Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Movie Review of Ennum Eppozhum

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The Story Frame

Ennum Eppozhum is the story of  Vineeth N Pillai a senior correspondent with a women's magazine called Vanitaratnam and Advocate Deepa, a single mother. The movie revolves around these two characters on how their lives cross each other's path.

Vineeth N Pillai is a lousy and laid back senior writer who is always prone to be late and unorganised in personal and professional life. Life changes for Vineeth with the entry of his new boss Kalyani who is a hard core professional who wants immediate compliance on every matter she asks for. He is left with only one option to save his job by getting a interview fixed with the firebrand advocate Deepa for Vanitaratnam's special edition.

Why Advocate Deepa is hounded by the CEO of a real estate and how her personal life takes an unprecedented twist, forms an important part of the storyline.

Cast: Mohanlal (Vineeth N Pillai), Manju Warrier (Advocate Deepa), Innocent (Kariachan, a retired post master), Usha S Karunagapally (Rosy, wife of Kariachan), Leena Abhilash (Farah, Deepa's friend), Reenu Mathews (Kalyani, the new editor in chief of Vanita Ratnam), Baby Advaitha ( Mia, Deepa's daughter), Kalpana (Bindhu, a ward member), Renji Pannicker (CEO of GM Builders)

Genre: Drama

Language: Malayalam

Story: Raveendran

Direction: Sathyan Anthikad

Producer: Anthony Perumbavoor

Production Company: Aashirvad Cinemas

Cinematographer: Neil D'Cunha

Music: Vidyasagar

Singers: P Jayachandran, Rajalakshmy, Harishankar, Binny Krishnakumar, Vijay Yesudas

Film Editing by: K Rajagopal

Screen Play by : Ranjan Pramod

Distributors : Maxlab Entertainments (Kerala), Four Brother's Release (India), MAS Film and Entertainment Ltd (Europe), Achu and Achu's Creation (Australia, New Zealand & Singapore), Aashirvad (UK and rest of the world)

Theatre Release: 28th March, 2015

Duration: 147 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

What happens when two versatile actors unite on screen after seventeen years? The expectations soars and the film pundits dares to predict it to be a super hit. But if that is what you think, then it doesn't happen here with Ennum Eppozhum. It has turned out to be a damp squib with its over simplicity, without having a strong plot to hold the audience curiosity and interest. Its main villain GM Builders CEO (Renji Pannicker) is more into buffoonery than being villainous.

Kalyani, another character played by Reenu Mathews appears to be too opinionated about Vineeth N Pillai a feature writer for Vanitaratnam, a magazine for women. Though, we are made to believe that it could be probably because of his laid back attitude and unorganized appearance in crucial business meetings of the magazine. But then Kalyani has returned from abroad and claims to have done a lot of research work for the magazine and is also been appreciated for her contributions in bringing changes which translated into an increase in its circulations. If so, why does she fail to realize and observe that Vineeth N Pillai is a main feature writer and all his main features has been savored widely by the readers in the past and it still continues so. It happens so, that in one of the frames Vineeth is seen conveying this quite vehemently to his self proclaimed boss who and what he is ? What ones fails to understand about Kalyani is her change of heart towards Vineeth N Pillai in the second half of the movie. A  dove-eyed Kalyani is seen falling for him and it only confuse the audience further whether the plot is going to have a twist. Don't know why it was attempted at all?

Kariachan (Innocent, the retired post master and his wife Rosy (Usha S Karunagapally) steals the show by being the most lovely old couples on earth. They do generate a few chuckles in the movie. Jacob Gregory as Mathan, the dumb and moron photographer who is also a voyeur fails to tickle the funny bone by his antics. Kalpana as Bindhu a ward member keeps you in splits, though her cameo appearance is distinct but bit overboard.

Lena Abhilash as Farah has nothing substantial to contribute to the movie. She is also portrayed going through a rough patch in her marital life. Does Satyan Anthikad needs more than one woman to generate the viewers' emotion towards hapless women in marriage.

Manju Warrier is bang on  in the skin of Advocate Deepa. Her conviction, positivity towards life and people around her as a divorcee is outstanding. But then it is high time she explores into different characters with a background that doesn't reflect her own shades of life. Is it an attempt by the film makers to take mileage out of her happenings in personal life to draw the audience into the theatre? Advocate Deepa bottled and shaken well as an artist, an activist under the media lens, fiery lawyer, single mother and a scooty-borne bold lady who takes on the real-estate-mafia nexus is served as a cocktail to the audience. It is actually an attempt to take the viewers for granted.

Another important flaw in the movie is the scenes where she is shown practicing her dance on the terrace of her home with high-rise buildings at the backdrop. But surprisingly most of the scenes show her entering her independent small villa which stands lined up with other villas on either side of the colony road.

Mohanlal's Vineeth N Pillai is quite comical and a laid back  character. Vineeth's morning chores in the office washroom do add some fun but he is over all clumsy throughout the movie. Just to justify his fight scenes the filmmaker makes a desperate attempt to show him as a boxer in his young days.

