Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ghajini - Film Review

For all those media hype and publicity by Aamir, Ghajini does not disappoint for most part. A perfectionist he is and the Khan lives upto it - a tonsured head, a eight-pack body and a matching act. On the whole, film stands out for amazing performances by the lead actors, Aamir Khan and Asin, the southern sensation.

Sanjay Singhania(Aamir Khan), CEO of Airvoice, is suffering from a mental disorder, where in he remembers about anything for only 15 minutes. And, why he is in such a state is a different story altogether. To manage with his inability, he makes notes about everything he encounters daily, takes photographs of whoever he is in touch everyday and also, he is on mission to find his enemy Ghajini and kill him. Kalpana(Asin), his love is dead and needless to say that Ghajini is responsible for that. How Sanjay accomplishes his mission is rest of the story. Jia Khan, a MBBS student helps Sanjay on his way. Ghajini Film poster
Picture Source :
What's Good: Aamir excels in his potrayal as always and that is the precise reason why he takes up only one movie every year. His body language perfectly suits the role. Asin, as a cheerful youngster impresses everybody. More than Aamir, it is Asin who steals the show with her stellar performance. Well, worth watch for Aamir fans and also for who want out-of-the-mill film stories. A R Rehman at his best in songs - Tu Meri Adhuri Pyaas Pyaas, Behka Behka. Exotic locations for song sequence are treat to watch. Also, hats off to the camera work too!

What's Not So Good: Asin's introductory song in the movie looks as if it has been stuffed into the movie sequence! Film could have been done without the song and Asin histrionics. Also, climax is a slight disappointment as the much dragged climax may remind you of the 80s film era!

This and That: Following was the SMS I received yesterday about Ghajini :- Describe Aamir Khan in GHAJINI - A man without hard disk, only cache memory and high speed processor! Of course, this message was forwarded by a software engineer.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Slum Baala - Film Review

Two stories based on favorite subject of Kannada producers, underworld! Almost the same team. But the second one fails to live up to the expectations. I am talking of Agni Shridhar's latest venture, Slum Baala. His earlier film Aa Dinagalu was a hit and was among the 10 best Indian movies in 2007 according The Week, well known English weekly. That was the precise reason why me and my friend, Raghav had no hesitation to go for the movie. But here, the film let us down with its weak plot. On the brighter aspects of the movie, Duniya Vijay, Umaashri, Shubha Poonja and Shashi Kumar, Achyuth Rao(more known for his role in hugely popular serial in E-tv Kannada, Moodala Mane) give commendable performances. M N Suresh, another TV artist, though does a good job, overacts in some scenes. Slum Baala film poster
Picture Source :
Quite many films have come on the subject of underworld with same old story of nexus of police and politicians taking the help of underworld dons to achieve their motives and in the end, eliminating them, when they get any slightest hint of dons rebelling. Well, story is familiar here too. Vinayaka Baala alias Slum Baala is a little known rowdy who gets deported to Mumbai for a year. Baala joins his friend Razaak there. He also gets to meet his love, Shubha Poonja. Circumstances force Shashi Kumar, a police officer, who had earlier deported Baala, to call him back to Bangalore. M N Suresh, playing a politician takes the help of Baala to eliminate his adversaries. In the end, Baala is about to rebel against Suresh, as Baala does not get the deals done as promised. But then Baala is killed in an encounter planned by Shashi Kumar, the police officer.

Camera work in the film is good and there is one scene which stands apart - the scene where Baala kisses the pistol and says bellagaagbekuntha naanu yaavaththu fair and lovely haakdavnalla; naanu kariya, neenu kariya, saath kodtheeya.(Loose translation in English may go like this - I had never used face creams to look fair; I am black and you (pistol) too are black, will you stand by me). First half of the film is entertaining but the second half is boring. Yes, boring as second half is all about showing two warring parties, Baala and his gang on one side and Suresh and his group on the other side, discussing strategies, how to eliminate one another in alternate scenes. Amidst all these, two melodious songs - Ale Aleyu Haadidavu, Manasu Rangaagide Indu steal the show. This is probably the only similarity with Aa DinagaLu, as songs - Aa Dingalu and Sihi Gaali won the audience's applauses, a year ago.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mast Maja Maadi - Film Review

Mast Maja Maadi - film as a whole, does not impress much. But the dialogues for most part of the film, sets a laugh riot in the movie hall! Also, the performance of Komal which hides below par performance from lead actors! But who cares, as you have to just concentrate on the dialogues. Mere presence of Komal adds comedy element to the scenes. Its been long time since he has come out of the shadow of his elder brother, Jaggesh. Film posters project Sudeep as the hero of the film but heroic performance if any ends there, as he delivers an indifferent performance here.

