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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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May 6th, 2016
08:53 am

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A few Malayalam Movies
I watched a few Malayalam movies last week.

I had immensely enjoyed the Akkarakkazhchakal television serial that used come on Kairali television channel a few years back, which depicted the life of a group of Malayalees living in the USA in a humorous way. Monsoon Mangoes is a feature film directed by Abi Varghese, director of Akkarakkazhchakal. Set in the USA, the film tells a "feel-good-inspirational" story of DP Pallikkal (Fahadh Faasil), an aspiring "art" film director, who attempts to make a Malayalam movie starring Prem Kumar (Vijay Raaz, who is a brilliant fit for the role), an aging alcoholic who had acted in one Hindi movie several decades back. The narrative style is fresh, with a touch of humor, and there are many interesting sequences in this watchable film.

Hello Namaste is a simple comedy with some scenes reminding of television serials. What I liked in the film were some very funny dialogues filled with subtle humor (though they would make sense only for people familiar with the social-cultural context of Kerala today). For example, one guy comments in a scene that of late he is having to do some work everyday, and is getting a doubt whether he himself is a Bengali or a Malayali! In another scene, a politician spontaneously invents a tale of corruption, just to save his reputation :) Actor Soubin, who has made his presence felt in many movies recently with his unique style of acting, is hilarious in this film as well.

Valia Chirakulla Pakshikal, directed by Dr Biju, is based on the Endosulfan Disaster at Kasaragod. Though it can't be called or judged as a feature film, Valia Chirakulla Pakshikal creates awareness of the tragedy, and the initial scenes of the film showing the central character (played by Kunchacko Boban) interviewing and photographing the endosulfan victims of Kasaragod, are disturbing and extremely touching.

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May 5th, 2016
07:22 pm

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A Landmark Judgment
There are some rare instances in which we still get to see a ray of hope in the pathetic state of Governance in India - The order by National Green Tribunal regarding the construction activities in Bangalore city was one such instance.

There could surely be further legal proceedings and the land-grabbers and real-estate mafia may not just sit idle but would explore loopholes in the system. But still, this step taken by the NGT is a huge consolation and inspiration for people.

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May 1st, 2016
01:33 pm

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Koodalmanikyam Festival
Had a short visit to Kerala and came back this morning. It was Day 8-10 of Koodalmanikyam festival, and I was intending to watch the Sheeveli fully for all the days, along with other festival programs, etc. But the heat was unbearable in Kerala - the worst I have experienced so far, and I found it too hard to go out and stand under the sun for long. So I could just manage to watch the climax of the Panchari Melam on Day 8-9 and a little bit of the Aarattu procession.

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April 26th, 2016
09:51 am

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The Great Indian Obsession
In his book The Great Indian Obsession, author Adhitya Iyer explores one of the obsessions of Indians - the craze for making their children "engineers". Every year, India produces more engineers than any other country in the World, and engineering has become like some sort of a primary and default qualification in India. So, we have actors, musicians, authors, artists - people working in a wide variety of fields, who are engineers by education. And most of those who are not in that list, prefer to become a software engineer irrespective of their branch of study. The irony is that in spite of producing so many software engineers and computer professionals, hardly any breakthrough innovation in terms of core computer technology has come from India in recent past; But many Indians residing in other countries have become successful entrepreneurs. Adhitya Iyer tries to analyze this scenario in his well-written book.

Adhitya Iyer starts with his travel experiences to various IIT JEE coaching centers, along with his observations on engineering education, and then moves on to write on Indian education system in general - the caste based reservations, the social and cultural aspects of education and the historical background in creation of particular mindsets in Indian parents, the brain drain, etc. The author has also inserted several passages containing general information and trivia about Indian politics and history (Apparently, the book seems to be written primarily with a non-Indian reader in mind, so we even see the word "Ram" being qualified with "A Hindu lord", and we see passages explaining that "Indian Railways" is a state-run enterprise). Overall, I found the book to be informative and interesting.

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April 20th, 2016
10:51 am

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Harsh Summer
This has been the harshest summer I have ever experienced in Bangalore so far. Walking in open space during 11AM-4PM, we can really feel as if the space around us is fuming. I have spent peak days of a summer once in Chennai, and this year's summer in Bangalore would even beat that one.

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April 16th, 2016
01:00 pm

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Mad Max - Fury Road
Though I am not a great fan of those "heavy duty action films", I liked watching Mad Max - Fury Road - Brilliantly choreographed action sequences, with apt music to accompany - it is non-stop action for two hours.

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April 15th, 2016
07:31 pm

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The Revenant
Watched The Revenant, which tells the story of Survival and Revenge. The main focus of the movie is on the intense hardships the main character goes through, which are very realistically portrayed. There are gruesome scenes of violence, as well as beautiful imagery of snow-clad landscapes of North America. Overall, a good one to watch.

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April 14th, 2016
09:15 am

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The Best of Tenida
The Best of Tenida is a collection of five short stories and a novel Charmurti, featuring Tenida and his friends, written by Narayan Gangopadhyay, translated by Aparna Chaudhuri.

One of the lesser translated among the three "Da" characters of Bengali literature of the 1950-1980 period, (the other two being Feluda and Ghanada), Tenida is a youngster who repeatedly fails in school examinations, and takes this up as a matter of pride. He is accompanied by his classmates Pelaram (the narrator of the stories), Kyabla and Habul, all living in Potoldanga, Kolkata. Tenida is bossy and selfish; he constantly orders the other three to buy various food items for him to keep him continuously energized. He doesn't have much of heroic characteristics; On the contrary, in the novel Charmurti, he appears as one who every now and then has to manage to make cover for his acts of cowardice, which are so obvious in front of other characters. While his friends don't like being robbed off their pocket money for buying snacks for Tenida, there seems to be a strange bond of friendship between the four.

The stories in this collection are about various adventures of Tenida and friends, and these humorous narratives make an interesting reading.

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March 26th, 2016
07:57 pm

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Feluda @ 50
Feluda @ 50 is a book by Boria Majumdar to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Feluda, the famous detective character created by Satyajit Ray. Divided into four parts, the first part of the book has articles written by Majumdar himself, in which he tries to analyze what makes Feluda "click". It also has a chapter that writes about Sandip Ray's experiences while makings Feluda movies. The second part of the book contains articles written by different people, recounting their own nostalgia and admiration for Feluda. Another part of the book has interviews with the three actors who played Feluda (including Soumitra Chatterjee, who was the first Feluda on screen). The book also contains several photographs from the sets of Feluda films, illustrations that accompanied Feluda novels and some meticulous sketches made by Satyajit Ray while making the first two Feluda films.

While I have watched the Feluda films directed by Satyajit Ray, I have never got a chance to watch those directed by Sandip Ray. Feluda @ 50 prompted me to watch all of the Feluda films, and also re-read the translations of Feluda adventures once again.

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March 22nd, 2016
07:24 pm

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Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring
Watched Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, two French films directed by Claude Berri, based on the two-volume novel with the same name, written by Marcel Pagnol.

Set in beautiful French countryside immortalized by the author through his autobiographical works, the first film narrates the story of two wealthy villagers grabbing the property of an unsuspecting and innocent newcomer via a cunning plot, while the second film narrates a story of revenge and its aftermath. The narrative and characterizations in the films are done in such a way that even the "villains" are likeable people, with whom we would empathize.

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