A Satyan Anthikad movie surely could have been better... May be next time.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating:  2/5

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is 'I' a Misnomer?

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Is the word "I' a misnomer? I often ponder on the concept of 'I'. In the daily walk of life, it is quite obvious that 'I' is considered to be singular in terms of grammar and common sense. So to doubt or to think about it may appear to be insane. But many would agree that we human beings are unique in our profound curiosity to know about ourselves. From where do we come? Where do we actually belong too? How are we formed? How different are we from other species? There are so many more questions to be answered and explored further.

Scientific studies says that human beings are similar to other living organisms. Fossil and molecular evidence support the belief that the human species, no less than others, evolved from other organisms. There are also studies that list 7,500 named parts of the human body. Even a minimal list comes up with 60 individual organs or pairs of organs. This large number of names itself gives us an inkling about the complexity of the human body.  

So even in biological respects I am not 'I', I am 'We' or the collection of 'Many'.

When we peep into the social arena, it is quite interesting to notice that from the birth to the last breath, the very existence of a human being is because of the collective contribution of the society. The language 'I' speak, the subjects 'I' learnt, the services and products 'I' use, the family name 'I' carry, the religion/belief  'I' follow... what not, every bit of 'I' is a representation of 'Many'. But still, we are so blind to proclaim and define our accomplishments to be our own, be it ordinary or extraordinary. The 'I' in us is so formidable that it doesn't acknowledge the 'Many' that made the 'I' an achiever.
When I walk into the professional sphere, where I often get easy entry because of my corporate trainer's tag, I get baffled by the self disposition of many leaders as the one and the only 'I'. Their egos are bloated to the extent that they may burst. They are intellectually sound, experienced and successful even then they fail to see that the 'I' is an illusion or cajolery that people create or practice around them to meet their vested interest.

The salary they draw, the work they get done, the visibility and their salability of the product and services they dole out, their brand as an organization... what not, everything is because of the customers and people from the lowest to the highest rung in the organization.

When people say I made a speech, a sale, handled the project successfully so on and so forth, I really doubt whether it is the achievement of 'I' per se or of the 'Many'? There is nothing an individual can do by his own, it is his misconception. Whatever the individual does is backed by an army of apparent and unapparent factors, elements and forces that make it happen, which is already there.

The awareness of this very fact can only make the 'I' believe in the power of 'Many', both visible and the invisible. Somewhere, I contain myself in my own way of perceiving things and unfortunately it is in tandem with the majority which also contain the 'I' and not the 'Many'. So the whole effort of human being is to justify the existence of 'I'. Therefore, there is a  disconnect with the collaborative existence and growth of human species. UG Krishnamurti says , that travelling destroys many illusions and strange as it may seem it also creates new illusion." We are stuck up with the 'I' so much that we don't feel the urge to move from there to see the many illusions get destroyed about 'I'.

What makes the emergence of 'I' so formidable? Is it because the 'Many' in me is so cohesive, harmonious and in tandem with each other that it gives an impression of  'I' being singular and not plural. Is it that in my singularity lies hidden my plurality?

The moment 'I' understands this very fact - then I am not in conflict with the other; I am not egoistic and self-centered; I am not a sole achiever; I am not only 'I' rather - I am you, he, she and they; I become seamless; I am not racial; I am not a religious antagonist.... because 'I' find my  'I' in many and the 'Many' in my 'I'.

Isn't I a misnomer? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sieved Thoughts are the Best Thoughts

Quest for a meaningful life
Many of us grapple with the thought of how impossible it is often to remain positive in all aspects of life. Though it sounds to be very appealing, many of us have miserably failed to remain so. We also agree that it is indeed very important to be positive in life to be successful and lead a meaningful life.

This is nothing new but the age-old lesson, which has been diligently, transferred successfully generation to generation. But isn’t it something which none of them sincerely confided that many of them were not able to do so often in life?


Be choosers of thought

What makes our thoughts so powerful that makes us fall prey to its simple tricks? Don’t we have the power to select them and allow only those thoughts to influence our deeds and moods? Are we mere creators of thoughts and not choosers of thoughts?

As the old saying is “Never think bad, never do bad”! So what is it that one can do, not to think badly? Is it to resist the thought’s flow into one’s mind? Or is it to use a big hammer to suppress/ strike hard on the thoughts whenever it springs up from nowhere?

But if we resist or suppress our unwanted thoughts how do we select the good amongst the bad? How do we opt for the best when there are no options to choose? It seems we need to rewrite the age-old maxim into “Think everything but act only on the best”!

Rendezvous with Tukaram
Why do we need to think everything and select only the best? I shall leave this question unanswered till I share what I learnt from my experience with ‘Chaiwala (Tea maker) Tukaram’.