Film is about 4 jobless guys - Diganth, Komal, Vijay Raghavendra and Nagakiran, who are after the Rs.20 crore bounty, hidden under a big 'M' in Ooty Botanical Garderns. Things get complicated as they are joined by Sudeep, a disgruntled police officer who knows this secret and trys to stop at their mission and take away the full share! Further Sathya Raj, playing robber and Rangaayana Raghu also join the mad race. Comedy of errors to induce laughter is common in such tales and here too. Though the gang of these funny guys get hold of the treasure, they donate it to charity under changed circumstances. Mast Maja Maadi film poster
Picture Source :
Sole heroine in the movie, Jenifer Kotwal gives an average performance. Lip synch for dubbing seems out of place. But it also a pity that for most of the Kannada heroines, the only dubbing artist is Deepu. Let the heroine be - Pooja Gandhi, Ramya aka Divya Spandana or Shubha Poonja, the female voice is of Deepu only. Rangayana Raghu seems like a slapping expert in the movie with acting going backstage. Nagakiran, who plays a dumb guy in this movie, has been dubbed with voice similar to that of duck for his antics - this could have been clearly avoided. Diganth has to go back to his acting classes. Tennis Krishna, Sihikahi Chandru, Umashri come and go. Of the movie locations, I could identify Manchinabele backwaters, on the outskirts of Bangalore city, where much of the scenes are shot. Surprise package is the song in the climax featuring Kannada superstar Upendra and a galaxy of Sandalwood heroines - Andrita Ray, Sharmila Maandre, Nethanya, Suman Ranganath, Keerthi Chawla, Rekha, Sanjanaa, Ragini, Ramanitho Chowdhry, Gowri Munjaal and Maahi.

In the end, as you would have thought by now, Mast Maja Maadi is a remake of Dhamaal which in itself is a remake of hollywood flick Its a mad, mad, mad world!. I would like to call these two remakes as national remake and international remake! That's not all - some scenes for Mast Maja Maadi are blatantly lifted from Golmaal, making it sort of kichdi. So, initially when the film begins dialogues seem direct translation of Hindi version. But for the audience's respite, this translation saga ends at first few scenes. An average film, can be given a try or better, a miss!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Navagraha - Film Review

Navagraha film posters had caught the attention of many, where in the film publicity team had showed 7 vintage villains of Kannada cinema - Thoogudeepa Shreenivas, Tiger Prabhakar, Sundara Krishna Aras, Sudheer, Lokesh, Dinesh and Keerthiraj. Sons of these actors along with two female leads - Varsha and Sharmila Mandre are the 'Navagrahas'(9 planets) in the movie. Well, I must admit that this film as a whole has certainly proven a point and the dawn of new genre of Kannada films evident here.

Plot: Jaggu(Darshan), a robber strikes a deal of stealing the golden howdah of Mysore palace for 20 million dollars. He along with 8 others hatches a plan for the robbery. Though initially other guys refuse to be a part, later they fall in line as they are in need of money. Jaggu gets his men into action - to get information about the palace and escape routes, for making a duplicate howdah to replace the original and for making their way out after theft. The gang succeeds in getting the howdah and they are on their way to Mangalore port. But on their way, disbeliefs among themselves lead to a bloody fight, ending up killing all but two.Navagraha film poster On the other hand, special officer Bhagath is on his way to capture this gang of robbers and he succeeds in his mission too! The whole story unfolds in the backdrop of Dasara festival in Mysore. Finer details of the story are best seen and enjoyed in the movie hall itself!

What to watch out for : Darshan as the chief of the gang sizzles in the entire film. This role can be easily said as the best he had played so far. Finally, he comes out of the shadow of 'longu machchu' roles. Well, we as audience can now expect such challenging roles from the 'Challenging Star'. As for the songs, 'Yami Yami' song rocks and so is 'Kan Kanna Salige' with its slow romantic tune. Even the background score for the movie is good. Dull moments are few in the movie and audience is in for a gripping thriller. Top view of the ghat section route with lush greenery(Sampage Ghat - Madikeri-Mangalore route, I suppose) is a treat to watch in the climax. These types of thrillers can be easily made a mess or magic without logic, without giving attention to finer details. Here, finer details like Dasara festival celebrations, right electronic gadgets to use, transporting howdah in KSRTC bus with right name boards, reason why Jaggu asks 6 duplicate howdahs to be made, how the police find out the place where the robbers were initially hiding etc are taken care. In this aspect, director Dinakar Thoogudeepa should be given a pat on the back for his excellent work. Also, he has improved a lot from his fogettable earlier film 'Jothe Jotheyali' with regard to script and screen play. There is no dragging of the plot anywhere and it is two and half hours of pure entertainment. This genre of films are also kind of rarity in Kannada cinema. May this film set a new trend. Kudos to the makers of this movie.

