KOODE- My experience

I’m really choosy when it comes to the movies I watch or the books I read. They get stuck in my mind for a long time and influence my thinking to an extent. So I try to be really careful before choosing a movie/ book or even new songs. Many a time I end up re-watching or re-reading the movies and the books I love.

How do I choose the movies or books? To be honest, I can’t really predict if a book’s going to be good because I’ve not read many books, so, my data is often not enough to make a good prediction. I ask people to suggest me good ones. But movies and songs, I can predict. I have a set of actors, directors, singers, music directors whose work I really love and always look forward to.

Why did I want to watch Koode?

When I watched ‘Bangalore Days’ (a Malayalam movie) for the first time, I could not get over the movie for a long time. The music, the characters, the songs, the dialogues- everything kept running in the back of my mind. I love the story and the portrayal of the relationships in the movie. I watched it several times later that I’ve lost the count.

I saw Nazriya in a music album’s song ‘Nenjodu Cherthu‘ (also the first Malayalam song I heard in my life) prior to this film and I cannot tell you how much I love her or how amazing she is. Such a bubbly, cute and natural actress she is.

Parvathy had an important role in the movie and I found her really fascinating. She sports a pixie cut kinda look in the film which I wanted for me, too. 😛

That’s the movie that introduced me to Anjali Menon, the director. I love the movie for all the reasons I mentioned above and she directed it, need I say more about her? Oh, I should. I request you to watch the film.

Also, that’s the first movie I watched of Dulquer. And I fell in love with him. I watched almost all of his movies after that. One of my absolute favorites among them is ‘Ustad Hotel’. I love it. I mentioned this movie also because I found a person in the film so good. He is part of a music band in the film and has just a dialogue to say. But he has a peculiar accent and that caught my attention. He was not an easy find back then because there was no Wikipedia page about him. I got to know his name with difficulty and that was it. I followed him on Facebook and Instagram and that is when I got to know how talented he is. He has an eye for little but amazing things and portrays even the ordinary extraordinarily. Such a phenomenal photographer he is. He is Littil Swayamp. The cinematographer of this film.

The music director of the film, Raghu Dixit, is an independent musician and also a renowned playback singer and a composer. He has a peculiar voice which is totally amazing. Koode is his debut Malayalam film.

Anjali Menon directed the film. Littil Swayamp is the cinematographer. Nazriya’s come-back film after her marriage. Raghu Dixit is the music director. Given that the people whose work I find amazing and absolutely love, worked together on a film, I couldn’t contain my excitement to watch the film.

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It released a week later in non-Kerala states and by that time the reviews thronged the net. I consciously avoided reading them until I watched the film.

I won’t write anything about the story of the movie because I’m against spoilers. Also, for me a movie is more than just the story. It’s an experience. And I must say that after a long time, I’ve really experienced a cinema.

The movie begins with a loooong list of credits. Then with the music. A music that will instantly teleport you to the place and set the mood of the film. It’s ethereal. The cinematography: just wow. The locations, the angles, the mist, the rain, the dew, the greens and the browns, the smiles and the tears, and love- everything is captured so beautifully, it’s a feast to the eyes and heart. The movie is set in a village backdrop so there are not many characters. The story also revolves around just two people- a brother and a sister. It’s a normal story which is portrayed beautifully. There is nothing extravagant about anything in the film. The movie is all about the subtlety of relations. The dialogues are natural day-to-day conversations. But they are so sweet. They just intensified my desire to learn Malayalam. The songs are astounding. I’ve been playing each and every song on loop ever since I heard them. Be it Minnaminni or Paranne or Aarorum or Vaanaville, every single song is beautiful. They make your heart weep out of ecstasy. The song that gets played during the end credits (Minnaminni) would not let you leave the cinema hall. The music haunts you. The singer’s voice too. Abhay Jodhpurkar– you are amazing! The screenplay is extraordinary. You get the feel of reading a book. You are taken into the lives of the ones in the film and are made to travel along with them- smile, laugh, weep, cry, get annoyed, get surprised- all along with the characters of the film.

