An American Malayalam Professor

Check out this interview (courtesy: Asianet) with Prof. Rodney F Moag, who has been teaching at the University of Texas, Austin. See how he speaks Malayalam with ease, considering that he is a foreigner. Check out his profile at Kerala Tourism website. He is also a country music performer. See his music profile at his music website.

(Thanks to Uma for the link)

Interview with Sohan Lal

[Today’s is a guest post by K K Moidu]. Young director Sohanlal is delighted by the overwhelming response to his maiden directorial venture Orkkuka Vallappozhum (Remember sometimes). The low-budget Malayalam film, with veteran actor Thilakan in the lead role, is bringing him laurels from all walks of life. There are more reasons for him to be happy, this is his first feature film and it has already placed him among well-known filmmakers in Kerala.

Moreover, the film has not only got rave reviews, but it also won the prestigious Atlas Film Critic Award for the director. Awards and appreciation are not new to him. He has won more than 15 awards earlier for his small-screen works. His teleserials Pedakam, Neermathalathinte Pookkal and other mini screen programmes like Sopanam, Anjali, Cinema Vicharana, etc. fetched several awards for him earlier.

Born in Thiruvananthapuram, he has a postgraduate degree in Web Designing and a degree in English Language and Literature from the prestigious University College, Thiruvananthapuram. He has been working with various television channels in Kerala. His initial years at Doordarshan gave him the opportunity to work with famed directors like Shyama Prasad. His live commentary for a programme called Veettilekkulla Vazhi (Road towards home) is still fresh in the minds of people. He has worked with most of the Malayalam channels like Asianet, Amrita, Indiavision, Jeevan etc.

His long experience with electronic media has made him technically perfect in his projects. While working with Indiavision he had the good fortune of working with the legendary littérateur and filmmaker MT Vasudevan Nair. Incidentally, MT is writing the preface for his book Orkkuka Vallappozhum, on which the film was made. A strong critic of present-day commercial potboilers, he always wanted to make good films and Orkkuka Vallappozhum proves his commitment.

Continue reading Interview with Sohan Lal

Siruvani Hills, Palakkad

Last Friday, I went to Palakkad with some friends to attend a friend’s wedding. His wedding was on Saturday, so we had a full day to spend there. Our plan was to visit Siruvani Dam, but couldn’t go past the forest department check post as we did not have a sanction letter from the district forest officer. Sp we just enjoyed our ride and clicked some pics. Here are some snaps I took in my mobile phone camera.

Malayalam songs of 2008 – My picks

Choosing the top 10 Malayalam songs of 2008 was not at all a difficult job. It was pretty easy as most of the songs were run-off-the-mill junks. However, there were still some songs, not exceeding 8, from the year 2008.

The most notable music director of 2008 was Sreevalsan J Menon with his songs for the movie Laptop. Bijibal is also a promising young music director. The notable fresh new voice for the year 2008 was Amal Antony for the songs he sang for Laptop. Music directors Dakshina Moorthy and Sarath have made a comeback to Malayalam with the movies Mizhikal Sakshi and Thirakkatha. And the interesting thing to note is that Malayalam is hearing very less of Yesudas in the recent years.

So here is my Top 8 Malayalam songs list for 2008.

Song: Ilam neela neela
Movie: Laptop
Singer: Sreevalsan J Menon
Music: Sreevalsan J Menon
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Arikil Nee Illa
Movie: Thirakkatha
Singer: Madhu Balakrishnan
Music: Sarath
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Kaanin Vaathil
Movie: Mulla
Singer: Gayatri
Music: Vidya Sagar
Lyrics: Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma

Song: May Maasame
Movie: Laptop
Singer: Amal Antony
Music: Sreevalsan J Menon
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Mizhi thammil
Movie: Minnaaminni Koottam
Music: Bijibal
Lyrics: Anil Panachooran

Song: Paalapoo Eethalil
Movie: Thirakkatha
Singers: Nishad, Swetha
Music: Sarath
Lyrics: Rafiq Ahmed

Song: Chethiyum
Movie: Mizhikal Sakshi
Singers: K S Chitra
Music: Dakshina Moorthy
Lyrics: ONV Kurup

8 )
Song: Kanalukal
Movie: Mulla
Singers: V. Sreekumar, Sujatha
Music: Vidya Sagar
Lyrics: Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma

Humans and Hymen

Malayalees first heard the word Hymenoplasty when the reports came that Sr. Sephy (one of the accused in the Sr. Abhaya murder case) had undergone this surgery. In the Sr. Abhaya murder case, Sr. Sephy allegedly had done Hymenoplasty to prove her virginity. The news that Hymenoplasty could help you restore hymen could come as a shocking news to some but also a relief to others.

For the world outside Kerala, Hymenoplasty is nothing new. In France, many young Muslim women reportedly have done Hymenoplasty to prove their virginity and avoid troubles in their family and marital relationships. The news of a woman being divorced in the very night of her marriage and the case went to court had sparked off a national debate in France. Although the news article which came in The Newyork Times was trying to paint the whole issue as a problem of Muslim world alone, the truth remains that all conservative societies, regardless of a particular religion, see virginity as an important factor in marriage.

