What did I like about Aami?

Throughout his career, director Kamal has been known to pick up challenging topics in his films. Be it Perumazhakkalam or Karutha Pakshikal, his films dare to speak about things that often filmmakers won’t address. Even when it came to biopics, he brought in the same passion to tell important stories, such as that of J.C Daniel in “Celluloid” and now it is ‘Kamala Das’ in “Aami”.

Having recently seen Aami on ZEE5, I thought it would be a good time to discuss elements of the film that really caught my eye.

Before that, one needs to know about the person it is based on – Kamala Das/Kamala Surraiya.

Image Courtesy : Facebook

Madhavikutty / Kamala Suraiya

Kamala Suraiya, born as Kamala Das was a  well known literary personality from Kerala, often bit controversial though in her writings and actions. She was born into a well-known family of literary personalities. Her mom Balamaniamma was also a well-known poet.  Madhavikutty’s writing was always bold and honest. Few times her works’ and outlook attracted criticism from various quarters. Madhavikutty ran into controversy when she decided to accept Muslim faith, changing her name to Kamala Suraiya, at the age of 65.

Things that caught my eye in Aami

Image Courtesy : Wikipedia

In Aami, Kamal went for the slightly slower narrative, a departure from his usual style. Considering how controversial Madhavikutty’s life was, the movie had a liberal dose of drama too. But what set it apart was the semi-fictional approach it went for. Just like Madhavikutty did in her autobiography Ente Kathe/My Story, director Kamal uses elements of fiction and fantasy to thoroughly explore ideas and themes that Madhavikutty stood for in her life.  

The other main highlight of the film is Manju Warrier, for obvious reasons. She is a great performer and you could witness glimpses of that in so many occasions during the film. Manju has done full justice to the protagonist role of Kamala Das, breathing life to a layered character with finesse. Other actors that shine in this movie are Murali Gopy, who plays Kamala’s husband, Madhava Das and Tovino Thomas who plays Lord Krishna.

Also, the director was successful in recreating the bygone era. As the story travels to different places like Mumbai, Kolkata and rural Kerala in different eras, the world Kamala built felt very real in the movie. Major credit for that goes to the makeup and costumes which fit the period’s actual style.

The film, to a certain extent, justifies the life of Madhavikutty. Her conflicts, struggles and quest for true love. An interesting take on the film is the role of Tovino Thomas as Lord Krishna. As someone who is looked upto to fill the lonely void in her life, Madhavikutty always loved Lord Krishna. It is how Kamal captures this sense of loneliness within Madhavikutty is what stands out. Scenes between Kamala and the Krishna effectively showcase the inner struggles she goes through. Even, the songs have been well placed and add up the pace to the movie. Also, though the movie has a non-linear narration, the way Kamal narrates it makes it interesting.   

In short, if you enjoy Kamal’s films and are curious to know about Madhavikutty’s life, watch Aami. This movie features one of Manju Warrier’s good performances in recent times.  

Sumeru launches Michelin star Alfred Prasad Gourmet Range of Dishes

Sumeru Frozen Foods, who is changing the face of how frozen food is perceived and consumed by catering to the new age ‘Fast & Fit’ consumer , has recently launched Michelin star Alfred Prasad Gourmet Range of Dishes in a Gala event at Chennai. The event was witnessed by the Who’s who of Chennai.

With Celebrity Chef Alfred Prasad and Influencer friend Sarath Babu

Association with Michelin star Alfred Prasad!

Alfred Prasad was the youngest Indian to have a Michelin star at the age of 29, and he retained the accolade at Tamarind for12 years. He is on of the most celebrated Chef across globe, chef kitchen curator for Lords stadium and a very active member & contributor to Great British Chef(GBC). He is also well known for his social work in many countries including India, is ambassador for foodcycle (working against food wastage ) and had raised money for  Action against Hunger in Rajasthan.

