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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ship of thesus Review

this is one film I had wanted to see for some time now ,
I have been reading rave reviews and watching stunning visuals of this  English Hindi Indian made film by director Anandh Gandhi 
 It has a strange title the Ship of Thesus ,
nothing to do with a ship wreck or any such mundane action possibilities ,
this one is a very cerebral take on an age old philosophical paradox Greek in origin called the Thesus paradox ,here the question is if parts of a ship are changed is the ship still the same or does it become something new !
or say mending an old sock by knitting its holes so much so at a time all of the sock is newly mended holes will it be the same old socks or a new one !
that s a catch 22 situation if any right ?
 this really engaged me and I wanted to see the film if for nothing else to see the work of someone who had this out of the box thinking !
Anandh Gandhi brings his Thesus paradox with the subject of  organ transplants !

There are three small storylets in the script and all three protagonists meet at the end though unknown to each other but for the audience 
the common denomination of course is the organ transplant they all have !
now the paradox by the director and his reason for naming it as the ship of Thesus is does the person with a new organ still stay the same old person he or she was or do they become someone  else !

The first part is of an extremely brilliant young lady photographer eneacted by Aida Elkashef who is visually handicapped and takes her photographs fine tuning  her auditory inputs as she weaves around Mumbai s crowded markets and among st its busy roads her fine ear catches subtle sounds and her camera lenses click for her to make prize winning photographs ,later she has a corneal transplant and regains her vision and is now able to see the world and her subjects clearly but in the process loses her intuition sense which she had earlier in abundance  and wonders if her photographs turned a subtle duller !

The second part of the film  is the one I loved .
Its about a young intellectual  very rational and handsome Jain monk who enters into intelligent debates on existential philosophy of life and non violence with an adolescent lawyer boy who is part of the monks judicial fight against pharmaceutical companies who do violence to animals as part of their research ,
the discussions are lively and intresting and way above dialogues one can expect from Indian films ,I found shades of Satyajit Ray in his Shatranj ke khilari here .very satisfying indeed .

The monk unfortunately gets diagnosed with advanced cirrhosis due to a liver disease and is adviced for a liver transplant .
Like any othe Jain monk may prefer he decides not to go for a transplant but to  attain bliss by starving himself to death 
to him a transplant  from the very establishments his war is waged upon goes agsints his grain 
so the ,the long barefoot  march  the monk and his close disciples take  to a suburban monastery  where he would continue his  fast is a poem in visual excellence ,
the photography is stunning specially seen in Bluray and the freezes are mindblowing ,
one needs to appreciate Pankaj kumar the cinematographer for his skills 
Neeraj Kabi the stage actor who does the role of the monk is said to have starved himself for days for the film and lost 17 kg ,he becomes a bag of bones with bedsores and slowly sinks into almost non living ,
the actor almost did it in real life and his breaking of the fast after the movie was an event by itself 
what dedication 
,in the last moment before death realisation dawns on him and he conveys his wish to go to hospital and later has a transplant  eventually he lives after the transplant too 
surely a new person !

The third part is enacted by Soham shah an actor who also produced the movie he plays  a stock broker who had a kidney transplant but learns that a poor bricklayer living in a Mumbai slum was the victim from whom the kidney was stolen !
he traces the bricklayer in his crowded tenement and concrete slum only to find that he himself was not its recipient but a foreigner living in Stockholm
he travels to Sweden to get compensation for the donor 
in the final scene all three of them come for a meeting of transplant receivers and the film ends .

Though the film has stunning visuals excellent performances and rare insights of a director it also projects a slightly off beat approach  favored by those with a penchant for avant garde fashions 
something like a modern art painting which people appreciate so that they dont feel left out !
were the creators of this movie subconsciouly attempting this !

 ,this is one element I did not appreciate much and felt the raves for the movie was a bit Emperor   without clothes syndrome  ,
in parts specially the monk story it is brilliant and overall the theme is awesome .

so I would ask all of you to see this rare film and rave if you want
 it is a very good film but not the most best film made by an indian
 I dont agree with such adjectives for this film as there have been better films too 
incidentally the makers have been kind enough to make it available free online even though the movie is still running  in theaters for a wider reach 
definitely it should be seen
so please see and let me know 

I acknowledge the photos taken from online and if any one objects shall remove it 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Punyallan Agarbathis ( Saint Incense sticks)