There was a big fuss in India when actress Khushboo had said that no educated man should expect his wife or girlfriend to be a virgin. This has lead to nation wide debates over virginity and pre-marital relationships in India. Two political parties in Tamil Nadu state took the protest to burning Khushboo’s effigies and demanding an apology from here. Also many people, men and women, regardless of their political affiliations, had said in their private discussions that Khushboo was wrong. All of this finally lead Khushboo to make a public apology.

Individually most of the men and women I know prefer a virgin partner. Virgin men or women in particular are very demanding about it as well, even though they wouldn’t publicly admit it. However, there are no pre-marital virginity tests reportedly conducted here.

Horticop Vegetable Kits

One of the good things (among the many bad things) that LDF Government has initiated in Kerala is the Horticop’s (The Kerala State Horticulture Corporation) vegetable kit supply. Horticop supply vegetable kits at major market places in and around Thiruvananthapuram city for Rs. 18. The initiative was taken place when the vegetable prices shot up and to make sure that the people get vegetables at a good price. The above picture shows the Horticop’s vehicle supplying the vegetable kits at Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum (picture taken from my office). This supply vehicle comes almost everyday in the evenings and there is a huge crowd gathering to buy the kits and all the kits are sold out in a few minutes. There is also meat supply in another vehicle, which again makes sure that you get good farm meat prodicts at a good price.

The Horticop has also set up small shops in different parts of the city and these stores are also being extended to other districts. This initiative also helps some people get employment and the others to buy vegetables at a good price.

The “Dry Day” Comedy

Kerala’s liquor policy is one of the most stupid and ineffective decisions of the previous government which is being continued to the date by the current government. According to the existing policy, bars and liquor shops would remain shut on the first of every month and on all government holidays. One of the reasons cited for this move was that the employees would spend a good portion of their monthly salary in the bars or for buying liquor from the shops on the first of every month. So the government thought this move would reduce the liquor consumption, but they were wrong.

In fact, the government statistics show that Malayalees’ liquor consumption has only increased ever since the policy put in place. The reasons are plenty. Not all drunkards are salaried people. There are so many people who work for daily wages who spend a good portion of their daily wages to buy liquor from the shops or from bar hotels. And for salaried sector, they buy and store liquor prior to the holidays (including Hartal days as Hartal is also a major holiday here in Kerala). So you can see big queues outside the liquor shops on 30th or 31st of every month. Well, that’s not all. Even on the 1st of every month and holidays, you will get liquor for some extra bucks. Some three star hotels sell liquor on these days through their backdoor. Only difference is that you will have to pay some extra than the usual shop rate. Some ‘wise men’ also store liquor in big quantities and sell them to their ‘regular customers’ on these Dry Days. So you only have to give them a call and get your bottle delivered, again, for some extra bucks.

So in effect, the government’s policy is only helping some private parties to make more money out of the Dry Days. This joke has got to stop and government should think about other ways to effectively implement the liquor policy.

(Image courtesy:

4th ViBGYOR Film Festival – Call for entries

ViBGYOR Film Festival ThrissurViBGYOR is an initiative of the ViBGYOR Film Collective, which is an open coalition of various networks and groups, representing indigenous people, dalits, youth, and sexual minorities and addressing issues of war, conflict and peace, human rights, environment and development, culture and media and globalization.

4th ViBGYOR International Film Festival
Date: February 4-8, 2009
Venue: Regional Theatre Campus, Thrissur, Kerala, India.

We are happy to announce the 4th Edition of ViBGYOR Short & Documentary Film Festival to be held from February 4th to 8th, 2009 in Thrissur, Kerala, India.

We invite for PREVIEW your Documentaries, Short Fiction, Music Videos, Animation, Spots & Experimental films (Micro films, Mobilephone films etc) for the upcoming edition. You may send the works made in the past 3years but not been entered at ViBGYOR before.

Documentaries are invited to the following categories:
1. ViBGYOR Theme Packages
 Gender and Sexuality  Dalit Reality  Indigenous People  Globalisation
 Nation State  Fundamentalism v/s Diversity  Region Focus –Pakistan
2. Focus of the Year: FOOD SOVERIGNTY
3. Global Concerns:  Human Rights  Health & HIV/AIDS  Migration

Last Date for film submission–NOVEMBER 30, 2008 Continue reading 4th ViBGYOR Film Festival – Call for entries

BarCamp Kerala 3

BarCamp Kerala‘s 3rd chapter is to happen on December 7, 2008 at CUSAT Campus, Kochi (Exact location and maps will be up in the website soon). The organizers say that the exact time will be announced later. Go to their website to register and check out the list of attendees and sessions. A colleague of mine, Praseed Pai, will be taking a session on Programming Paradigms.

(Image courtesy: