The Family Man 2 – a layman’s review

Shrikant Tiwari, a TASC (NIA) agent, hunts down LTTE terrorists to save the Indian Prime Minister. Amidst flying bullets, we see epithets and F-words and cuss words raining cats and dogs. When characters aren’t using cuss words, they shoot or travel by a Mahindra Scorpio. That is Family Man 2 for the lay man.

Manoj Bajpayee, true to his skills, plays Shrikant Tiwari exceptionally well. While the Prime Minister Ms.Basu is modelled on the lines of Mamta Banerjee, she talks about PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ schemes. Basu’s meeting with Sri Lankan President Rupatunga resembles the Modi-Xi meet at Mahabalipuram, for the event is quite recent. Modi’s many overtures to Tamil Nadu finds a mention in Basu’s saying so – ‘maine ithna kiya in logon ko’. Basu doesn’t spot the bindi, a prominent symbol of bengali hindu women. Here again, Mamta Banerjee sneaks in.

The series is a thriller yet has its scenes of cryptic humour. The scenes were Talpade, Shrikant’s assistant, drools over Umaiyal, the police officer from Tamil Nadu, are a treat to watch. Shrikant’s personal life, full of troubles, is an un-welcome distraction though.

The series talks about ISI-LTTE links. Though the LTTE had tried to get help from Palestinian rebels, it has not been fully established that the now defunct LTTE had anything to do with Pakistan’s ISI. Reality was that Pakistan had hobnobbed with Sri Lankan govt to needle India.

The characterisation of the female terrorist, Raji, merits attention. Played brilliantly by Samantha Akkineni, Raji, though the tough fighter that she is, has a soft corner for the Pakistani agent Sajid. This is depicted not so explicitly but becomes visible when, on hearing about his death, Raji stops her dinner midway and moves from the scene abruptly.

The characters of Bhaskaran and Deepan are modelled definitely after LTTE Chief Prabhakaran and LTTE’s chief ideologue Anton Balasingham. However the events that take place are not true. It is true that Balasingham’s words did not carry weight with Prabhakaran in the post 9/11 world and that ultimately led to the obliteration of the LTTE.

Muthu, the TASC office from Tamil Nadu is played brilliantly by Ravindra Vijay. When Talpade talks about ‘South Indian Food’, Muthu asks, which state in South India as there are five states that comprise of South India.

The attention to detail in the series merits attention. When Raji goes into Jebaraj’s home, the poster in the background displays the ‘Eelam’ geography and talks about remembrance. The clock shows 8:15 when Tiwari’s family has its dinner and later, when Tiwari and his wife have a chat, clock shows 8:45. Many such items show the efforts the crew has put in for the production.

A treat to watch – Family Man 2.

P.S.: The executive producer’s name is Rahul Gandhi. And the irony shows.

Right to Privacy is not Absolute

Center has said that no right, including fundamental right, is absolute in the WhatsApp suit.

I know that Congress would jump like a cat whose tail has been cut.

Lest they do so, let me remind that this amendment to the constitution, to restrict the scope of fundamental rights, was first introduced in Parliament by none other than Pt.Nehru on 10 May 1951 and it was made into a law on 18 June 1951.

Nehru amended Article 19(1)a of the constitution to limit “abuse of freedom of speech and expression” as a result of “Romesh Thappar vs The State Of Madras” case of 26 May 1950.Nehru said freedom of expression is subject to ‘reasonable restriction’ and passed the amendment. And he did the right thing.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the then Jan Sangh leader said, “Maybe you will continue for eternity, in the next generation, for generations unborn; that is quite possible. But supposing some other party comes into authority? What is the precedent you are laying down?”

Mukherjee was prophetic. What he said in 1950 has turned true now. What Nehru initiated, Modi follows. So, nothing unconstitutional about it. If this move is unconstitutional, then let us begin with first amendment.

Additional protection to Modi govt’s action is that while Panditji amended the constitution to expressly restrict freedom of expression of the media, Modi is doing this, on the orders of a lower Court, only on intermediaries and not on the media.

If you know some Congress spokesperson worth the name, let him know this.

How Tamil Media ‘fights’ for righteousness

PSBB incident has to be taken seriously. Erring teacher, management should be dealt with as per provisions of law. Corollary is to extend the same to St.George School’s activities and the list of other schools where Pandora’s box has been opened.

