Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Malayalam Cinema: The Celluloid Controversy

Within 24 hours of Kamal’s Celluloid winning seven awards including Best Film and Best Actor (Prithviraj) at the Kerala State Film Awards on February 23, 2013, a major controversy erupted. It was ignited by K. Muraleedharan, son of the former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran. He claimed that the film insulted his father and a bureaucrat who had worked under him.

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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sunday, 10 February 2013

JJ Murphy remembered

I am getting back to Kerala’s much loved Irish planter, JJ Murphy about whom I have already written so much. There are two events that I have to report.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The writer, The showman and ‘The Guide’

This one was a difficult story to research, something I had avoided for a long time. Two of my favorite persons tussling with each other and the question of who was right was a determination I did not really want to make, mainly because I felt that one had to be wrong for the other to be right. Anyway I was determined to find out if there was indeed a real story behind all this posturing and so I decided to get to the root of the matter. Armed with a lot of research and archival material, I dived deep into the topic, and read much on the lines and between the lines, to come out with a much better understanding of the issue. In this narrative, I will move back and forth between the first person accounts of those interesting personalities, newspaper reports and other material to keep the story going.

The people are all well known, and we traverse to a period 1958-1965. RK Narayan, in his middle ages and a widower then, had already completed and published some 6-7 novels and was well regarded in India and the West. Some of his best books - Swami and fiends, The Bachelor of Arts, The Dark room, The English Teacher, Mr. Sampath, Waiting for the Mahatma and the Financial expert had been devoured by many happy fans and critics. He had quite a following and kept to his strict regimen of writing a few thousand words every day, in the pursuit of creation of many more fascinating literary works. Dev Anand, by that time was a popular Bollywood (the term did not exist then) matinee idol, some 20 years younger than RKN, having acted in wonderful films like Baazi, Munimji, CID, Paying guest, Kala bazar, Bombai ka babu, Hum Dono, Tere Ghar ke samne and Kala-pani, just to name a few.

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