Parvathy can almost single-handedly steal the show!

Malayalam cinema has always had some incredibly talented actresses. The reason being, the industry has seen many films having strong and powerful female-oriented performances.  If it was Sharada and Sheela in 1960-70s, Shoba dominated during 1970-80s. The 1990s saw some great performances from actresses like Shobana, Revathy, Urvashi and Manju Warrier. Meera Jasmine continued the trend in the 2000s and Parvathy can be considered as the one who can showcase fine acting in the present generation.

Last year, in 2017 Parvathy did her Bollywood debut in the super hit Romantic comedy film “Qarib Qarib Singlle” and now ZEE5, one of the leading OTT Platforms in India, is showing “Almost Single”, the Malayalam dubbed version of “Qarib Qarib Singlle”.

Parvathy

Right from her debut, Parvathy’s performance reminded me of some of the powerful performers like what I had mentioned earlier. Undoubtedly, we can say that Parvathy is one of the best performers Malayalam cinema has seen in recent times.

 From the Teenage artist!

Right from the Notebook, the much-acclaimed Rosshan Andrrews film which dealt with the subject of teenage pregnancy where she played one of the three main characters, Parvathy’s career path was steady with good performances and many hits. She was also careful enough to choose films where she had the opportunity to perform. So if we look at her filmography, we can see so many power-packed performances – a luxury for today’s actresses.

Memorable Roles

There are many to choose from. There is the self-confident, wheelchair clad RJ Sarah and her search for true love in the super hit film Bangalore Days. Then, there is the curious girl who goes in search of a mysterious man in ‘Charlie’. She then transformed into the ever strong-willed “Kanchanamala” who sacrifices her life for her love “Moideen” played by Prithviraj ( I feel Prithviraj-Parvathy on-screen chemistry is the best) in the critically acclaimed movie “Ennu Ninte Moidheen” and the strong Malayalee Nurse struggling to escape war-torn Iraq during the ISIS era ( A true story) in “Take Off”.

When you look at her best performances, you see a pattern. In all her roles you see shades of the ever confident, strong and opinionated modern Malayalee woman.

Kannada, Tamil  films

She was equally successful in other south Indian languages like Kannada and Tamil. Her role in the Tamil film “Maryan” where she paired against Dhanush, was especially a memorable one and she was applauded for her performance.

Hindi Debut

When you share screen space with an actor like Irrfan Khan who is an epitome of fine and natural acting, you need to be at your best and Parvathy has done just that in her Bollywood debut movie “Qarib Qarib Singlle”.

In the movie, Parvathy plays a widow leading a loveless, monotonous life and having all the insecurities of metro life. Through an online dating site, she meets this ever charming, happy-go-lucky man called Yogi played by Irrfan Khan. The movie is all about how they discover each other during their journey together. The script is the highlight of the movie where there are many hilarious situations during their journey together. The onscreen chemistry of Parvathy and Irrfan is also another highlight of the movie.

Almost Single

“Almost Single”, the Malayalam dubbed version of “Qarib Qarib Singlle” is now available in ZEE5.  If you like Parvathy’s acting style (and I am sure you like Irrfan Khan), Almost Single is a must watch rom-com. I am sure you will love it.

FIFA World Cup- The Festival Of Malabar: Nice Coffee Day

17 June 2010

Puthanathani, Malappuram district

Nice Coffee Day: 2 Argentina, 1 Brazil and 1 Germany please!

Through one of the Malayalam dailies, I came to know about this wonderful World Cup-themed Coffee shop in Puthanathani, a small town in Malappuram district.

So what’s the specialty of this Coffee shop and how is it related to the football World Cup? At the entrance of the shop, I saw this huge replica of FIFA World Cup trophy. This is one sure sign of soccer mania! The replica was almost 4 feet and was made in Gypsum. I entered the shop and saw tables decorated with the flags of World Cup playing nations. – Each table for one nation. There were tables for Brazil, Argentina, Italy, England and Germany. And the glasses where juice is served were also wrapped in various flags.