A year ago, singer Chinmayi Sripada pointed to an English article on the sexually predatory activities of popular Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu and asked if someone could translate that into Tamil. Kalachuvadu Publisher Kannan Sundaram had recommended the translation, writer Perumal Murugan had also supported that in Facebook posts. Later Chinmayi published a video where she pleaded that the article be published in Tamil, and action be taken on the lyricist.

I read the 2400 word article, a fairly detailed one that had interviews with several of Vairamuthu’s victims and sought permission from the author to translate. The author seemed to provide permission, posted comments sounding so in Kannan Sundaram’s post. I assumed that she would, translated the first part of article (1200 words) and sought for publications to publish that. None ventured. Only Kathir News and Valam came forward. (Puthiya Thalaimurai tried reaching me, but I wasn’t interested).

Meanwhile I had also published the translation in http://www.amaruvi.in, with due credits to the original author and the publication. The posts became viral hit in a few hours and the blog was inundated with requests for second part.

Then the magic happened. They had presumably threatened the original author who asked me to take down the article. I argued that she had provided consent in Facebook and I was waiting for an email confirmation. Then came the reply: ‘We have engaged a Tamil writer to translate. Hence desist from publishing your translation as it is copyrighted’.

I wrote back, saying I had already done the translation in 3 hours and they could publish the Tamil version of mine. They refused, saying they had already paid the other writer.

I had reached out to Chinmayi on Twitter as I had done the translation based on her moving video where she had asked for translation. She replied with a smilie. I took that as an expression of her helplessness in the left liberal male chauvinistic media world.

It has been a year now. The other Tamil writer is still translating the 2400 word article.

Meanwhile the Tamil media, we are led to believe, continues to ‘fight’ for righteousness, virtue et al under the euphemism ‘Aram’

Giving back..

A colleague from Singapore and I decided to buy oxygen concentrators and donate to needy Covid positive patients that needed oxygen support. We bought two, shipped it to Chennai and here is what happened:

It was a different experience when I handed over the first Oxygen concentrator received from Singapore to an unknown beneficiary whose brother-in-law just managed to survive ventilator.

The person’s eyes turned moist, voice quivered when he said, ‘You don’t know what this means to us. Thank you’.Once his brother-in-law recovers, he would hand over the concentrator and it would be ready for another needy patient.

Handed over the second oxygen concentrator received from Singapore to Bharathi Seva Sangam that works with Chennai Corporation to bring relief to Covid patients. This org has converted G.K.Shetty Vivekananda School at Ambattur as a Covid ward and provides care for patients. this concentrator would be used for patients according to doctors’ advice there. Donation: Ravi Rajaram, Sinagpore.

Perfectly understood why Bharath Matha called me back from Singapore.

P.S.: Anyone wishing to take part, contact me in the Telegram group.

Attention Seeker

Arvind Kejriwal, the anarchist Chief Minister of Delhi, wants all flights from Singapore to be cancelled for fear of ‘Singapore Variant’ virus, for which Vivian Balakrishnan , Singapore minister has responded strongly by conveying the govt’s displeasure to the High Commission of India in Singapore. Later Indian External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar has said that Kejriwal doesn’t speak for India.

Singapore has been of great support to India during this Covid crisis. While IAF flew to Singapore to bring Oxygen tankers, the Singapore Air Force, on its own, flew down to India to deliver essential medical equipment and oxygen.

The IIT-IIM Network in Singapore has sourced several millions worth medical equipment and oxygen concentrators from Singapore to India.In a personal capacity, I am trying to fly down some oxygen concentrators from Singapore using my friends’ circle.

Irresponsible and chaotic politicians like Kejriwal should be shown the doors as soon as possible for the sake of India.

There is a method in Arvind Kejriwal ‘s daily madness.

Cry on TV for beds, get them. Cry on TV for oxygen, get it. Cry on TV for vaccine, get it. Now, nothing to cry about on TV.So, cry about about non-existent #singaporestrain

Damn foreign relations, damn diplomacy, damn country.I need my 15 mins, on TV, every day.

A blot on IIT, that is Arvind Kejriwal.