Now AP range is a unique and never tried before attempt not only in Frozen food but in any food category in India uplifting  Brand Sumeru way above the competitions. It follows Chef Alfred philosophy of 3 H’s “Health, Heritage & Happiness. The cooking process & unique packaging technology (IQF) ensure nutrients & flavors are retained. All the ingredient used are fresh, locally sourced and personally chosen by Chef Alfred Prasad. And another point to be noted is there are no added color, flavors or preservatives

I am sure that Alfred Prasad’s range of signature dishes from Sumeru will take the consumer experience for frozen food to a different level.

FIFA World Cup- The Festival Of Malabar: Argentina Brand ambassadors of Malappuram district

15 June Malappuram

By the time I reached Malappuram, two youngsters in Argentina jersey were waiting for me. Mr. Tanvir, my friend from Makkaraparamba, had arranged the meet up.

Mr. Shafiq and Mr. Nithumon were the self-proclaimed Brand ambassadors of the Argentina team. During the World Cup season, in their specially decorated Scooter, they travel to all the interior parts of the Malappuram district, spreading the message and encouraging everyone to root for the Argentina team. They make sure that they cover all the football clubs and they are treated as local heroes, especially at Argentina fan clubs.

Mr. Shafiq told me that they purchased their scooter mainly for the World Cup season. They spent about Rs 1000 for stickering. That evening there was a road show in Malappuram town. These road shows are a mere demonstration of fans’ craziness towards Football. You can see all types of merchandising, flags, bikes and cars decked with stickers and painted in various soccer playing nations’ flag colours. In Malappuram, blue was the predominant color, Blue being the color of Argentina.

Mr. Shiju, a business man, wanted to do something different during the World Cup. So he decided to sticker his two cars. He attended all the road shows related to the World Cup. He spent around Rs 3000 per car for stickering work.

FIFA World Cup- The Festival Of Malabar: Tanvir- ul – Isque: My friend from Makkaraparamba

I met Mr. Tanvir at Legends sports club at Makkaraparamba. He was thrilled when I told him that I had come from Chennai to write about Football. He arranged for photographs of the match that the club had organized. On that day there was supposed to be a huge road show, organized by Malayalam Manorama, one of the leading Malayalam dailies. The road show was at Areekode, some 60 kms from Makkaraparamba. He said he would take me to that place and show the entire proceeding.

On the way we decided to visit Malappuram town and then proceed to Areekode. So we set off for Malappuram town. By the time we reached Malappuram, there were diehard fans waiting for us, thanks to Tanvir. The fans were on bikes and in cars with stickers of their favorite nations. We couldn’t spend much time in Malappuram so we said goodbye to them all, promised to visit them again and headed off to Areekode.

On our return I noticed one strange thing. Most of the people who overtook us were screaming at us. I could hear only Argentina. I wondered what we had done to provoke such jeering. When we stopped mid way to fill petrol I understood the reason. Tanvir was wearing the Brazilian flag as a head gear since it was raining heavily and seeing him attired this way hardcore Argentinian fans heckled us. Tanvir smiled and said they were hard core fans. At last I dropped him off in front of the Club. He had only one question, when is the book coming? Tanvir is the true representative of the football crazy people of Malabar.

FIFA World Cup- The Festival Of Malabar : Crown Fashion Enterprises- The shawl distributors of Malappuram

I met Mr. Manoj and Mr. Anil, two youngsters in front of the Garima stores. They were about to leave with a bag full of shawls that they had purchased at Garima. Mr. Manoj worked for Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. Their company, Crown Fashion Enterprises mainly distributed sports related stuffs throughout Malappuram district. During World Cup season they procured only football-related merchandising. “Football is in our blood” said Mr. Manoj, who is a hard core Argentina fan. In his Argentina jersey, he showed me various nations’ shawls. Messi’s jersey has the highest demand and Mr. Manoj had purchased around 1000 pieces. Other items included Wrist bands, flags, football itself and shorts. I requested for some pictures and within no time Mr. Manoj and Mr. Anil draped their car with various nations’ shawls.

Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Cameo Role In The Malayalam Movie NAAM

So the news is that Gautham vasudev menon is debuting in Malayalam cinema, hold on, not as a director but as an actor!  You read it right,  GVM, as he is fondly called,  was in kochi recently for the official audio launch of forthcoming Malayalam movie “Naam” where he is doing a cameo as “GVM” himself.