All the actors were extraordinary. Especially, Prithviraj Sukumaran. He did not even require dialogues to convey the feeling or the meaning of the scene, his eyes were enough. Such an amazing actor he is. The boy who played the younger version of Prithviraj acted so well. He was so natural. Nazriya is amazing as usual. She is too cute and beautiful. She sets a cheerful mood in every frame unless it’s an emotional scene, of course. Parvathy is natural and does justice to her role. Ranjith Balakrishnan who plays the father’s role and Atul Kulkarni require special mention as well. Siddharth Menon, a playback singer, Roshan Mathew, Darshana Rajendran- college friends of a lead role deserve praise too. Each and every actor-small and big, acted pretty well. They made the movie come out so naturally that you don’t feel as if you are watching a film. You live it. That is what I call experiencing a cinema. This experience was so good that I wanted to share it with everyone.

Do watch the film and let me know how you felt.



24- My views

This is a review I’ve written in Telugu for no reason but to try my hand at it.

Time control cheyyalani evariki mathram undadu. Exams ki mundhu manam waste chesina time antha exam paper meeda pen pettagane alaa gurthosthunte inkokka roju unna bagundedi baaga chadivevallam anukuntam. Ala okathanu time control chese watch tayaru cheydam..danni chejikkinchukodaniki inkokathanu chese prayatname ee cinema antha.

Theme ide aina chala klishtamaina concept. Time travel concept base cheskuni oka commercial cinema tiyyadam ante saahasame 😛 Cinema lo twistlu, vyuuhalu addiripoyayi. Pratthi scene (including comedy scenes) ni kadha lo bhagam ga unchadaniki director chesina prayatnam ki hats-off. Aakhari varaku seat-edge lo kurchuni cinema chusela chesadu. Vikram, you have a long way to go man!

Suriya triple role ani andaru annaru kani 3 different persons chesinatte undi. Attreya paathra lo aithe Suriya jeevinchesadu. The best role of Suriya till date. Young Suriya handsome ga unnadu <3. Scientist ga kuda chakkaga chesadu. Asalu Suriya thappa ee cinema ki inkevarni oohinchukolem. Maybe Vikram set avvacchu kani inkevvaru suit avvaru. Ajay thana role ki nyayam chesadu. Samantha role aithe kevalam cinema ki kontha commercial quotient add cheyydanike. Samantha beautiful gaa undi. Nithya Menen-thalukkutaara. Konchem sepe unna chala bagundi.

A R Rahman RR chala baaga undi ani cheppadam kante cinema ki set aindi ani cheppadam correct emo. Attreya ki icchina BGM aithe vere level. Anni paatalu chala bagunnayi. Tamil lo vaati sounding inka bagundi, adi vere vishayam 😛 Paatalni theraki ekkinchina theeru kuda bagundi.

Cinematography alanti vishayala gurinchi peddaga avagahana ledu kabatti matladalenu. Kani editing gurinchi aithe cheppukovali. Asalu alanti story ni 2:44min lo andariki ardhamayyela chupinchadam saadharanamaina vishayam kadu. Different concept ni complicated ga teesi, idi telivaina vallake ardham avthundi ani safe ga cheppeskune prayatnam chesundacchu. Kani manchi cinema ni andaru aadarinchali kada. Alantappudu andariki ardhamayyela tiyyadam mukhyam ani director, editor chesina krushi ki namaskaram.

Manam, Ishq, 24.. 3 different genres lo magic ni create chesina Vikram malli malli ilanti cinemalu teesthu undalani andaram aasiddam.

24 lanti goppa script ni enchukunnanduku, daani produce chesinanduku, action adaragottinanduku Suriyaa ki na abhinandanalu.