Drishyams – a review

Drishyam -2, sequel to the super hit Drishyam, a malayalam blockbuster, is a continuation of the the struggles and tirades a peace loving minority community family has to go through in this new India run by fascist forces of the majoritarian kind. 

The films not only portray the daily trials and tribulations of a quiet family and its head, but also the daily terror of having to prejudge every moment of existence so as to protect themselves from the aggressively poised officialdom run by the majority maniacs.

While in Drishyam-1, Mohanlal, as George Kutty, had to go to extremes to safeguard the peace in his family, he continues to do that in the sequel to ensure peace and respect to his family. The extents to which a malayalee christian has to go, not to do something spectacular but only to provide a decent livelihood for his family, speaks volumes about the precarous nature of polity in India that is increasingly becoming intolerant towards the minorities. 

Drishyam-1 came about in 2013.  That the writer, Jithu Joseph, had to come up with a sequel in 2020 paints the picture of India post 2014 – the decisive year when India took a draconian turn towards the right and gave up all pretences of being a secular nation safe for the minorities. 

The depiction of the characters speak for themselves. 

Geetha Prabhakar, an IPS officer, is married to a Mr.Prabkarar, an IAS officer. While the IAS controls the civil society, the police wife, in the form of IPS, instills terror in the minds of the cinema loving and not-so-educated George Kutty. It should be noted that this depiction of the people in power, though done subconsciously, presents the India of today, where  the bureaucracy is held by the same group of people who want to destroy the tranquility that prevails in the lives of the minorities, that too, in a progressive state like Kerala.

The extent to which the IAS-IPS duo go to bring trouble to the  peace loving George Kutty family is seen in the manner of purchase of 2 acres of the latter’s land. By using their financial clout, Mr and Mrs Prabhakar ensure that Saritha and Sabu infiltrate into the serene lives of the Goerge Kuttys. 

The Prabhakars are even able to influence the top rungs of the policy hierarchy (Thomas, Phillip) and use them to seek vengeance on the George Kuttys. A tale of damaging the enemy’s eye with his own hand – a device expertly conceptualised and executed by the vengeful Prabhakars, even when they are out of the police and bureaucratic force. One shudders to think what would have happened if the Prabhakars had been part of the bureaucratic setup.

The majoritarian maniacal side of the Prabhakars manifests itself yet again when it makes Thomas, the Inspector General of Police, to begin digging the local church cemetery, much to the consternation of the local bishop. The Prabhakars wouldn’t rest before they disturb those that are awaiting their day of redemption too.

In Drishyam -1, the eatery owner, Ikka, a kind and elderly muslim man is cheated routinely by Sahadevan, a police man. While Ikka can’t retaliate, Sahadevan continues to harangue the former. In Drishyam -2, Ikka continues to be kind and even provides employment to Raghu, a differently enabled worker. Ikka is so kind that he even advises Jose, a on-time-criminal, to find a new livelihood.

While in Drishyam-1 Rani, George Kutty’s wife is practically illiterate in English, even after six years, she continues to be so in Drishyam -2. This is the true state of the minorities in India. Neither can they progress nor can be be educated. While George Kutty has moved on to become a theatre owner, one should not forget the struggles he should have undergone to come up in life. We also come to know from Rani that George Kutty has had to take huge loans to become what he had become. We also need to understand that Rani had to continue to labour and peel the coconut by hand so that the family could come up in life and send the second daughter to a convent.

To sum it up: Drishyam 1 and its sequel are the microcosm of the current state of affairs in India where minorities live in constant fear of their lives and properties. The two movies are nothing but the personification of the India that the country has become since 2014.

P.S.: I expect to be appointed to the editorial board of either The Hindu or Puthiyathalaimurai. 

Desaadanam – movie review

This film can’t be made in Tamil. Thank you Mollywood for producing such a poignant movie on a subject that has never been spoken about in the south indian movie scene. ‘Desaadanam’, the poignant movie that doesn’t shout yet delivers the cornucopia of human emotions in a non-intrusive manner, is a delight to watch.

Panchu, a namboodiri brahmin boy of 8 years or so, is so gifted that he is well versed in the dharmic school. His excellence attracts the attention of a religious order of the Advaidic thought and the pontiff of the Mutt asks for Panchu’s ordainment as the next Acharya.