The dusty road and the way-side small tea stall where people used to gather to have a sip of flavored tea in the earthen cup had been a favorite spot for me to mingle with the villagers. What often caught my attention was Tukaram’s skill of making the tea. He would deftly put his cupped palm into the rusted tins filled with sugar and tealeaves and throw them into the boiling teapot. Simultaneously he would pickup some crushed green leafy herbs and ginger and repeat the act. He did this act even without looking at the pot and never even once missed the pot. The boiling tea in the pot would reach the brim many times and Tukaram would skillfully save the tea from spilling over by timely picking it up from the “chulha” (earthen stove burnt with charcoal and dry sticks). He would then pour tea into the earthen cups through a sieve and offer them to his customers. I still remember Tukaram’s smile when he saw his customers sip the tea noisily and always made a point to ask them “Chai achi hai na?” (Hope the tea is Good?) Content with his preparation and the customer’s admiration for him he would happily empty the sieve’s contents into a broken earthen pot kept nearby.


Discard the sieved waste

What is so peculiar about Tukaram’s tea making? It is not Tukaram or his making of the tea but his approach of making the tea is of interest. On being asked what makes his tea so tasty he said, “Arre bhaiyya, ye jo mai fektha hun na, yehi isse atcha bannatha hi”! (“Brother, what I throw away (the sieve’s waste contents) is what makes it so tasty!”) “Ye swaad in sab ka nichod ka natheeja hi” (“The taste is the essence of what I have used to make the tea”).

Let me revert to the question left unanswered; why do we need to think everything and select only the best?


Think everything

Think everything so that you can have the choice to select the best through the process of sieving the thoughts. It is the combination of the good and the bad, the positive and the negative, the dark and the bright thoughts that make what we think today. The role of all these shades of thoughts are equally important because without them Tukaram (our Mind) would not feel the importance of holding the sieve, pouring the thoughts that come naturally into our mind, and throwing away the sieved contents that make the best thoughts.


It is not always positive but the best

Let us not forget that it is not necessary that all the sieved thoughts would be positive. It could be the best but not always positive. The sieved thoughts can be a sad thought amidst your failures but has the strength to hold you close and say “yes, comrade face it, learn from it, grow from it, and improve upon it”. The sieved thoughts can also be a happy feeling amidst your many victories but also has the conviction to say close to your ear that “comrade be grounded this is just the beginning so be focused don’t get wavered for this may tend to be your last achievement”. That is why I would like to call the sieved thoughts the best thoughts!


The Mantra

So it is not what we think is important but what we select out of what we think is important.  The mantra to be successful in both personal and in our professional front is to pick the pot timely often when the mind is full of thoughts so that it does not spill over into action without being sieved and extinguish the fire itself as well as create trouble to the recipients. Sieving is in other words nothing but customizing our thoughts in order to excel in this competitive, and fast paced market. Finally, sieved thoughts are the best positive thoughts to attain ever-higher levels of performance both in personal and professional life for every individual in this world.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Sitting in the darkness of a sparsely occupied theatre watching 'Coffee Bloom' by a debutant director (Manu Warrier) took me to a roller-coaster thought ride, which was triggered by a dialogue played amidst the background score, "There is nothing more fascinating than clarity".  Sometimes a song, poem, movie, book, an incident or for that matter anything can elevate us to a pedestal of blissful thoughts and introspection. And it was happening there in the theatre with me and it prolonged and still linger while I write this article.

What is 'Clarity'?
Is it the realization that dawned upon a prince coming face to face with the reality of sickness, old age and death that lead him to renunciation? The journey of Siddhartha from  a well-guarded palace to the solace of the Bodhi tree of Buddha. 

What is 'Clarity'?
Is it a question asked by a village boy to his father Kishan Singh - Whether they can grow guns like crops in the field? The journey of Bhagat Singh to be one of the most influential and revered revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement.   His letter to his parents to  avoid getting married stating - "My life has been dedicated to the noblest cause, that of the freedom of the country. Therefore, there is no rest or worldly desire that can lure me now..." The bold and blunt response to the threat to his life by the Britishers saying - "They may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas". Is there anything more fascinating than clarity?

What is 'Clarity'?
Is it what Arunima "Sonu" Sinha realize on the hospital bed of  All India Medical Science, New Delhi that there is more to do with her life. A national level volleyball player who was shoved off from a moving train by some thieves in 2011. Run over by a train she was rushed to a hospital only asked to be taken somewhere else because of no facilities to save her life.  With serious leg and pelvic injuries the doctors had to amputate her leg to save her life. Abandoned by friends, neglected by authorities, humiliated by the sports ministry by offering a paltry sum as compensation, constantly questioned and casting doubts on the veracity of the accident by the media Arunima decides not to get deterred. While still being treated in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, she aims high to climb Mount Everest. Under the guidance and coaching of Bachendri Pal , the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest,  Arunima became the first female amputee to scale Mount Everest. She was honoured with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India this year (2015). Her book' "Born Again on the Mountain: A Story of Losing Everything and Finding It Back" narrates her unforgettable story to the world.

What Is 'Clarity'? What is my clarity, your clarity, her clarity and his clarity? Are we still groping in the darkness? Can our 'Clarity be fascinating to us and to the whole world?

Seeing the small is called Clarity.
Keeping the flexible is called Strength.
Using the shining Radiance,
You enter the Light,
Where no harm can come to you.
This is called Enlightenment.    
By Lao Tzu (c.604 -531 B. C.)