Here is another feature on Finland’s schools.
Malayalam movie Ee Adutha Kalathu (ഈ അടുത്ത കാലത്ത്), directed by Arun Kumar Aravind is quite similar to a 30 year old movie named Ee Nadu (ഈ നാട്) made by the legendary film director I.V. Sasi. More than the story, this is an eye opener on how the Kerala society has changed in 30 years. While Ee Nadu was portrayed through the eyes of Comrade Krishna Pilla played magnificently by Balan K Nayar, there really is no protagonist in Ee Adutha Kalathu, but the story moves through the life of Vishnu a garbage recycler, played by Indrajit.
The story line is built around a serial killer who targets senior citizens, mostly living alone. But what makes the story interesting is the range of contemporary topics it touches- Police- Media nexus, Quotation gangs, Healthcare tourism, Family quarrels of the 21st century kind, Facebook/YouTube addicted teenager and subtly bringing to the fore the rising power of RSS. The story completely keeps off the influence of politicians unlike in Ee Nadu. To me, that itself is a significant change in 30 years. The story has been held together by Jagathy Sreekumar, who plays the editor of a two bit paper called Theepantham. One of the very real modern day dangers the film brings out is how women get honey trapped by young men who go on to blackmail them via video recordings and broadcast on YouTube. There are some direct references to the Nano car story, which Jagathy drives, as well as one of the biggest issues facing Trivandrum- Vilappilsala garbage mess.
The storyline is passable and somewhere half way through the second half, an effort has been made to end the movie quickly. But the script has done brilliantly to voice over some of the advertisements and television messages that we see everyday and it was nice to see Anup Menon playing a narcissist police officer paired against a women’s lib journalist played by Lena. Jagathy Sreekumar makes a huge difference to the movie though he does not appear in more than 10 shots. Indrajit continues to improve as an actor. I thought Murali Gopy was way too vocally emphatic than necessary. The story eventually ends making fun of the Police department, who not only ‘capture’ the serial killer through a daring act, but also find him guilty of another murder.
Overall, an eminently viewable film but nothing riveting or brilliant. And Ee Nadu will continue to remain a classic it is.
As a domiciled Kannadiga, I have been flirting with translated editions of Kannada literature from time to time- nothing heavy. Not the likes of Kambar and Kuvempu, but contemporary writers like Sudha Murthy and U.R. Ananthamurthy. Both have similar writing styles, in my opinion. And they both come from central Karnataka region, and not the much filmed Mysore Karnataka area. I fell in love with ‘Mahaswehtha’ by Sudha Murthy.
Mahashwetha is the story of a young, but poor girl named Anupama who studies Sanskrit in a college and is deeply involved in drama- especially classics like Kadambari by Bhana Bhatta. Anupama has been described as breathtakingly beautiful by the author.Dr. Anand sees a performance and falls in love with her. Dr. Anand insists on getting married to her though he’s from a well to do background and is planning to go to England for higher studies. In spite of the resistance from his mother and other family members, they do get married, much to the relief of Anupama’s step mother. The book vividly describes the conservative mindset of the Indian family in spite of its wealth and societal status. Within a couple of months of marriage, Anand leaves for England. Soon after, she develops leukoderma- she becomes ‘Mahashwetha’, or super white. The book brilliantly describes how she struggles to hide this for fear of being ostracised. She is abandoned by her in laws family and later by her own family.
Anupama moves to Mumbai with her friend, whose husband finds her a job and from there the story brilliantly describes how she finds herself, grows in confidence and becomes one of the best known drama directors among the Kannada Samaj in Mumbai. Though she was isolated by her family she believed that she is like a tree- A tree blooms several flowers, some of which become fruits which get pecked by insects and birds. The tree itself does not enjoy what it bears. Still can one say that the tree’s life is wasted? Though I read a translated version in Malayalam, this and such conversations have been captured without loss of its essence. That in itself is a commendable job.
It does not matter in which age this book is set. I was surprised that it was first published in 2007. The same mindsets that belonged to the last century still remain in our society. But the never say die, single minded focus on your goals is what makes a human being. This is in stark contrast to one of our national shames- Bride slavery.
You can pick up an English copy of ‘Mahashwetha’ at Flipkart.