Island Express

I had written about this short film some time ago, but a second watch meant a second post. My first post dwelled on the character of Leon (Prithviraj) but i did not comprehend how limited my perspective was until i watched the directors cut of ‘Island Express’.

I was of 4 years of age i guess, when one of the most horrendous tragedies in the annals of railway history occurred on July 08,1988. The Island Express derailed from atop the Perumon Bridge into Ashtamudi lake taking with it 108 souls to the green rooms of the great drama called life. I remember sketchy details : the grim,sad faces of my parents and the unemotional and detached voice of the newsreader of the Doordarshan channel. Like any tragedy not connected to me by the umbilical cord of a personal relation, this too became a dry leaf among the pages of History. I am not ashamed to say that it took this short film to remind me of the great loss of human life that day after all these years.

My friends who watched the movie with me had many a different favorite from this film but this plot stuck to me. Many a  different life converging at one place to pay homage to the loved ones who left them mid stride. In the words of the protagonist it is “Memory with a watermark” and it couldnt have been beautifully summarized. When i watched the movie again, what i found attractive was not the characters but the final five minutes of the movie when each character gives his/her own homage to their loved ones in the form of a few rose petals or a tear filled memory fleeting behind the irises. A human being is the most complex creation ever to grace earth with its presence, one that harbors good and evil in equal measure. There were people who gave up their last breath trying to save others that night and there were those who snatched away a few currency notes or a glittering ornament or two from the dead and the dying. Both existed that fateful day and will continue to do so….it takes all kinds to make the world.

This is my homage after 22 years to those souls, those unfinished dreams, unrealised love, those selfless and brave men and women who valued others more than themselves…I can never truly comprehend what Human Beings are. The movie was but a recollection in under 20 minutes… of hope beyond suffering, of life beyond the ultimate reality called death.

Drona 2010….

The myths of Kerala are a treasure trove for any director with visual sense and a leaning towards fantasy to deliver a roller coaster ride of thrills in a movie. This has been amply proved in movies of the yesteryears like Atharvam, Sree Krishna Parunthu and so forth. Drona 2010 was movie i expected to be on the same lines, but like almost all movies with a huge hype it fell flat on its face.

The story follows family feuds, a marauding yakshi ( a female monstrosity that in turn is similar to the myth of the vampire),a brother duo of an atheist and a sadhu and the works. The basic plot is interesting and i could even make sense of the first half of the movie. Come the second half and i went off the rails…too much twists, turns and wanton complexities that leave the tale representing something that came out of a mixer gone crazy. I muttered to my friend during the movie ” I guess the script writer was on dope” and he muttered back ” Seems like the whole unit was”, that is how the movie feels. Scenes without any sort of logical connection to the main story and characters who do inexplicable things which are not explained anywhere.

There are two things i liked in the movie that are entirely peripheral in nature :

1 . The looks of Mammootty as Pattazhi Madhavan Namboothiri, the ascetic look and the blazing eyes are worth a watch.

2. The Yakshi played by Dhanya Mary Varghese…whoa !!! she is one of the most beautiful Yakshis to have been on silver screen..

But this is pretty much about it. When it comes down to what mattered in the movie, the looks of the lead actor and the cameo by an actress would never save a sinking ship….

What do i read next ??

The second month into the New Year is when i get a feeling on putting something down on the blog. Racked my brains but came up with nothing and so i decided to put down a list, of the books I would want to read in 2010. Here goes :

  1. Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer
  2. Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
  3. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  4. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  6. The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
  7. Beowulf
  8. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
  9. City of Djinns by William Dalrymple
  10. The complete and unabridged Mahabharatha
  11. The complete chronicles of Conan the Barbarian by Robert E Howard
  12. Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden
  13. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  14. The three theban plays by Sophocles
  15. Ghost by Robert Harris
  16. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby
  17. Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield
  18. Caesar by Adrian Goldsworthy
  19. Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  20. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  21. Death in the Dark Continent/Death in Silent Places by Peter H Capstick
  22. The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
  23. The Epic of Gilgamesh
  24. The Republic by Plato
  25. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

25 books, all different genres and this would be my reading list for this year.