Filmy Blunder : Golden howdah, as they say in the film weighs 750 kgs. Lifting this much weight is not an easy task for the gang. Also, full gang was not in action to lift the howdah. May be director could have given little attention to this and be more innovative here.

What could have been done better: Use of graphics has become a fashion for the film makers. Though for some scenes this is unavoidable, one could have done away with some trivial graphics sequences. Also, editing could have been done better.

All said and done, it is a movie worth watching. So, rush to your nearest theatre to catch the earliest show!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kateel Shri Durgaparameshwari Temple

25 kms from Mangalore, Kateel Shri Durga Parameshwari Temple is one of the most revered places for Hindus. This temple draws lot of devotees daily and is on the list of every tourist who is on a pilgrimage tour to Dakshina Kannada. Kateel Shri Durgaparameshwari Temple
Kateel Shri Durgaparameshwari Temple
Kateel temple, abode of Goddess Shri Durga Parameshwari is located in the middle of Nandini river. The place surrounded by river and greenary all around, thus making it a picturesque location. To enter into the temple, you have to cross a small bridge. Sound made by the flowing river in the temple premises is enchanting to hear. Just being in the calm temple surroundings , gives you a nice experience. Small Bridge On Way To Temple
Small Bridge On Way To Temple
As per the Kshethra Purana, this place was once faced severe draught. At that time, Maharshi Jaabaali made a request to Nandini, daughter of Kamadhenu to come to Bhoo Loka (earth) to help him in performing yajna to get rid of the draught. When she dishonoured his request, he cursed her to flow in the earth as a river. When Nandini pleaded for mercy, Maharshi asked her to pray to Adi Shakthi to relieve her from the curse. Adi Shakthi after hearing to Nandini told her that she would take birth as her daughter to relieve her from the curse. Meanwhile, Arunasura, one of the rakshasas, had got a boon from Brahma that he will not be killed by Thrimurthis(Brahma,Vishnu,Eeshwara), devas, men, women or by any two leggged or four legged animal.Kateel Temple Premises
Kateel Temple Premises
He started troubling the sages and spoiled their yajnas. At last, Adi shakthi in the form of a big, furious bee called 'Bhramara' stung him to death. Devi, then emerged in the form of a 'Linga' in the middle of the river Nandini. From then on, this place is known as Kateel ('kati' in Kannada means waist and 'ila' means earth/place). Other gods worshipped in the temple are Raktheshwari, Mahaganapathi, Shaastaara, Kshethrapaala, Naaga, Brahmaru, Chaamundi. Nandini River
Nandini River
Annadaana or free meals to the devotees is served daily in the afternoon and night. To go to the Bhojana Shaale(or Dining hall), which can accomodate upto thousand people at a time, one has to cross another bridge from the temple. Temple elephant, is an attraction among the devotees who come here from far away places. Yakshagaana, a popular folk art in coastal Karnataka, is performed by the temple troupes. 4 such troupes are already booked for the next 10 years to perform at various places. These troupes travel mostly in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod districts for performance.Temple Elephant
Temple Elephant
Kateel is a must visit place for all those visiting coastal Karnataka. Green surroundings is for the pious and also for the nature lovers! I am sure you will definitely wish to visit the place for second time if you had come here once.

Routes to reach Kateel:
Mangalore - Bajpe - Kateel - 25 Kms
Udupi - Mulki - Kinnigoli - Kateel - 45 Kms
Moodabidri - Kinnigoli - Kateel - 22 Kms
BC Road - Kaikamba - Bajpe - Kateel - 35 Kms

Thursday, November 06, 2008

'ಬಲೀ೦ದ್ರ ಪೂಜೆ' - ಕರಾವಳಿಯ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ಆಚರಣೆ