Ilanti goppa cinemalaki AAYUSHMAN BHAVA 🙂

MAHANATI – my views

Savitri Garu. I’ve known you as a legendary heroine. Someone who had an impeccable command on the art. Your roles in Maya Bazar, Missamma, Gundamma Katha, Devadasu.. are unforgettable even for our generation that has never seen you in theatres ( New Mayabazar doesn’t count). We never make an effort to know more about the lives of yesteryear actors. But you were not just an actor. You should not be called legendary just for your acting. You were an extremely sensitive, innocent, caring, kind, impulsive and stubborn person. Your love was also extreme. But how is it even called love if it is not extreme?
I cannot judge you for what you made out of your life. But I would say that you made your life a legendary one until your last breath.
You lived your life on your terms, though it had not always been a smooth path. Although the wave of realization took a long time to hit you, you never succumbed to the circumstances (until the final financial crisis that hit you like a tsunami). Even then, you fought. Fought for 18 months straight. That’s a feat!
Your life wasn’t an ideal one. You, neither. But you never lost your core self regardless of what life threw at you. You were extremely innocent, kind, generous, loving, caring, impulsive and stubborn until the last moment.
You are a MAHANATI. But an amazingly MAHAMANISHI first.
Keerthy Suresh. A pretty and natural beauty with an amazing smile. That’s what I’ve thought of you until MAHANATI happened. What a work, girl! What an effort! Speechless. You lived the character. Throughout the film, I could only see Savitri Garu on screen. There was not a single frame where I saw you as Keerthy. I’m at a loss for words to describe you. Your work is quite inspiring. You must be rechristened Mahanati henceforth.

It’s a decent film that attempted to portray the life of the yesteryear actress, Savitri. Watch it for Keerthy Suresh and Dulquer Salmaan.

Kasi Yatra: Day 2

9th June, 2017

Part 3

BHU| Some other temples | Ganga Aarti

Benaras Hindu University is one of the oldest and the most renowned universities of India. Founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, it is the largest residential university in Asia. It is spread over an area of around 2700 acres. How do I know all these? Wikipedia facts 😛 Guessed it right 😉 But the campus is really big. The buildings of the departments and hostels are all traditional and brick and cream colored. The campus is full of trees and is being maintained pretty well.

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Inside the campus, there is Shri Vishwanath Temple constructed by the Birla family. This temple has the tallest temple tower in the world (Wikipedia again :P). It is spread over a wide area and has garden on all sides. The place is serene and you would want to spend some time with yourself there.

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Then we went to Tulsi Manas Mandir which is 2-3km away from BHU. This is a temple of Sri Rama. Ram Charit Manas is engraved on the walls of the Mandir. It also has beautiful images from the epic Ramayana. From there we went to Durga temple which is nearby. A person was singing “Sajan re jhoot mat bolo” song outside the temple premises with such verve; I did not want to leave the place. From there we went to Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple. There were monkeys lining both the sides of the path to the temple. It seems they are to be called “Babaji” and not as monkeys.

We then went to the Ghats for Ganga Aarti and hired a boat. There was still time for the Aarti to begin so we went on a ride to see all the Ghats starting with Dashashwamedh Ghat. Aarti is performed on Dashashwamedh and Babu Rajendra Prasad ghats. We went till the famous Manikarnika ghat. This is the ghat where dead bodies are burnt after all the rituals are performed. It seems women are not allowed to that place. The boat wala told me so many other stories. But my mind did not register any of it. It was focused on watching the pyre. It’s such a terrible scene but I could not take my eyes off it. From Manikarnika ghat, we headed back to Dashashwamedh Ghat as the Aarti was about to begin. It starts around 6:45 PM and is performed by a group of priests. People get on boats and the boats line up facing the Aarti.

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During that time boats occupy half the width of the river with very less space between any two boats. One can literally move from one end to another just by walking on the boats. During Aarti, small businesses crop up over the boats. Tea sellers, Puja kit (consisting of Diya, Agarbatthi and flowers) sellers, water bottle sellers move from one boat to another and make money. Altogether, it is a spectacular sight and must be experienced once in a lifetime because any description is not adequate to give an idea of how beautiful it is.

