Thursday, May 29, 2008

Billoo Barber... and Other Stories

This will be the first time I am writing a preview of a movie, because I think I am the right person to do this.

A few months ago, I saw this beautiful Malayalam movie titled 'Katha Parayumbol'. Scripted by Srinivasan, the movie will find a place in the minds of folks who have watched it, for its sheer simplicity. Srinivasan plays Balan, a barber, whose childhood friend is now a superstar who has come to his village as part of a movie crew. The storyline maybe inspired from the Krishna- Kuchela fable, but make no mistake, this gem of a script will make you, cry, laugh and dance with Balan and his fellow villagers. With hilarious dialogues and comedy of the class you can expect from Srinivasan, this movie is a must watch for every movie buff...


Srinivasan is a writer who has always told stories that the common man wanted to hear, with which he could relate to. Just look at the movies he has acted in, or penned for, or even directed. Forget his acting skills; this person is a cinematic genius, a boon to the Malayalam film industry.


But the news that this beautiful thing is being remade into Tamil (Kuchela), Telugu(Kucheludu) and Hindi (Billoo Barber) makes me sad. Rajnikanth playing in the South Indian versions and SRK playing in the Hindi version. Take it from me, they are gonna make a mess of the script, with indications of change in the story line so as to have more screen presence for ‘Rajni Sir’, I’m damn sure this remake will be a cold blooded murder of the original.

Another remake in the offering from Bollywood is from Mallus’ very own Priyadarshan who has come up with ‘Mere Baap, Pehle Aap(MBPA)'. Although the original (Ishtam) directed by Sibi Malayil, was not one of the director’s best, it was a watchable movie.

Priyadarshan has a history of remaking Malayalam movies, that too not of his own creation, into Hindi and spoiling the whole soul of the movie. Just take a count of his Hindi flops of Malayalam super hit films. Why doesn’t he just give up...come up with something of his own in Hindi? Right from his early days in Bollywood, from 'Muskurahat', till 'MBPA', show me an original Hindi movie of his, and I will show you a dud.

Though SRK and Rajni fans will be eagerly waiting for their hero’s new releases, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that they do at least some justice to the original script.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Eternal Two Rupees...

There are times when you actually start believing in God; times when you really feel that there is someone up there who is looking at you, who really cares for you. I wasn’t an atheist, wasn’t God-fearing, until this day, after which I became God-loving...

** ** **

This happened seven years ago. I was doing my Pre-degree (12th class). This particular day, we had a strike, for some reason, in our college, the grand old Govt. Victoria College Palakkad. In Kerala, strikes are not something rare. You have a strike by one political group or the other at the drop of a hat.

And so, it was obvious that students went for tuitions so that they could cover their portions before the exams. That’s why tuitions were important.

On that eventful day, thanks to the strike, I was home an hour after I went to college. I spent the whole day, alone at home, watching TV and doing what I enjoy the most, sleeping. In the evening I had tuitions. And for all the right reasons, I couldn’t miss them.

In the evening when I was about to leave for my tuitions I found to my horror that I had no money, except for Rs. 2, with me. And those days, to go by bus from my place to the tuition centre, I needed at least 4 Rs; 2 Rs to go and 2 Rs to come back. And then what about our after-tuition snacks, then? (We used to frequent the Indian Coffee House and have a cutlet or an omelette which cost exactly Rs. 5)

I thought 'I can go to the city with the 2 Rs, go to my mom's office, get some money from her and come back. And snacks, for today, will take a back seat! ’.

Thus I went to the bus stop with only Rs 2 in my pocket.

At the bus stop there was this person who was from a courier company who wanted to know which side of the road he should stand to go to the city.

As both of us were to go to the same destination, I asked him to come along side me. By the time the bus came, we were good friends: we knew each others’ names, the count of family members and the name of the schools we attended etc.

At last the bus came, and when the conductor approached us for the ticket, this person said, ‘2 tickets to the city’!

I insisted on paying for my ticket and even tried to give him the money for mine. But he refused, saying, ‘it’s only 2 Rs!’

Of course, he didn’t know the value of 2 Rs as much as I did that day.

And soon, it was time for us to get down and we parted our ways, said good bye to each other.

I asked him again to take the money for my ticket, but he refused. At last I gave him a wonderful smile with thanks written all over it.

Even though I had 2 Rupees with me to go back home, I thought I will go to my mom and get some extra bucks from her. I headed straight to my mom’s office where another surprise awaited me. My mom's friend and colleague told me that she had already left in the afternoon as my aunty was hospitalized.

“U can go and meet her at the Nursing home”, she said.

‘Ok’, I said. 'Give me the money too!’ I said in my mind, and left for the tuition.

‘It was ok’, I thought, ‘I have 2 Rs with me and I could go home with it’.

So, after tuitions I headed straight to the bus station. “Why? What about our coffee house? ”, one friend asked. “I have to rush. Not today. ta-ta, bye”, I said.

I caught a bus back home. Inside the bus, to my surprise, my mom, my aunty and my two cousins were sitting. As it turned out, she was hospitalized and discharged and my mom was taking them to our home, so that she gets some rest.

Thus, this time, my mom paid for my ticket. And I reached home safely!

When I was changing my clothes, I took something from my pocket and put it in my old wallet, where I used to put all my coin and currency collections. It was the 2 Rupees currency with which I left home!!!

** ** **