Association with NAAM

Naam is produced and directed by Joshy Thomas Pallickal under the banner of JTP films. And GVM had lot of good things to say about the director. “Joshy contacted me and narrated the theme of the movie and I liked it’ says GVM.  The movie narrates the story of 10 friends in their college days. Naam is a musical entertainer, probably a movie with lot of songs after the super hit “Premam”. There are 9 songs in the film and 8 of them are penned by the Premam fame Shabareesh Varma. The music is by debutant duo ” Ashwin shivadas and sandeep mohan “. ” I liked the musical approach of the film”, says GVM  and when Joshy requested me that I should do a role, I was apprehensive in the beginning but then he gave me confidence and I thought I must be part of this good movie.”

140 Plus debutants!

The film has close to 140 debutants and the lead roles are played by Shabareesh Varma, Rahul Madhav, Gayathri Suresh, Aditi Ravi, Tony Luke, Mareena Michael and Saiju Kurup.

Joshy Thomas Pallickal, Gautham Vasudev Menon and Vineeth Srinivasan

The title song Naam is already a hit on the YouTube and the rest of the songs are expected soon. The film is expected to hit the theatres in Jan 2018.

Global Ghazal Project by Sachin Shankor Mannath

Global Ghazal Project is the brainchild of musician Sachin Shankor Mannath that aims at reinventing the sound of traditional ghazal genre for world music audience around the globe. This is by collaborating with international artists, mixing different genres like pop, rock, classical, edm, world music etc, basically aiming at popularising Indian music in a global platform

The project will focus on releasing a series of singles (originals) in the coming months by collaborating with artists all over the world. The first song, Zindagi Mein To Sabhi Pyaar.. is a tribute to the legendary ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan who popularised the ghazal. The song will feature American guitarist Matt Bacon and Malaysian artist Marvellous Vish on Tabla. Sachin has sung, arranged and produced the song while Ishit Kuberkar did mixing and mastering.

Song: Zindagi Mein To Sabhi

Singer – Sachin Shankor Mannath

Music Arranged and Produced – Sachin Shankor Mannath (Genome Records India)

Guitars, Bass – Matt Bacon

Tabla – Marvellous Vish

Recording Engineers – Manoj Raman (AM Studios) , Leroy C Jerson (Le Music Studio)

Mixed and Mastered – Ishit Kuberkar (Sound Potion Studios, Strum Studio)

Original Composition Credits – Nashad (Composer), Mehdi Hassan (Singer),

Lyrics – Qateel ShifaI

Kiruba Shankar’s Adventure With Brands!

I was, as usual , going through my work on Facebook and suddenly noticed this post from my friend Kiruba Shankar.

Kiruba was on his way to Coimbatore, flying with Jet Airways and when he reached the destination, he was received by a shocking news! Jet Aiways forgot to load his luggage. Now Kiruba was visibly angry and upset and he posted this on Facebook.

"Pathetic! JetAirways say they "forgot" to load my luggage. Now, I've landed in Coimbatore and in a few hours scheduled to speak at an elite gathering of over 200 CEOs and leaders. I'm in Tshirts & Jeans. Have to now hurriedly shop for my formal wear from suits to shoes. Unnecessary stress because some lady behind the counter in Chennai "forgot" !!" 

Now Kiruba is one of the leading authority in Social Media and has got a huge follower base. People went berserk , sharing similar stories, sympathising with Kiruba and asking him to tag Jet Airways and lodge a formal complaint.

Couple of hours later Kiruba was back with this post!

He went and purchased whole set of formal ware and shoes and was saying still no clue about the luggage. I had a close look at the clothing and figured out that it was Raymonds, a well known brand 🙂 And hour later his latest post came.

Now his mood has changed from being angry to being awesome! He was sharing how confident he was in his brand new dress. I thought, Raymonds’ slogan is “The Complete Man”, yes a man who feels awesome even after going through the trauma of missing the luggage. Branding is all about this. Creating experiences, play with human emotions!

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