Then I met Mr. Khalid who runs the shop, along with Mr. Abdul Karim. As with any other person from this part, they are also hard core Football fans. “We wanted to do something very different this World Cup, and we came out with the concept of naming various juices as leading football playing nations”, said Khalid who himself is a juice maker. So once you enter the shop you can sit at your favorite nation’s table, and the particular juice, named after that nation, would be given. The menu card also showed Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, France and Germany. Another interesting thing that Khalid shared was that groups of friends would come together as a gang but once they entered the juice shop they would split up to sit at their respective team’s table. He planned to show the semis and the final live, adjacent to the shop itself, so that people could enjoy the matches while sipping juice. So I went and sat at the Argentina table and ordered, what else, 1 Argentina please!

And I enjoyed my Argentina shake, it was complimentary from the owner! Later in Chennai at Cafe Coffee Day I found something similar to what I saw at Nice Coffee Day, but, according to me Nice Coffee Day was better connected to the World Cup Soccer brand and represented the true spirit of people of Malabar towards Football!

K.P. Namboodiri’s “Dantadhavanachoornam”

One of my strong associations of my memories of grandpa is rather unusual one, K.P. Namboodiri’s “Dantadhavanachoornam”, in modest terms, a brand of Tooth powder. It was my grandpa who introduced me to K.P. Namboodiri’s brand and he was a strong advocate of this brand. I should admit that I stopped using the product long back and conveniently switched to Tooth paste. Years passed and I almost forgot K.P. Namboodiri’s.

Now my younger brother,  uses the same K.P. Namboodiri’s Tooth powder. I don’t know how he switched over from toothpaste to toothpowder. During one of my trips to Kerala, he asked me to buy one tin of same brand (This was when he used to be with me in Chennai). Seeing me buying “Dantadhavanachoornam”, my friend also bought one tin of this brand. He said that he was a regular user of this brand and some how lost in touch with this product.

Now this brand has undergone a complete change, in product innovation, Branding, design and packaging. The old sober and not so attractive look has gone. Present packaging is more stylish, trendy and handy also.

I am convinced that at least some section of younger generation likes to use age-old brands that too when lots of substitutes are available in the market

As Old habits die hard, can we say old brands die hard?

Twenty Five Years Of AKKARE (1984)

The never ending queues of Visa aspirants is a common sight if you happen to visit any of the US and UK consulates in India,. In this age of Globalisation also the desire to go and settle abroad is one among the top priorities of middle class Indian.

If the trend in 1970s and 1980s for the most preferred destination , especially for Malayalees was the middle east , in 1990s and 2000s US and UK took over that place. And now it is South East Asia. The trend continues, only destination changes.

This sights, in front of the various consulates reminds me of a movie that hit silver screens almost 26 years back, Akkare. Akkare was the first film of well know Malayalam movie director K N Sasidharan, a Gold medalist from Pune Film Institute and the story was based on P K Nandana Varma’s (my dad) short story on the same name.

 

The movie very aptly portrays a typical middle class mentality, of not satisfied with what you have and always craving for more, without realising whether you deserve it or not. We can still see the same characters, brilliantly played by Bharat Gopi, who played the lead role of a Thahasildar, who is not very happy about his job and life style and always compares himself with many Non Resident Keralites (NRK), Mohan Lal, Mammooty and Nedumdi Venu in our neighbourhood. This shows the plot and the movie Akkare is still relevant today. Akkare was selected to Indian Panorama and went on to be screened at various International film festivals.

The team behind Akkare :

Director : K N Sasidharan
Story : P K Nandana Varma
Screenplay : K N Sasidharan
Dialogues : K N Sasidharan
Music : M B Srinivasan
Produced By : K N Sasidharan
Genre : Comedy, Drama
Cast : Gopi, Madhavi, Mammootty, Nedumudi Venu, Mohanlal, Rani Padmini, Srinivasan, Sriraman.

So many things have changed after the Akkare. Mohan Lal and Mammooty became superstars and ruled (still rule) the Mollywood. Sashidharan went on to take more movies and later moved to ad film making, P K Nandana Varma scripted and directed various documentaries and tele serials. Very recently I happened to meet Mohan Lal and his memories of the film was afresh.