The trials and tribulations of a loving family that consists of an octogenarian grandfather, a caring father and a doting mother are depicted in a most elegant manner in the movie.

Scenes where the child performs the annual remembrance rituals for this family members who are alive and to himself (Atma Shradham) when he moves from joyous childhood to a sudden monk-hood would move viewers to tears. Just in case you understand the Sanskrit mantras recited in those scenes, the effect would multiply manifold.

While parental emotions are to be expected, the portrayal of innocent friendship that Panchu has with Devikutti, a girl of his age, is authentic. While the children fight for some nuts earlier on in the movie and try to snatch from each other, once Panchu becomes a monk, she accepts a sweet from him as a holy prasad. Metaphors such as this galore.

Music is soothing to the ears, with the background scores non existent in most places where deep human emotions are adequately sufficient to carry forward the scenes. In such frames the music director makes his presence felt by the absence of his music. Well judged.

The movie doesn’t preach, fight for perceived injustices and abuse the viewer’s senses but is a treat to watch. The movie has won a national award, and rightfully so.

Don’t miss it, at any cost. Available on Amazon Prime.

Once you watch, write a line in this site about your experience.

Dayananda School contd’

I had been to Dayananda School yesterday as I had wanted to know things first hand.

Located in the foothills of Yelagiri hills ( near the Vainu Pappu Observatory), Kurusilampattu is a writer’s paradise. While clouds kissed the hilltops and created a permanent shield of pleasantness, the school stood majestically at the same time painting a sordid melancholy hue.

The school has Singapore curriculum based teaching for classes upto 8 and later shifts to TN State Matric Board. Special books sourced from a publisher in Mumbai are used to train the children. The school buses, numbering 7, are not operational due to Covid and hence would need Rs 50,000 per bus to become operational once schools are allowed to reopen after COVID.

I don’t want to write anything more on the school except publish some pictures and a short video of my interview with the founder Shri.Saravanan. I leave it to your conscience to help the 927 students realise their dreams.

To sum it up: The school needs a sponsorship of Rs 10,000 per student per year. This would help the school tide over the current salary payment crisis enforced due to COVID. Once schools reopen, parents would start remitting fees and that would help stabilise the situation.

A reader-friend, who had accompanied me , was so taken in by the situation and the works on the ground that he has taken it upon himself to support as many students as possible through his friends’ and office network.

If you know of any other school that provides Singapore curriculum based education upto class 8 in this fee range, I would like to visit that. It is a challenge.

Dayananda School needs help

Pujya Shri Swami Dayanand Saraswati had expressed shock at the lack of good dharmic schools in Tirupattur / Vaniyambadi region and had asked one of his devotees, Shri.Saravanan, to start a school that provided Dharmic values.

Saravanan (42), a bachelor committed to HH Swamiji’s teachings, started the Dayananda Vidyalya at Kurusilampattu, selling off his land holdings and pledging his uncle’s properties. A couple of investors also had advanced Rs 50 lakhs towards this effort.

In addition to  matriculation education, the school also provides regular spiritual classes to the underprivileged children.

The school has 900 students and 27 full time teachers. Due to the current corona issue, Saravanan has run into financial difficulties and needs help. Sensing his difficulties, he is being approached by non-dharmic schools with vested interests to sell the school to them. 

Incidentally, during the approval process for the school, when Saravanan had faced bureaucratic difficulties, Shri. Gurumurthy, Editor – Thuglak, had used his good offices to get approval from the government, without any out of turn payment to the authorities.

Saravanan has a financial plan prepared earlier with the help of Shri. Badri Seshadri ( Kizakku Publishers) who is also in the academic advisory board of the school.  The other donors and well-wishers, who had backed Saravanan’s effort when HH Swamiji was around, are seen to be backing off after HH entered maha samadhi.

Saravanan also provides scholarships to children who can’t afford the meagre fees. 30% of the students either don’t pay any fees due to poverty or are on scholarship that Saravanan provides.

I am coordinating with some friends to help this school now as the COVID situation has worsened the financial situation of Saravanan’s Manam Malarattum Trust that runs the school.

While long term help is being secured, the immediate need is to support the school financially to pay the salaries to the teachers who are conducting online classes to the children. Also note that Saravanan had to downsize the teacher count from 57 to 27 to reduce the cost of operations and it takes Rs 4 lakhs per month for teachers’ salaries alone.

