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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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July 29th, 2018
08:14 pm

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Shunya
Read Shunya - A Novel by Sri M. Set in times possibly in the 1960s or 70s, the novel tells the story of Shunya, a wandering Yogi who arrives in a village near Thiruvananthapuram. He settles in the backyard of a toddy shop, and though initially regarded as a crazy man by the villagers because of his peculiar ways, soon attains fame through various miraculous deeds. Much of the novel contains descriptions of the supernatural deeds of Shunya, which would appear like tales from Aithihyamala.

Some of the incidents and characters in this novel would remind us of real life characters which Sri M has written about in his autobiographical works, Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master and The Journey Continues. The novel is a very easy and engaging read.

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July 28th, 2018
02:27 pm

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Uncle
Shruthi, a student at a college in Ootty, has to reach her home in Kozhikkode, and she gets a lift from her father's friend, KK (played by Mammootty). Malayalam film Uncle follows the events during this trip.

The last 30 minutes of the film are crafted brilliantly, and the climax of the movie is an effective criticism on "moral policing" and hypocrisy of Malayalees. There are some fine performances, by Mammootty, Joy Mathew and Muthumani in these scenes. However, it looks like the makers of the film were a bit unsure on how to build up a story thread that would take to these scenes handling a social issue. They attempt a thriller format, with elements of mystery shrouding the the character of KK, and assembling some scenes like a road movie, interleaved with scenes showing the worried parents of the girl at her home. I felt that the conversations between the girl and KK were often very boring. Nevertheless, Uncle is a decent effort from director Girish Damodar, and certainly a watchable film from actor Mammootty who has been acting in atrocious films like Masterpiece and Thoppil Joppan these days.

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July 26th, 2018
09:07 pm

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October
Watched Hindi film October, and liked it. While the narrative has the touching quality of some of the good old Malayalam films, the frames are beautiful, and the music was good too.

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July 23rd, 2018
08:27 am

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Isle of Dogs
Liked Isle of Dogs, for Wes Anderson's unique style of animation and some witty dialogues. The music was interesting too.

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July 22nd, 2018
05:56 pm

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Penumbra
Read the detective novel Penumbra, written by Bhaskar Chattopadhyay, in which he introduces his detective, Janardhan Maity.

Prakash, a freelance journalist living in Kolkata, receives a letter from a person who says he is his uncle who has been living in Europe for a long time. He has returned back to India, and he invites Prakash to his home for his 60th birthday. Prakash accepts the invitation, and reaches his uncle's home, a bungalow located in a remote village. There are a few other guests as well and they get to know each other. Late in the evening, two murders take place in the bungalow, and the rest of the story narrates the investigation process.

Though the story is set in current times, the settings and narrative style of Penumbra has an old world charm that is reminiscent of Byomkesh and Feluda mysteries. I enjoyed reading the book in one sitting, and ordered three more books from the author.

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July 17th, 2018
05:25 pm

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Mayaanadhi
Watched Aashiq Abu's Mayaanadhi. A skillfully directed film with excellent performances from the lead actors (and Aishwarya Lekshmi deserves special mention for being such an expressive actress), I felt that this was the best one from Aashiq Abu so far.

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July 15th, 2018
10:08 am

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Sudani from Nigeria
Malayalam film Sudani from Nigeria, debut by director Zakariya, gives the experience of reading a touching short story, and I never for a moment could feel that it is the first film by the director.

Sudani from Nigeria shows the life of Majid (played by Soubin Shahir), manager of a local football team in Malabar. Samuel, a player from Nigeria, who is sponsored by him, is injured and needs to take bed-rest for a couple of months. Majid doesn't have financial capacity to arrange a hospital bed or nurse for Samuel, so he takes him to his home.

After his father's death, Majid's mother had remarried, and Majid holds a grudge against his mother ever since then, even though several years have gone by and she is very old now. He doesn't speak or even acknowledge the existence of his step-father, who lives in a separate home (due to the hostility shown by Majid), and his interactions with his mother are also very limited. Looking forward to go through the experience of being wanted as a mother, Majid's mother takes care of Samuel through this period, and by the time Samuel returns to his homeland after recovery, Majid also manages to recover from his inner fights between ego, pride, self-pity and feelings of guilt. The film focuses on the inherent goodness in all people, and the climax scene where Majid brings his aging step-father home, with a priceless smile lighting up the old man's face, is very touching.

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July 14th, 2018
07:38 pm

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Aabhaasam
Liked Malayalam satire film Aabhaasam for its candid take on hypocrisy, prejudices and perversion in society. The film narrates the events happening during an overnight bus journey from Bangalore to Kerala, and shows the interactions between its passengers, driver and "kili". Suraj Venjaramood shines in the role of the kili.

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July 8th, 2018
11:27 am

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Muthassimarude Rathri
Read a short book called Muthassimarude Rathri, a collection of memoirs by MT Vasudevan Nair. There is one touching memoir from his older days, but the rest of the memoirs are around his childhood and formative years of 1940s and 1950s. They give glimpses of Village Life in Kerala of those days when children walked to schools several miles away, not wearing shirts or foot wares, eating plain kanji for lunch using folded jack fruit leaves, etc. Written in MT's poetic language, they make very good reading.

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June 23rd, 2018
06:42 pm

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Swathandryam Ardharathriyil
Watched Malayalam thriller film Swathandryam Ardharathriyil, directed by Tinu Pappachan.

The film tells the story of a bunch of convicts escaping from jail, building a tunnel from their cell. The theme as such is nothing new, and we have seen several such films before, especially from Hollywood (classics like The Shawshank Redemption and The Great Escape come to my mind first). However, Swathandryam Ardharathriyil still makes a very engaging and thrilling watch for its fresh treatment (at least for a Malayalam film) involving brilliant background music, visual presentation, editing and excellent performances.

Slow-motion photography is predominantly used in Indian films for scenes involving "glorification" of heroes, but in Swathandryam Ardharathriyil we see how it is effectively used along with brilliant choreography and editing to build some very engaging sequences (like the scene showing the protagonist's entry into the jail, and his attempts to abort the escape attempt by another prisoner).

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