So there was this tag on Facebook that I did sometime last year. Since I don’t want it to get lost in the abyss that is the FB timeline, I decided to put it up in my blog. Here goes, a 10-day movie tag where I had to post 10 images of films I liked or which had an impact on me. It wasn’t easy to come up with just 10, but I tried. I wasn’t required to post the name of the movie there, but I am doing it here.
Day 1/10 – Apoorva Ragangal
Impact? My first born shares her name with the female lead in this movie. Here’s what I wrote about this movie. Or specifically, Sri Vidya in this movie.
Day 2/10 – Thoovathumbikal
Clara – A raincloud ready to soak you in a deluge of impossible longing or leave you pondering over existential questions about that raindrop sliding down her nose; you’d happily drown yourself in the ocean of her kohl rimmed eyes and then wait for a telegram out of nowhere. Elusive. Letting go is a sacred art. And she perfected it
.Jaikrishnan – He of the grand old Tharavad, the green Maruti car and a feudal streak. ‘Ice itta narangavellam’ and Chilled Kingfisher. Also of bar fights and a sounding board for a pimp. Of a classic romance along temple walkways and an unconventional one sparkling with passion and midnight swims. Which of his two lives was the real one? And which one died when that train left Ottappalam?
Rain soaked letters and a background score that haunts you like a festering sore on a madman’s leg.
Clara, Jaikrishnan, and the rains. I don’t think I will ever be able to let them go. Or get over the urge to sit down and write a letter to a nonexistent someone every time it rains. Padmarajan
Day 3/10 – Namukku Paarkkaan Munthirithoppukal
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? If Jaikrishnan and Clara made an appearance, can Solomon and Sophia be far behind?
I fell in love with white picket fences after I saw those two get to know each other across one. Who knew the Bible could be this interesting? Or that a red tanker lorry could be such a romantic ride? There was always something romantic about vineyards. But now, I wanted to wake up early next to one and go see if the grapevines had budded; if the blossoms had opened, and if the pomegranates were in bloom.
And then there was Paul Pailokkaran. I don’t think anyone on screen has made my skin crawl the way he did. He embodied repulsiveness in all its vile perfection. It’s a tribute to the genius of Thilakan, when you say how much you hate – nay- loathe Sophia’s stepfather. He was a blot on the innocence and idyllic perfection of that gentle love story.
But it was no ordinary love. It bloomed to last. Often called one of the best love stories portrayed in Malayalam cinema, it endured the worst to ride away in the aforementioned red tanker lorry, far ahead of its times.
Johnson Master’s scintillating score, both with the songs and the BGM, will see to it that you can never get away from those vineyards – not that you want to. And once again, Padmarajan
Day 4/10 – Gandhi
His life was his message. But to me, he existed only in the dry pages of newspapers and magazines, and the dryer pages of history textbooks. Sir Richard Attenborough brought the man to life. I watched it for the first time as an eighth grader. And like a thousand others, I wondered how a man such as him could have walked on earth.
I had a tough time picking a single scene to represent this movie. There are so many that stay with me. But I would say that as a child, the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre scene was definitely the one which left the most impact on me. That weIl… I lived the horror as it unfurled on the huge screen before me.
This movie is a reminder of what my nation survived, and of the man who led Her through some of Her darkest days. And during certain times, some movies are more relevant than others. As are the lives of some Men.
Day 5/10 – Schindler’s List
The late 80s and early 90s was when I developed an interest in holocaust literature. I devoured books and articles which spoke of it and tried to wrap my brain around the fact that humans could actually behave so inhumanly towards other humans. This movie was released around that time.
I watched it renting the video cassette from a local video lending library. What I saw on the small screen itself was enough to give me sleepless nights, even though back in those days without subtitles, I did find it difficult to follow all the dialogues. But the stark black and white images were horrific enough. And through all that, what shone through was that shred of humanity and goodness that refused to be crushed; that strove to make a difference, at least in the lives of 1200 people.
The movie stands out among others like the little girl in the red coat – that one shot of color in a B&W movie.
Day 6/10 – Meghamalhar & Pakshe
Yes, two movies this time.
I have a thing for the What Ifs? and If Onlys. Both these movies somehow go together for me.
The theme is a pretty well-worn one, but these movies stand out. Maybe they rank among my favorite movies because of the bonus fact that both of them were shot in Kanyakumari district. Seeing those familiar paths, the green, green fields, the coconut trees, the flower orchards, those much loved mountains, the forts, the lotus ponds, those rocks, that sea… everything looked wonderful on the big screen. The songs are great too.
#1 Sooryamshu from Pakshe was featured in our wedding video.
#2 Satheesh Nair fell asleep ten minutes into Meghamalhar. There I was, sighing over Biju Menon and Samyuktha bonding over nostalgic memories and here he was, snoring away to glory. I kept prodding him in the ribs through the movie (a tad viciously, I’ll admit), to stop the unwelcome background sc(n)ore.
Day 7/10 – Sarvakalashala
I searched YouTube for a clipping from this movie to post here. But I ended up watching almost the whole movie. That’s what this movie does to me. I have lost count of the times I have watched it and every single time, the laughs feel fresh, as does the heaviness in my heart in some of the scenes.This movie is an endearing ode to campus life and the best one (I swear) in the genre, in Malayalam.
There is a whole generation that identifies itself with this movie, and the dialogues… they are still being quoted chapter and verse. If I think about it, it does not really have a solid plot line. Just a handful of very realistic incidents that could happen on the campus of any college, strung together by the tragi-comic genius of Venu Nagavally.
Campus life and friendship must have been very close to his heart. The camaraderie that shines through his characters is touching. There’s laughter, there’s tears, and some very, very poignant movements. The priest professors’ rivalry and their witty war of words, the petty rivalry among students, campus love, all the mischief of hostel life, late night drinking binges followed by profound poetry, enduring friendships….
The movie is a mishmash of everything that just drops you right into the most happening moments in college, Highlights include Fr. Kuttanadan’s Malayalam literature classes, Chakkara’s Venu Nagavally transformation and short lived intellectual aspirations (I loved how the director made fun of himself here), the poet played by Nedumudi Venu and his poetry… I could go on. But let me stop here and go watch the rest of it.
And it is movies like these that make me reflect on what a loss Jagathy’s absence has made to Malayalam cinema. Irreparable!
PS: Sarvakalashala. It’s not just a movie. It’s an emotion.
Day 8/10 – Deshadanam
This is one of those movies. It takes your heart, clamps it down between the jaws of a vise, grabs the handle that tightens the jaws, and turns, and turns, and turns… there is no letting go. And great songs too.
Day 9/10 – Adaminte Variyellu
One of the most powerful women oriented movies I have ever watched. No cliches, no preaching, no glossing over, no justification.
Three women from three economic/social backgrounds. Each one a victim of the patriarchy. Each one in her own private hell. In the end, only one seems to find some kind of resolution – the one from the lowest class.
Probably Director KG George’s best. And a power packed cast to boot!
Can’t honestly say I ‘enjoyed’ the movie. But disturb me, it surely did.
Day 10/10 – Quayamat Se Qayamat Tak
Well, I was 17