts of giving those big players a chance to get pictures clicked with me, I gave up.

The event kick-started at 8 pm. The CSK players made it to the stage with a huuuge roar from the crowd. Non-stop whistles as Mike Hussey, Suresh Raina, Ravi Ashwin, Irfan Pathan and Ronit More made it to the stage one by one.

Hussey wore that infectious smile all through the evening. What a gentleman! Ronit More was a sub for Sir Jadeja who was initially slated to attend the event. Raina, Ashwin and Irfan Pathan didn’t miss a single opportunity to kalaaichify (make fun of) Ronit More. Ashwin called Ronit the upcoming Waqar Younis of India, while Raina and Irfan set him up with a girl, who made him blush all through the evening. Hussey and Ashwin played Dumb Charades with loud cheers from the audience. Irfan sang a couple of songs. Raina judged people from the audience who went on stage to enact their favorite “Sholay” scenes, Sholay being Raina’s all time favorite movie. Raina and irfan enacted a few scenes too.

To see the CSK stars laughing their hearts out just a day after a thumping defeat against the Delhi Daredevils was a lesson in itself.

The crowd was well organized and all of us got a chance to get clicked with the CSK lions.

I managed to say, “Huge fan Sir!”, to Mike Hussey who was sitting in the corner. He smiled back!
Something I can tell my grandchildren. “I have a pic with Mr. Cricket!”.

Mike Hussey, Ravi Ash, Ronit More, Raina and Irfan Pathan, Chennai Super Kings

Mike Hussey, Ravi Ash, Ronit More, Raina and Irfan Pathan, Chennai Super Kings

An evening with the Chennai Super Kings that I’ll remember for a long time!

Photo with a Dhoni standee is good enough

Photo with a Dhoni standee is good enough

I love the concept behind which YourStory.in was started. There are hundreds of media houses, newspapers and forums that cover already successful startups. Stats show that only about 1 in 10 startups succeed or stand the test of time. Who covers startups that are yet to hog the limelight? The startups that are still finding it challenging to establish themselves among peers/competitors who are thousand times bigger? No one, literally.That’s why (and how) YourStory was born. Let’s talk about YourStory and Shradha Sharma some other day.

Today, I’m covering one of those budding startups, called Gharofy.com, which offers a plethora of products that come under the Home & Garden category.

As soon as I visit their website (www.gharofy.com), the first thing that strikes me is their simple and elegant UI. The colors are predominantly black and white and the CTAs (Call to Action) are very evident and stand out.

They offer products in five main categories: Kitchen pack, Housekeeping pack, Bedroom pack, Study room pack and stuff for rent.

The catalog comprises a good few hundred products. The biggest categories are Kitchen and Housekeeping. There are only a few tens of products available in the other categories. “Stuff for rent” is a welcome addition, promoting need based usage among consumers without having to spend a fortune for a new product (Most products under Stuff for rent were “Out of stock” at the time of writing this blog though).

Prices are competitive for many products (compared to similar products in Fabfurnish, Pepperfry, Flipkart, etc.) but is on the higher side for few of them. They currently deliver products in and around Bangalore. And COD is the only payment option available as of now. They guarantee delivery within 48 hours and even promise a refund of Rs. 500 if this SLA is breached, which seems cool.

Gurgaon, followed by Bangalore are the top cities that have a migrant working population. That way,  I think Gharofy has hit the nail on its head by choosing Bangalore to start their business with. I’m sure they’ll expand to rest of India and scale up their Product catalog soon.

So are you just setting up your home in Bangalore? You could give Gharofy.com a try.

By the way, if you haven’t read the earlier posts on Startup Diaries series, you could read them here: PepperTap, Zomato

With every passing day, the fear inside me keeps growing. The fear of not being able to recollect the eventful four years of under-graduate life. The best days of my life. Can’t believe it’s already three years since college got over. Time flies. And memories fade.

Sometimes (rather most of the time), we tend to get preoccupied in the chores of everyday life and work, that we fail to relish, recollect, reminisce the beautiful days from our past. When we are 75 years old and sitting in an easy chair by the balcony sipping a cup of coffee, it is these memories that’d be left with us, to be shared with our children/grandchildren. Memories matter the most.

NIT Surat Final year students have come up with a brilliant video depicting four years of college life. Watching it, I was literally transported 7 years in the past, to the initial days of college life. Through the video, I relived my four years of engineering college life in its entirety. Watch it. I am sure you will, too. It doesn’t matter if you are from NIT Surat or not.

The background music for this movie was scored by our very own talented Saurabh Lalwani. I’ve played a few bits in Violin too.

Enjoy!