Kerala with its weird hartals and arrogant labour has a poor investment climate ,
movies have been reflecting on this time and again but the malayalee watches them and has a good laugh and nothing changes .
Punyalan agarbathis is one more in the genre like Panchavadi palam by,or Sandhesam or varavelpu by Sathyan Anthikkad .
In this new movie Jayasurya is a smart talking enterpruener who dreams to make incense sticks from elephant dung and sell it worldwide ! ,
he almost carries it off but Kerala is known for putting a spanner to any enterprise and so it does to this one too .
a humorous interlude but at the same time highlighting the irony of a state full of literate people but run  by unscrupulous politicians  .
real good watch specially the excellent Thrissur slang which reminded one of another movie called Pranchiyettan .
Jayasurya shows his talent in his  glib talk and looks the part well .
the film is slick and sensible
special mention on T.G.Ravi who makes a sober character and does it with aplomb while his son who is usually a notorious villain dons a comedy role of a driver who looks brawny but is a really a mammas boy who bursts into tears often

please do see it .

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

chip from childhood

To the whole world chips is made of potato popularly called  french fries ,fish and chips or KFC,Mcdi burgers  with fries or any self respecting fast food would have those yellow calorie filled addictives which any Gym instructor or dietitian would frown upon and swear as the worlds greatest evil but evil things are always tempting in life and so are chips .
But Kerala has always been different in everything ,the malayalee was known for frying anything that comes in his way  be it fish or banana or tapioca or even bitter gourd !
but to him the banana chips made out of nendrakaya either raw or ripe fried in pure coconut oil is unique .

To the purist chips lover it should be coconut oil or nothing else ,though these days in Kerala specially in southern and central parts palmolein and sunflower oils are used to fry them but the taste is definitely poorer .

Kozhikode or Calicut is the home of chips and another delicacy called halwa which was said to have traveled to kerala from the Arab countries during their maritime trading days or it may be the other way round as Oman was known for its halwa 
Chips centres in Calicut have existed for ages and have huge cauldrons of boiling oil where shirtless and sweating hairy men with curly hair and mustaches peel long fat bananas and slice them at times straight into the oil at times after  soaking them  in salt water with a pinch of turmeric to make them get their golden hues 
Buying chips involved a lot of tasting too as one could get handfuls as sample and my childhood hobby was to get samples from several shops and buying from none !
Slowly the trademark of Calicut chips started migrating to other places .
Ernakulam too had its own Malabar chips near south Railway station where there was always a big crowd of people with suitcases to pack them for their journeys in trains or  cars to airports too would stop there in the last minute
 I know as I always do this as chips is an excellent gift to give to your friends .
in The national highway to Palghat from Ernakulam once you reach Wadakancherry there is a huge line of chips shops though good it never met my standards of quality though the chips from Alathur SNR chips shop almost did .
chips is an importan item in all Sadyas or feasts of Kerala be it weddings or onam or vishu and there is a specific place for vartha upperi and sarkara upperi in the plantain leaf 
My childhood is  filled with the smell of chips !
Knowing my passion for chips my grandmother Karthiyayani amma would send for Chozhi our all time man friday 
"chozhi mon  ethi thaan poyi kuttiyappude kadennu kayavarthu vangigko
 ( our boy has come go get the chips )
my grandfather thampuran would mumble avende vayaru kolavum
 ( that means his stomach would be a mess )
I would wait for the brown paper bag to be delivered and would tear it open to feast on it and this would continue with grandma replenishing the stock as soon as  it got over
 luckily those days me being as thin as a reed
 ( unbelievable right )and nobody talked of dieting like now it was alright to do such things !

before we returned to Madras the big mansion  would smell of boiling jaggery and jack fruit for making jam and cashew nuts from our trees  fried to be packed for us along with ripe and unripe mangoes ,jackfruits sappotas and so many other things in sacks 

once we got into the Mangalore mail with all our sacks deposited by grinning faithfuls we would wave Parappangadi good bye but to me it was more expectation as I waited for Tirur just two stations away where my fathers relatives waited with packets of what else chips and halwa knowing me 
lovingly they would come to me calling Hari hari chips undu tto ( brought chips for you )

and so we would reach Madras with enough chips to start a small shop and I would jealously guard the yellow gold from my mother who had a large hearted penchant to donate it to our nosy neighbors who would barge in asking
 Hari chips enge ?( Hari where is the chips )
Even to this day whenever anyone from my family come from India the only thing I ask them to buy for me is a packet of my dear chips 
thsi chip from my childhood  came to me now  because I got a packet of chips from Philipines of all places !and a friend commented on my strange passion for what else CHIPS

( I acknowledge and thank for some  photos from online )

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