’ಬಲೀ೦ದ್ರ ಪೂಜೆ’ ಕರಾವಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಬಹುದಾದ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ಆಚರಣೆ. ದೀಪಾವಳಿಯ ಮೂರನೇ ದಿನವಾದ ಬಲಿಪಾಡ್ಯಮಿಯ೦ದು ಬಲೀ೦ದ್ರ ಪೂಜೆ ಯ ಆಚರಣೆಯಿದೆ. ಬಲಿ ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿಯು ಹಿ೦ದೊಮ್ಮೆ ಆಳಿದ ನಾಡು ಎ೦ದು ಪ್ರತೀತಿ ಇರುವುದರಿ೦ದ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ದಿನದ೦ದು ಬಲಿಗೆ ವಿಶೇಷ ಪೂಜೆ. ವಾಮನನಿ೦ದ ಪಾತಾಳಕ್ಕೆ ತಳ್ಳಲ್ಪಟ್ಟ ಬಲಿ ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿಯು ಬಲಿ ಪಾಡ್ಯಮಿಯ೦ದು ತನ್ನ ಜನರನ್ನು ಕಾಣಲು ಬರುವನೆ೦ಬುದು ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಜನರ ನ೦ಬಿಕೆ. ಅವನನ್ನು ಸ್ವಾಗತಿಸಲು ಈ ಆಚರಣೆ.Baleendra Pooje in Coastal Karnatakaಮನೆಯ ಅ೦ಗಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಳೆಮರದ ಕ೦ಬವನ್ನು ನೆಟ್ಟು ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಅಡಿಕೆ ಮರದ ದಬ್ಬೆಗಳನ್ನು ಏಣಿಯ ಮಾದರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕಟ್ಟಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ನ೦ತರ ವಿವಿಧ ಬಗೆಯ ಹೂವುಗಳಿ೦ದ ಕ೦ಬವನ್ನು ಸಿ೦ಗರಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ಕ೦ಬವನ್ನು ’ಬಲಿ ಮರ’ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಸ೦ಜೆಯಾದೊಡನೆ ಹಣತೆಗಳನ್ನು ’ಬಲಿ ಮರ’ದ ಮು೦ದೆ ಹಚ್ಚಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ನ೦ತರ "ಬಲೀ೦ದ್ರ ಬಲೀ೦ದ್ರ... ಬಲೀ೦ದ್ರ... ಕೂ.." ಎ೦ದು ಕೂಗಿ ಬಲಿ ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಭೂಮಿಗೆ ಸ್ವಾಗತಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಬಹುತೇಕ ಕರಾವಳಿಯ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಭಾಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕ೦ಡುಬರುವ ಆಚರಣೆ ಇದು.

ಬಲಿ ಪೂಜೆಯ ನ೦ತರ ಗೋಪೂಜೆ. ಹಟ್ಟಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ದನಕರುಗಳಿಗೆ ಬಾಳೆ ಹಣ್ಣು, ಸಿಹಿ ಅವಲಕ್ಕಿ ನೀಡಿ ಹಣೆಗೆ ಕು೦ಕುಮವಿಟ್ಟು ಆರತಿ ಬೆಳಗಿ ಪೂಜಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ತುಳುವಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ’ತುಡರ್ ತೋಜಾವುನ’(ಬೆಳಕು ತೋರಿಸುವುದು) ಅನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಒಟ್ಟಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾನವ - ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ನ೦ಟಿಗೆ ದೀಪಾವಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾಶಸ್ತ್ಯ. ಭಾರತದ ಬಹುತೇಕ ಹಬ್ಬಗಳ ತಿರುಳೂ ಇದೇ ತಾನೆ!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe

Visited Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe recently. Here are some snaps of the place. When I entered the viewers gallery, plane to Dubai was yet to take off and Jet Airways and Kingfisher planes to Mumbai were lined up next.Mangalore International Airport, Bajpe
Mangalore International Airport, Bajpe

Jet Airways, Kingfisher planes at Bajpe
Jet Airways, Kingfisher planes at Bajpe

Air India Express on way to Dubai
Air India Express on way to Dubai
Other Info:
Distance to Bajpe from Mangalore City : 22 km
Fare for Entry Ticket : Rs.30/-
Entry ticket is valid for 3 hours and it entitles the holder to enter Departure Lounge, Arrival Lounge and Visitors View Gallery, from where one can watch the arrival and takeoff.

Related Article:
New Mangalore International Airport at Kenjar ready by Jan 2009?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dont Get Psych(o)ed!

Disappointed! After all those hype about not revealing the lead characters of the movie and some great music by Raghu Dixit, this film turns out to be a no-show. Well, audio of the film had captured enough audience for the movie before its release but now I see this movie will be remembered only for that and nothing else. Well, hero and heroine of the movie are Dhanush and Anita.

First 10 minutes of the movie does not have any dialogues. It seems like a new tactic of the movie maker. But soon the audience in the cinema hall is made to watch the lonely house of the psycho most of the time with his antics. Visits by his uncle along with a servant who does black magic in the house premises makes audience believe that there is something fishy. But all those speculations are shot down at the end.
Psycho Kannada Movie PosterPlot : Hero of the movie is a psychopath, who is in love with Pavana, a TV anchor. Dhanush helps Pavana in various ways. Pavana refuses to befriend him as he calls her repeatedly without revealing his identity. Then, all of a sudden she starts to love him! Pavana, once in conversation with Dhanush records his voice and gives it to her friend. Her friend, whose father is a doctor curing Dhanush reveals all the details about the psycho path. An anxious Pavana goes to Dhanush's house and rejects her love. Doctor then explains how a traumatic childhood had turned Dhanush into a psycho and how he was becoming normal after in love with Pavana. Pavana is sad to know now that because of her rejection, he is back to being a psycho and goes back to reunite with her love. But she only sees him dying and she starts living in psycho's house, rest of her life.

Dhanush needs more acting classes for his role. Anita lacks that heroine look. Most of the characters in the movie are new faces except for Padmaja Rao(of Mungaaru Male) as heroine's mother. So not much to say about acting. Most of the songs picturized seems ordinary compared to music and lyrics, which had become a huge hit. I also felt sometimes songs were out of place in the narration. Melodious 'Namma Naadu Karunaadu' song found in Psycho album, does not feature in the film. Brilliant camera work is the only highlight of the movie apart from music. But that too seems like an overkill as similar camera shots are shown repeatedly.

Till the last 15 minutes of the movie you dont know what is going on and you expect some twist in the tale. But that does not happen and all of a sudden all the flash back is thrusted upon the audience and the film is over in another 5 minutes. Entire movie is about 2 hours, so audience would have escaped another 30 or 60 minutes of torture compared to a regular movie. My recommendation to film goers is a strict no to this film. Still some questions remain unanswered : what is the purpose of the movie, if it does not cater either the class or the mass? OR are the movies based on psychopaths are made this way only?

Related Posts:
Psycho Kannada Movie's Music - A Class Apart

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mangalore Dasara Celebrations at Kudroli

Mangalore Dasara celebrations at Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple is one of the biggest festivities in coastal Karnataka. Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple was established as a small shrine by Sri Narayana Guru in 1912. Sri Narayana Guru, hailing from Kerala worked for the upliftment of backward communities. Main Gopura of Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, Mangalore
Main Gopura of Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple
Dasara celebrations here began 18 years ago in 1990, when the old small shrine was renovated into a large complex in Chola style architecture. In 1995, tableaux were introduced for the first time in the Dasara procession on the last day of celebrations. Mangalore dasara is called common man's dasara as it is not funded by the Government as in Mysore Dasara and people of the city participate actively. All roads in Mangalore lead to this temple during Dasara.Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, Mangalore decorated on Dasara
Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple decorated
This year, Dasara/Navarathri celebrations were held from 30th September to 9th October, last day being Vijayadashami. I was in Mangalore during this time and got a chance to view the festivites after several years. The temple complex is largest in Mangalore city and wears a modern look. When I went to the temple in the evening of 8th October, the shrine was full with people and the temple fully decorated with electric lamps/bulbs wore festive look. Temple painted in gold color added to the visual treat. Main attraction during the festivities was the hall where the idols of Navadurgis are kept.Idols of Navadurgis at Kudroli, Mangalore
Idols of Navadurgis
Nine divine forms of Goddess Durga namely Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kalaratri, Mahagouri, and Siddidatri are called Navadurgis. Along with these, idols of Goddess Saraswathi and Lord Ganesha are also kept. This hall was decorated like a palace. Evening was the ideal time for people to visit the temple along with their families. Long queues to go to the temple hall was as expected. After seeing the idols people used to capture the photos with their mobiles, cameras. Volunteers had a tough time asking the people to move on once they had the darshana.Idol of Goddess Saraswathi at Kudroli
Goddess Saraswathi
Another attraction of the place was the temple pond where huge fountains are installed. At each of the four corners of the pond, statue of Lord Shiva is kept. Water sprinkling from Lord Shiva's head symbolises the holy river Ganga flowing out of Lord Shiva's locks and called Gangavatharana. Punyakoti Vana is a small park is inside the temple premises, attracting children.Hanuman Mukha Mantapa, Kudroli, Mangalore
Hanuman Mukha Mantapa
Newly inaugurated Hunuman Mukha Mantapa is another attraction at the temple. The 26 feet high structure, supported by 12 pillars has intricate carvings done in Chola Style. Also large Nandi statue facing the gopura of the temple, Geethopadesha statue catch the visitors attention. Next day was the last day of the celebrations i.e. Vijayadashami. Dasara procession was carried out with several tableaux displaying mythological themes taking part. Idols of Navadurgis, Goddess Saraswathi and Lord Ganapathi were then immersed in the temple pond after the procession across the city. About 3 lakh people said to have witnessed the Mangalore Dasara procession. Navarathri is the best time to visit the temple if you are in Mangalore. It has become one of the major tourist attractions in Mangalore.

Idol of Lord Ganapathi, Kudroli, Mangalore
Lord Ganapathi

Idol of Lord Hanuman, Kudroli, Mangalore
Lord Hanuman

Statue of Lord Nandi at Kudroli, Mangalore
Statue of Lord Nandi

Fountains at temple pond, Kudroli, Mangalore
Fountains (Gangavatharana)

