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Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar" journal:

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February 14th, 2018
08:42 pm

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Wonder
Liked Wonder, a touching film telling the story of Auggie, a boy with facial differences, as he spends his first year in a public school.

The narrative is structured in such a way to include the perspectives from different people surrounding the boy, and in general tries to underline the inherent "goodness" in every human being despite their behaviors during transient states of mind. The positivity in the film is heartwarming, and the film makes a great viewing.

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February 10th, 2018
07:03 pm

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Minnaminungu
Malayalam film Minnaminungu shows the struggles of a single mother (played by Surabhi Lakshmi) to support her daughter's education. The daughter has secret plans to get married and immigrate to Canada, which she hides from her family, though she feels guilty about it throughout the time when she makes her mother run here and there to arrange the required funds.

Minnaminungu looked like a serious version of Udaharanam Sujatha, a light hearted film which portrayed a similar scenario involving a mother-daughter relationship, a friendly employer (who also happens to be a writer in both the films), etc. We see a forceful and tiring depiction of contrasts of "poor and rich" repeatedly coming up in Minnaminungu - like a scene showing a traditional stone grinder quickly follows an electrical grinder; An old mobile phone and a high end smart phone, a pet dog getting fed a liter of milk every day, and so on. Though the narrative is realistic, the film mainly gives nothing but a déjà vu feeling. National Award winning performance by Surabhi Lakshmi is the saving grace of the film, which makes the climax scene especially touching.

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February 3rd, 2018
12:27 pm

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Coco
Watched animation film Coco and liked it, for its interesting imagination and concept of the "Land of the Dead", people getting "dead forever" after their living relatives forget about them completely, etc. The narrative was engaging with plenty of humor and some twists.

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January 31st, 2018
08:59 pm

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Blood Moon
Luckily the sky was very clear and could get beautiful views of lunar eclipse from terrace today, and it was amazing to see the moon coming out brightly, with some parts still covered in brown.

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January 28th, 2018
08:38 pm

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Goodbye Christopher Robin
Goodbye Christopher Robin tells the story of writer AA Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh, and his son, the real life Christopher Robin.

The film specifically focuses on the time period between the two World Wars. In the beginning we see Milne, a writer, trying to return to a normal life after participating in World War I, the psychological effects of the War still tormenting him frequently, and even things like the sound of a bursting balloon throwing him into pain. He finds himself unable to come back to writing. The film later shows how Milne connects with his son, building characters, stories and a whole world surrounding the boy's stuffed toy animals.

The World of Winnie the Pooh and his friends was meant to be a private family thing for the child, but soon, Milne publishes books on those stories, and Christopher Robin, who features as a main character in the book, becomes immensely popular. The film attempts to show how such a public attention affected Christopher Robin's childhood, and how he felt a bit lonely and betrayed during his childhood in spite of being projected as a happy child in those stories, living in the "Hundred Acre Wood".

I felt that Goodbye Christopher Robin had a great theme, and a much superior movie could have been made based on the theme. The film is still a good attempt, with some very touching moments, great camera works, and some good music.

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January 27th, 2018
12:47 pm

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El Deafo
Read El Deafo, an autobiographical graphic novel by Cece Bell.

Cece Bell lost her hearing when she was four years old, and she had to use hearing aids then onwards. The book narrates how she felt a bit lonely in her schooldays in the beginning because of her constant apprehensions regarding what others may think about her disability, and how she managed to slowly overcome her inhibitions by imagining herself as a superhero called "El Deafo" with special powers provided by her hearing aids.

El Deafo is not a grim book that concentrates on aspects of disability, but is filled with gentle humor surrounding the world of a Child, which was very enjoyable. People are drawn with "rabbit faces" in the illustrations, which are simple but very effective.

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January 21st, 2018
09:10 pm

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Tumhari Sulu
Watched Tumhari Sulu, an engaging "feel-good" Hindi film with some good characterizations and performances. The film stars Vidya Balan (playing as Sulu) and Manav Kaul in key roles, playing as wife and husband. Sulu ends up becoming a radio jockey, which is not looked at kindly by her elder sisters, partly because of jealousy and partly because they just want to assert their "controlling powers" over her younger sister by referring to social stigmas surrounding women taking up such a profession. Though her husband is loving and supportive, he also has his own confusions and dilemmas to fight with.

Vidya Balan is a wonderful actress and she played the role of Sulu brilliantly as expected, and I liked Manav Kaul's performance too, who was very convincing in the role of the husband who is torn between a stressful work life, various doubts and complexes, and a genuine desire to be "good husband".

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January 15th, 2018
08:25 am

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Aruvi
The first twenty minutes of Tamil film Aruvi are brilliant - Using several fast cuts, background music and a few songs, the film tells the story of a young girl, Aruvi - the childhood days at a village, an affectionate, middle class family, short picnics, arrival of a younger brother, movement to the city, Aruvi as a pampered teenage girl going to school - it is wonderful to see the way a whole lot of things are conveyed through these brief 20 minutes worth of scenes in a beautiful way, in a fast pace but still connecting with the viewer in an emotional way. The narration style was very unique and innovative, and debut director Arun Prabu Purushothaman shows great promise in these scenes.

I wished that the entire movie had followed that pattern; But there is a change of gear there, and we realize that the initial scenes were to create a background for the remaining part of the film, which has a few long sequences that address multiple topics like criticism on the media injecting consumerism, hypocrisy of "television reality shows", etc. The performance by debut actor Aditi Balan in the key role is amazing, and overall Aruvi makes great viewing.

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January 13th, 2018
08:08 pm

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Udaharanam Sujatha
Watched Malayalam film Udaharanam Sujatha, starring Manju Warrier in lead role.

The film is a "faithful remake" of Nil Battey Sannata, a "feel-food" Hindi film which focused on subjects like "sacrifices parents make for their children in the Indian society", education for girls, and women's empowerment. The director, Phantom Praveen, has reproduced even the slightly awkward scene from the original film, in which the central character goes to meet the District Collector to enquire about "the college which teaches to become a Collector". The director has added some touches of Malayalam through some nice music and songs, which I liked.

Though the "Thiruvanandapuram accent" of Manju Warrier and the actor who played as her daughter were a bit inconsistent, their performances were excellent, and in the dramatic and emotional scenes near the climax, Manju Warrier brings the requisite intensity in her performance to make those scenes moving.

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January 9th, 2018
06:52 pm

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Newton
I watched Hindi film Newton, which tells the story of an "eccentrically honest" government employee named Newton, who is assigned as presiding officer for the Lok Sabha elections at a booth in the middle of Dandakaranya, where there are only 76 registered voters. The place is known for Naxalite activities and strikes. Armed security team would escort the election team during their travel by foot from a nearby village to the booth, and also would provide various other support.

On early morning on the election day, the punctual Newton wakes up to realize that the leader of the security team has absolutely no interest in going to the forest, and he recommends casting the votes by themselves on behalf of the tribal people! He says that collecting votes from the real voters would make no difference to anybody. The other members of the election team also don't have much inclination to go the booth, but upon Newton's insistence, the team travels to the booth - a dilapidated old building in the middle of forest - to conduct the "election". Nobody turns out to cast the votes, as the people out there have absolutely no interest in the elections. When a team of officers go to the tribal settlements to "forcefully" bring them to the booth, they seem completely clueless about the whole election process, and want to know if they would be getting any money if they come for voting.

The brilliantly scripted film is a masterpiece of satire on Indian Democracy, and it would be one of the finest satirical films I have ever watched.

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