With that, we called it a day.

Prev: Kasi Yatra: Day 2 (Guru Ravidas Mandir)

First: Kasi Yatra: An Introduction

Kasi Yatra: Day 2

9th June, 2017

Part 2

Guru Ravidas Mandir

My father is an avid reader of Bhakti poets (poets of the Bhakti movement in India). Varanasi was the hometown of most of the Bhakti poets like Ravidas, Mirabai, Tulsidas, Kabir. My father asked the guide to take us to Ravidas Mandir that afternoon.

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Guru Ravidas was a cobbler by profession and was a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Rama. He was tormented because of casteism. But he did not lose his faith in the Lord. Later all those who treated him in a bad manner, looked up to him and became his disciples. His Kirtans have even found place in the ‘Adigranth’.


Guru Ravidas Mandir is located near Benaras Hindu University (BHU). A very big building has been constructed as Raidas (Ravidas) Mandir. Inside the Mandir there is an idol of Guru Ravidas and a prayer hall. When we entered the Mandir, few men were singing verses from the ‘Gurubani’. It was quite pleasant. My father asked one of them where they were from and if they could sing some more verses from the Gurubani. He took us inside a room where few other devotees were there. He told us that there were so many beautiful stories in the life of Guru Ravidas and that at the moment he remembered this particular incident where people of upper caste make false accusations against Ravidas ji to the King. The king then puts Ravidas ji through various tests, all of which he succeeds by God’s grace. At the end, the ones who accuse him only make him sit in a golden palanquin and carry the palanquin on their shoulders. Our narrator shared this story with us and told us that after this incident Guru Ravidas ji sang the following lines in the glory of the God:

 ” Aisi lal tujh bin kaun kare” 

(Oh my dear Lord! Who can do these miracles if not you?) 

(For the video: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9QXYJgCGYX9eFkzYkNLLXFoemc )

An amazing thing is all the devotees present there discussed only about the glory of Guru Ravidas ji and the Gurubani. Nothing else. They were all from different places, belonged to different castes or even religion. But nothing mattered. I felt that Guru Ravidas ji’s dream of establishing a society without caste inequalities is being fulfilled by his followers.

While coming out of the Mandir, a man called us to have tea. There was a big dining hall sort of thing adjacent to the Mandir. Anyone can go in there, have a cup of tea and leave. The tea had a peculiar taste. It tasted more like jaggery juice with the essence of tea intact. It was great. After drinking the tea, we had to wash the glasses by ourselves and stack them in their place. What an amazing practice!

From Ravidas Mandir, we went to BHU.

To be continued…

Prev: Kasi Yatra: Day 2 (Vishwanath Darsan)

Next: Kasi Yatra: Day 2 (BHU, Ganga Aarti…)

First: Kasi Yatra: An Introduction



Kasi Yatra: Day 2

9th June, 2017

Part 1

Our guide, Santosh ji, told us that the right time to go for darsan of Baba ji (Sree Kashi Vishwanath, main temple) is early in the morning, before 6 o’clock. A person named Dileep guided us to the temple. He understands Telugu but spoke in beautiful Hindi. We went to Dashashwamedh Ghat first. Offered prayers to Ganga and then proceeded towards Vishwanath Mandir through all those narrow lanes. I wonder how people here remember the lanes without getting lost. They’re like a hypnotizing maze. On top of it, people of Kashi do not have the word “cleanliness” in their dictionary. Plus the constant reasonless honking. Also, given that it’s June 9th, although monsoon hit Hyderabad, it wouldn’t hit Uttar Pradesh until June 22nd. So, it was very hot here. As a result of all this, even before reaching the temple I got headache.