Kudroli, Mangalore Temple premises
Kudroli Temple premises

Friday, October 17, 2008

Devdas Kapikad in a Kannada movie

Veteran of Tulu dramas, Devdas Kapikad is set to make his celluloid debut in Kannada. In Kannada movie 'Venkata in Sankata', directed by ace Kannada actor, Ramesh Aravind, he plays his part. Devdas Kapikad is a popular name in coastal Karnataka associated with Tulu dramas. He has his own theatre group, 'Cha Parka', which performes plays in Mumbai and Gulf countries. All the best to Devdas Kapikad for his new venture.Devdas Kapikad
Devdas Kapikad [Picture Courtesy :]
Ramesh is back with a comedy flick here, after 'Rama Bhama Shama' and 'Sathyavan Savithri'. In this film, Ramesh plays the role of a traffic police man. Film is about his struggle to get a promotion in the department. Music of the film is composed by Ricky Kej who earlier had composed some nice tunes for another Ramesh starrer, 'Accident' - 'Baa Maleye Baa' and 'Ellinda Banthu Ee Thangali'. Hope to see some laught riot in Kannada silver screen soon!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aravind Adiga's Mangalore Connection

2 years ago, in 2006, it was first time, I had heard of Aravind Adiga. Back then, he had written an article about Mangalore in TIME magazine, on how Mangalore as a city is growing up and had made whole of Mangalore proud. I kept on saying about this article in an international magazine to my friends and had written a post on it then. Aravind Adiga, a native of Mangalore, had done his schooling in St.Aloysius High School, Mangalore, one of the premier educational institutions in Mangalore. This year, when he was nominated for Booker prize, I sincerely hoped he wins it. Well, he has won the Booker prize and made whole of India proud. Congratulations Mr.Aravind Adiga.Aravind Adiga
Aravind Adiga [Picture Courtesy :]
Well, first task for me now is to buy and read his award winning novel, 'The White Tiger' :)


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Psycho Film Releasing on 31st October 2008

I keep getting enquiries from my friends about the release date of the film 'Psycho', more so because of the caller tunes I set of the 'Psycho' film songs. Well folks, here is some update on that - 'Psycho', most awaited Kannada movie in the second half of 2008 is set to hit cinema houses on 31st October 2008, if we go by the ads published in leading Kannada news paper, Udayavani.Psycho Kannada Movie Releasing Ad in Udayavani This movie has been in news for quite some time now - for not revealing who plays lead characters in the movie and for the amazing music composed by Raghu Dixit, giving rise to new genre of music in Kannada. Well, it is also said that it will be the world premier of the movie on 31st October 2008, as movie is set to release overseas, in UK and other European nations, Hong kong, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, Australia, New Zealand and of course USA. Film is directed by V Devdatta, new face in Gandhinagar.

Other than that, Hello, hindi film based on Chetan Bhagat's best selling novel, One Night @ the call center, is set to release this week on 10th October 2008.

Also Read,
Psycho Kannada Movie's Music - A Class Apart

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wayanad Trip - Day 2

Part1 of the Wayanad trip is here. Continuing after that, Nidhi was the first one to wake up next morning. When it was about 6 30 am everyone was inside the four wheeler to reach first destination of that day, Lakkidi. Within 15 minutes of drive from Kalpetta, we were in Lakkidi.

Lakkidi is the top most view point overlooking the mountains below. If you are driving from Kalpetta towards Kozhikode/Calicut, you will be reaching Lakkidi just crossing the Wayanad district border, covering 1-2 hair pin turns across the ghats. Only if you are arriving from Kozhikode/Calicut side you will have to travel all the way from down to reach the view point at the top of the ghats. Lakkidi View Point, Wayanad
Lakkidi View Point
I must say Lakkidi is one of those breath taking view points which makes the valley down the hill and mountains across the region so small in size. Vehicular movement in ghat turnings too can be viewed as tiny toys moving across. Interestingly Lakkidi is also one of the places which receives highest rainfall in India. After spending some time in Lakkidi and wondering at the sheer beauty of mother nature, we were on our way back. We had in mind prospects of visiting Pookot lake at around 8, but to our dismay lake opens to tourists only after 9, so we were back in the hotel.

Pookot Lake:

After finishing breakfast at the hotel and checking out from there, we reached Pookot Lake at around 10. Here, you can avail the facility of ferry or peddle boat to wander in the lake. We hired two 2 seater peddle boats for four of us. Pookot lake is one of the best places to spend your time in Wayanad with greenery all around and you in middle of the lake. Far away from the lake shore, there are lotus plants and there is a strict instruction against plucking of lotuses from there. Pookot Lake, Wayanad
Pookot Lake
Well, we captured lotuses in our cameras soon. In Pookot lake premises, there are shops selling Kerala craft, wooden carvings and lots of other decorative stuff. We purchased some wooden carvings after a ride in peddle boat.

Banasura Sagar Dam:
Time was around noon and we had reached our next destination Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earth dam in India. This dam has facilities of motorized boating. Water contained in the dam had created artificial islands. These can be seen when you are cruising in the boat. Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad
Banasura Sagar Dam
Half an hour drive in the boat refreshes you quite a lot with you catching the glimpse of mountains in the backdrop of the dam, clouds towering over it and well, the artificial islands in the middle. Besides the dam, small park is being set up. Surprisingly though rainy season, it was really hot and we spent some time in the greens of the park. After giving some attention into the mechanics of the dam, it was time for lunch.

Kuruva Island:

Mananthawady was the next town we stopped for lunch before reaching our last stop in the trip itinery, Kuruva Island. Kuruva Island is at a distance of 17kms from Mananthawady. Though till this time all the roads in Wayanad district wherever we went were in smooth condition, road leading to Kuruva Island was in pathetic condition. Anyhow, when we reached the natural island formed by Kabini river it was 3 pm. One had to travel to the island via boat and rowers' instruction for us was to come back by 4 30 to the point they had left us. This island is a place for rare species of birds, orchids and herbs, they say. Not well versed in Botany or in Zoology, it did not make much difference to us and we thought it as an ideal picnic spot to spend a day. The most common variety of flora, we could identify was bamboo tree which was abundant there. Raft for Crossing Kabini River at Kuruva Island, Wayanad
Crossing the Kabini River in Kuruva Island using raft
The island is not single entity rather a collection of small islands. After reaching the main island we crossed to the other island via raft made up of bamboo sticks with the rafter pulling the rope tied across the trees of river banks on either side to negotiate the river current. This place is inhabitated with paddy fields, tree top huts, shops to prove that. After spending some time here, we were back in the original island and started wandering there at about 4 thinking we can reach the initial entry point well before the dead line of 4 30. Paddy Fields in Kuruva Island, Wayanad
Paddy Fields in Kuruva Island
But even after walking, talking theories of shortest path algorithms, we were no where near to where we started and all seemed lost in panic and it was already 5. More details can be found in Nidhi's blog. Finally at about 5 15 we reached the starting point.

Leaving behind north Kerala tourist destinations, the route we took to reach Mysore via Nagarahole forest was the first big mistake we commited in the entire trip. We were in search of asphalt road which was non existent. When enquired the locals, it was told that it was more than 30 years now that the road was in such a condition! Nearly 20 km road full of ups and downs, full of potholes slowed down the speed of odometers. Nagarahole Forest roads in horrible condition
Horrible Roads near Nagarahole Forest
Big 92.7, Mysore was our constant companion during this time of distress. To call and make them aware of the road condition here, all the mobile phone networks were down. Well, to our delight in middle of the jungle, we saw herd of bisons crossing our way. After travelling distance after the Nagarahole forest, we were back in best of the roads. Reaching Mysore at 9, we were crusing to Bangalore, carrying back home sweet memories of Wayanad.View from Lakkidi view point, Wayanad
View from Lakkidi view point

Lotus at its best at Pookot Lake, Wayanad
Lotus at its best at Pookot Lake

Wooden crocodiles on display near Pookot Lake, Wayanad
Wooden crocodiles on display near Pookot Lake

Motor boating at Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad
Motor boating at Banasura Sagar Dam

Inside Kuruva Island, Wayanad
Inside Kuruva Island

River Kabini flows through Kuruva Island, Wayanad
River Kabini flows through Kuruva Island

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wayanad Trip - Day 1

On Saturday 20th Septmber, we began our journey to Wayanad. We were four of us, me, Jayasimha, Shrinidhi and Raviraj were on our way to Wayanad, popular tourist destination in Kerala and is about 282 kms from Bangalore. Journey began from Vijayanagar at 6 30 am in the morning with Nidhi in driver's seat in Scorpio, rented for self drive. Mahindra Scorpio in Bandipur
New Animal in Bandipur National Park!
Route we followed was - Bangalore - Mysore - Gundlpete - Bandipur forest - Wayanad. Bangalore - Mysore road is at its best inviting you to advance your speedometers. So is the NH212 route from Mysore to Kozhikode which passes via Bandipur national park. Seetha Devi Temple, Ponkuzhi, Wayanad
Seetha Devi Temple at Ponkuzhi
Soon after crossing Kerala border, we saw this Seetha Devi Temple at Ponkuzhi, reminiscent of Kerala temple architecture. After taking some snaps of the beautiful temple we cotinued on our journey, to reach Sultan Bathery at 11 30 am.

Sulthan Bathery:
Suthan Bathery as the name suggested, we thought it may be a fort like structure, where ammunitions used to be kept. But even after asking several locals, we could not locate the fort at the place. Then one wise guy pointed us to the Jain temple where the shells where kept then. Jain Temple, Sulthan Bathery, Wayanad
Jain Temple at Sulthan Bathery
Jain temple, built in 13th century was used by Tipu Sultan for keeping arms and ammunitions, after he captured the temple in 18th century. Hence the name, Suthan Bathery. It is also the largest town in Wayanad district.

