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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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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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December 30th, 2017
08:07 pm

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Koodiyattam Performance
During my trip to Irinjalakuda, I got an opportunity to watch a live performance of Koodiyattam. It sounds strange even to myself that it was the first time I was entering the famed koothambalam at Koodalmanikyam temple.

The performance was Sree Rama Pattabhishekam, which was played as a multi-day event (I could watch the first two days). I greatly enjoyed the overall experience - a combination of the ritualistic ambiance inside the koothambalam, the performance, the tone of the few verses that were sung, and most importantly the rhythm of mizhavu.

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December 23rd, 2017
09:20 pm

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Thor - Ragnarok
Though I am not a great fan of Marvel superhero films, I liked Thor - Ragnarok for its special effects, some crazy and colorful action sequences, humorous dialogues and characterizations.

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December 9th, 2017
05:54 pm

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Dunkirk
Watched Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan's film based on World War II events. There is not much of a storyline or dialogues, but the film focuses on creating the atmosphere of the War with brilliant picturization of the situations (and there are no gory details as usually seen in other war films), cinematography and some haunting music.

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November 21st, 2017
06:55 pm

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Cats of Istanbul
"It is said that cats are aware of the existence of God, while the dogs are not. Dogs think that people are God, but the cats don't. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God's will. They are not ungrateful, they just know better..." , so on goes a speech by a cat-lover in the brilliant documentary film Kedi, which is about the cats living in Istanbul city. Being an ancient port, cats from different parts of the world had landed in Istanbul over centuries, making the city their home. Though the effects of urbanization are posing as a challenge for them now, they still get a lot of fans and patrons, and have their own ways to survive in the cityscapes.

Kedi shows a series of scenes from the lives of different cats, brilliantly photographed and accompanied with some varied background music, interspersed with comments from different people in the city. The dialogues are humorous, amusing and at times even philosophical. People talk about the "character of cats" and their behavioral patterns, and some people lovingly imitate the ways cats interact with them. There are a few who have some words on the ways cats changed their lives. The sequences are connected in an amazing way, and this film was a great viewing experience.

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November 19th, 2017
09:38 pm

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The Diary of a Nobody
The Diary of a Nobody is a book of fiction in the form of a diary, written by George Grossmith, with illustrations by Weedon Grossmith. First published in 1892, the book tells the story of a clerk living in London. Charles Pooter lives with his wife Carrie in a rented house, and is regularly visited by his friends Gowing and Cummings who live close by. He is a very loyal employee of his firm, and adores his manager, Perkupp like a God. Most of the diary narrates the day-to-day happenings in Pooter's life, over a period of an year. His son Lupin's arrival after his studies, his various "adventures" as seen from the perspective of Pooter, and the generation gap between the father and son, add some drama to the proceedings.

Though Pooter writes the diary in a straight-forward manner without intending to be funny, the various "accidents" in his life, and his commentaries on his thought process on various incidents make this book a very hilarious read.

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November 17th, 2017
08:45 am

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Velipadinte Pusthakam
Directors Lal Jose and Renjith had made a few interesting films in the past, but their graphs have been consistently going down in the last few years, and I think now they have entered the tough field of competition for making the most boring Malayalam films, along with veterans like Sathyan Anthikkad, Joshi, et al.

Lal Jose's Velipadinte Pusthakam starts with some crude and vulgar "jokes" by the character of a college professor, played by Salim Kumar. The jokes seemed too poor for a Lal Jose film, who usually maintains some basic standard in terms of humor in his films. However, by the end of the film, I realized that this particular character was the only relief in this pathetic film.

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November 11th, 2017
06:54 pm

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Solo
Watched Solo, a supposedly "experimental movie" directed by Bejoy Nambiar. The film is an anthology containing four stories, which are said to be representing four different elements - Earth, Fire, Wind and Water - though I couldn't understand the exact connection.

While I was thoroughly bored with the first story, the second and third stories were interesting and the fourth was somewhat watchable. Though the narrative style indeed has some freshness in it, overall the film did not impress me much.

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