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As we reached the temple early, the crowd was not heavy and we had a quick darsan. From Vishwanath Mandir we went to Mata Annapurna Mandir which is quite close to Vishwanath Mandir. It’s a beautiful temple. People were performing Kumkum Puja in the temple premises. As it was Friday, Amma also wanted to perform Kumkum Puja. After the Puja, we went to Vishalakshi Mata temple. Unlike temples in South India, temples in Kashi do not have a large compound or monumental towers (gopuram). They are all just like houses. Nothing extravagant. Even the deities are treated like family. Lord Shiva, Vishwanath ji, is called as Baba (father) by the localites and Mata Annapurna and Mata Vishalakshi as Maa ji (mother).

Dileep ji, our guide, is from a weaver’s family. From Vishalakshi Mandir, he took us to his place where they sell the famous Benarasi sarees. There were various kinds of sarees, each one beautiful in its own way. We purchased two sarees of Benarasi Silk.

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From there we went to Kalabhairava Mandir. Kashi yatra is not considered to be complete until Kalabhairava’s darsan. From there, we went to our room to rest for some time, to allow the brain to process and get ready to take in more for the day.

Prev: Kasi Yatra: An Introduction  |  Kasi Yatra: Day 1

Kasi Yatra: Day 1

Most of my travels are either unplanned or planned in the nick of moment. Though that sounds bad, I feel that’s the best way to travel. Varanasi trip is no exception to this. We (my father, mother, brother and I) gave serious thought to the mode of travel just a month before the trip. I could even imagine the IRCTC (Indian Railways) website criticize, “Are you kidding me? There’s just a month to the travel and now you want train tickets? “. With no other viable option but to take a flight, we had booked tickets on IndiGo (Hyderabad to Varanasi).

8th June, 2017

First day of monsoon in Hyderabad. There could not have been a better start for the day. Ilaiyaraja’s ‘Chirugaali Veechene‘ made it even more pleasant. We reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad) two hours before the scheduled departure. As it’s the third time for me to travel by flight, I was very excited. After all the formalities i.e. check-in, baggage check and security check, we waited for a few minutes at the specified gate to board the flight. But at the last moment, the gate number was changed. It being a “silent” airport, we had to scan the screens again for the modified details. Later a local audio announcement was made. Twenty minutes before the scheduled departure, we were allowed to board the flight. Last time, we went to Varanasi by bus and it took us nearly two days to go. But this time, by flight, it took us less than 2 hours to reach the destination. What’s more, IndiGo airlines are best known for their punctuality, so we reached 30 mins before the scheduled arrival. Initially, I got all excited about the journey. Take-off was like an amazing moment for me. The flight making way through those clouds beds and flying ‘up above the world so high’ was ecstatic. It felt as if there’s an entirely different world on those clouds and it takes more than these five senses to perceive it. But other than that, the journey had no element of thrill. It did not give me the feel of journey, in the first place. Whoever wishes to save time by travelling by flight, unless it is an emergency or there’s no other option, I suggest not to take flight. Because, come on! Journey is all about making memories. As Amitabh Bhattacharya ji penned, in Ae dil hain mushkil song, ‘Safar khoobsurat hain manzil se bhi‘ (travel is more beautiful than destination).

Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur (Varanasi) is a small one. It’s around 25 km from Varanasi. The hotel we got the accommodation at, Hotel Hindustan International, has a travel desk. We got a pick-up arranged from airport. Mr Santosh came for the pick up. Santosh ji is a native of Varanasi and apparently, he knows the history, geography and politics of the place. Plus, he spoke a beautiful Hindi. We asked him to guide us in devising a plan to cover maximum places in and around Varanasi. After reaching the hotel, we booked a car for the next three days of our stay. This Hotel is around 3 km from the main temple and Dashashwamedh Ghat. The Rooms in the hotel were great. Although none of us was tired, we called it a day as we had to go for morning darsan the next day.

This is it for today. Will be back with more. Do follow for updates.

Prev: Kasi Yatra- An Introduction

Next: Kasi Yatra: Day 2 (Part 1)