Edakal Caves:
Edakal caves was our next stop. We reached there around 12. You have to park your vehicle some distance before the place. To reach the caves on top, you can avail the jeep facility. It is a rocky hill, on the way to its top you will find 2 large caves.1st Edakal Cave
1st Edakal Cave
Edakal caves is also the place where the Kannada movie 'Edakallu Guddada Mele' directed by legendary director Puttanna Kanagal was shot, to be precise in the first cave. Incidentally that was the only film shot here as per the guide who briefed us about the history of these caves. Reaching the peak can be a adventurous task as there are some steep rocks to climb on the way. One has to go via the first cave to get to the top but second cave is not directly on the way. We visited the first cave and were on our way to the top keeping the programme of visiting the second cave postponed while getting down. The place was crowded with youngsters enjoying the nice weekend. View from Edakal Peak
Birds view from Edakal Peak
After climbing each altitude on the way to the top, seeing the land far below the hill, exclaimations by fellow trekkers like 'waw' was a common scene and I had in mind suggesting an alternate name for Wayanad as 'Wawnad'! After reaching the top of the hill, all the land below seem so small in dimensions.One can see the whole geography of the place, all green - paddy fields, plantations, towns, quarry at one glance and be amazed by nature's creation. On our way down, 2nd Edakal Cave
2nd Edakal Cave
we visited the second cave where you can find inscriptions on the rocks by stone age people who believed to have lived there. The whole process of climbing up the hill and getting down took us about 3 hours.

Soochipara Falls:
We continued our journey towards Soochipara falls after finishing lunch at Edakal at around 4. Since the places were within a distance of 10-20 kms travelling time was far less and we were near Soochipara falls soon after Edakal. On our way to Soochipara falls we visited the Wayanad Heritage museum, did not find it interesting though. Tea Plantations, Wayanad
Tea plantations
That apart, lush greenery of the tea plantations on the way is a treat to watch. Also, they make perfect locations to take some great snaps of unforgettable journeys. This also reminded me of how as children, we were mesmerized by the sight of all green tea plantations shown in Kannan Devan Tea ads! Now I was seeing them for real. After parking the vehicle, way to Soochipara falls is about 2km walk. 200 meters Soochipara falls was already filled with people. Soochipara Falls,Wayanad
Soochipara Falls
Water falling from such height and great force had made surroundings filled with sound and had created misty surroundings.

After Soochipara falls visit, we headed towards Kalpetta some 22 kms from Soochipara falls, in search of some good hotel to stay on that night. Kalpetta is the district headquarters of Wayanad, and hosts quite a number of hotels. After finding one to stay, we soon got into sleep, after discussing the next day morning's programme of visiting Lakkidi, a view point to catch the glimpse of misty mountains. Well, thats all folks for now. 2nd part of the trip coming soon.

RaveeshBirds view from Edakal Peak
Another view from Edakal peak

Great road amidst tea plantations, Wayanad
Great Roads amidst tea plantations, Wayanad

Monday, September 29, 2008

Will There Be 'A Wednesday'?

Few films leave their mark in the sands of time and 'A Wednesday' is one of them. A gripping story and top class performances by two senior actors in bollywood. No hero but the film is still a winner. Neeraj Pandey's directoral venture keeps you glued to your seats for about 1 hour 45 minutes. A Wednesday is the story of a common man who is fed up of frequent terror attacks and wants to get rid of the evil in his own way and also wants to send a clear message to the bureaucratic system in the country. Anupam Kher delivers his best as Prakash Rathod, Police Commissioner of Mumbai and so does Naseeruddin Shah as the anonymous caller who calls him. Naseeruddin Shah represents millions of our country men who as common men, have to bear the consequences of terrorist attacks. Angst of common man against the system which takes more than a decade to punish the culprits behind bomb blasts represents the current scenario in India.
A Wednesday Film PosterFilm depicts all the situations which surrounds a bomb blast - how easily one places the bomb in the police headquarters, how the news hungry media exploits the situation when terrorist sends them the message of possible attack and in turn helps the terrorists to see the aftermath of their actions live on tv, how a redtape bureaucratic system like ours fails protect its own citizens in the time of need, how easily one makes judgements about a person knowing his religion and the list goes on. Neeraj has also handled the sensitive issue of religion well as seen from the fact that even at the end of the film, anonymous caller does not reveal his name or identity as people draw conclusions about his actions based upon his name which reveals his religion.

Script has been handled well and there is never a dull moment in a thriller of a movie. New story line and its connection to the real world, impresses and provokes thought at the same time. Jimmy Shergil has donned the rough and tough role as inspector Arif khan, something new for him. Tamasha news aired nowadays by '24 hour news channels' and the telemarketing call by a credit card company to Prakash Rathod in middle of a crisis may make brief comic reliefs in an otherwise serious movie. In the end the only words I can say here are - 'this film is a must watch for all'.


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