Hence most urgent ask is for emergency funding to pay salaries to the teachers. Bank details are as below. 80G benefit exists for donations.

Name: Manam Malarattum

A/C Number: 902907151

A/C Type: Current

IFSC: IDIB000M184

Bank : Indian Bank,

Branch : Mittur

Please send a mail to manam(.)malarattum(@)gmail(.)com with reference number / screen shot and your name to get your receipts.

The school is here.

Some pictures of the school:

Queries on a star migration

Smt.Khushbu Sundar, yesteryear movie star and a well known face in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has switched parties. This time she has moved to the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that runs the country. Nothing wrong in a person joining a political party nor is it uncommon for a movie star to join a party in the movie obsessed state of Tamil Nadu where popular politicians were film stars of yore.

The fact that Khushbu has moved to the supposedly hindu-majority-seeking national party is not what this article is about. It is about the history that needs some clarification and answers from the former actor.

Prior to her political career, Khushbu had commented on the pre-marital sexual status of Tamil girls, was hounded by ultra-secessionist fringe outfits with physical violence, rushed into the embracing arms of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to find safety, later felt sidelined by the party, shifted places to the nationalist and supposedly ‘secular’ Congress Party, was appointed the national spokesperson, was sidelined by the multitude of factions, a characteristic of the party, and has now moved on to the diametrically opposite BJP.

Does an actor’s migration from politics of one color to the other merit a detailed article, one might ask. In the case of Khushbu, it does.

Khushbu’s utterances since she joined the BJP clearly show that she has joined the party not due to ideological enlightenment but due to lack of a political future in the Congress party that has seen a series of high profile exits after the lackluster performances of the party and its leaders in the last two general elections. With the leadership ensconced in ivory towers that provide little view of the ground situation, and a failed leader who wants to have power without responsibility, the Congress Party, that was founded by an European Allan Octavian Hume is being dragged hastily into its grave by yet another European – Smt.Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. Thus, seeing no future, in the party, Khushbu has jumped boats.

Abandoning ship for ones’ own survival is normal. But in the case of Khushbu, her joining the very party that she has opposed virulently for the last 6 years, is a case for questioning in depth. For this, we would need to look at what she has said in the last 6 years about Prime Minister Modi in particular and the BJP in general.

Has none joined a party that they had opposed so violently? There are plethora of evidence that shows many had done. But the the kind of politics and statements that Khushbu had indulged in, even in the guise of being the national spokesperson for the Congress Party, do call for her to answer.

As late as October 6, 2020, Khushu had called out PM Modi’s act of rearing peacocks at his official residence and had said that the PM who could feed peacocks in his house, could not feed the citizens.After this, on October 11, 2020, she joined the PM’s party, the BJP.

When the BJP formed government in Madhya Pradesh, Khushbu had tweeted thus, saying the Madhya Pradesh cabinet would be constituted by these half clad sadhus, referring to the presence of holy men in the party and government.

On October 1, 2019, Khushbu famously said the that the Prime Minister would not be welcome to Tamil Nadu and one year later, joined the party.

Without having any basic knowledge of the current pandemic induced economic situation and consequent job losses, Khushbu had tweeted thus, accusing the BJP of causing such an unemployment situation of gargantuan proportions. And this was as late as October 4, 2020, six days prior to joining the same party. Even Singapore, the country that Khushbu often vacations in, declared that it was entering into a recession due to the pandemic.

Here is she using derogatory and potentially un-usable language on the BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath on October 4, 2020.

While Khushbu would have to come clean on all the above, she has to make her stand clear on E.V.Ramasamy Naicker, the late rabble-rouser who never missed any opportunity to deride the hindu gods and the hindu pantheon, for she has recently claimed that ‘I am a Periarist in the BJP’ – whatever that might mean.

The BJP in Tamil Nadu needs such star power to get into power in the movie crazy state. But the erstwhile stars who join the party have the responsibility to either disown their earlier statements or offer a public apology for these past sins.

Whether Khushbu offers apology or not, I would be backing the BJP to come to power in the state. I would even vote for her in case the party fields her as a candidate in my constituency ( like I supported any PAP candidate in Singapore). However, the her sins of the past cannot be white washed.