A R Rahman- My top 15 gems

You know how difficult it is for me to do this?! To zero down to my favourite 15 among all of ARR music across all languages?! I mean you can’t possibly understand how difficult it is for me…..coz I am an ARR bhakt (across all languages). His songs are like meditation to me,his music has the power to completely uplift my mood no matter what kind of a day I am having. His songs teleport me to various places. His music is magic to me!

But still….I have made that tedious choices and here I present (drumroll………..)

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My top 15 fav ARR songs! (In no specific order) Mind you, there may be some gems in here which you may not even have heard.

1.Hello Mr.Ethirkatchi-
Gosh this one does not age,this song was released 24 years ago,but is still as good as new! Iruvar has to be one of my most favourite tamil movies and it also was Aishwarya Rai’s debut movie.This song is picturized on her and she is so damn flawless in it,I think she was fabulous in the whole movie. This song has a very Jazz feel to it ,something so different to the tamil industry specially in those days.

Here’s the link to this timeless beauty- https://youtu.be/JqgwTxDeOa8

2.Agar Tum Saath Ho-
Aah now who does not love this song?! It is a classic and Alka Yagnik and Arijit do more than justice to it. The beauty of this song is the pain and misery associated to it,its depicted so beautifully, the lyrics by Irshad Kamil just touches your soul deep within.

Pfb link just so that you can revisit this gem- https://youtu.be/xRb8hxwN5zc

3. Aye Mr.Minor-
This one is another beautiful song,with a very Jazz feel to it. The supremely talented Shasha Tirupati takes the song to a different level.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/gUcSm8A-bgE

4.Mannipaaya-
This list would be incomplete without a VTV song.Actually I wish to add all songs of VTV to this list,but then it wouldn’t be fair to the rest. Shreya Ghoshal is amazing, and the choir used in this song is just mind-blowing, I dont know how ARR does it,but its magic. Also Jessie-Karthik chemistry is vere level.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/EjUP08N89mI

5.Maahi Ve-
Aren’t all songs of Highway amazing,i mean how does one choose 😭, but still from among the lot this one is my favourite, it has a very light hilly (pahadi) feel good vibe to it.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/xHLnZMjJ8bY

6.Kalvare-

Another one of my favourite slow numbers, it is so soothing and Aishwarya’s graceful dancing is eye candy (thanks to the legendary Shobhana ma’am who was the choreographer)

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/rpc43hOKy0A

7.Ay Hairathe-
Hariharan and Alka Yagnik duet, the unusual stanza and the familiar chorus of ‘Tere bina’ song in the background just adds to the magic.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/038jmlSH3iM

8.Thalli pogathey-
The catchy beats,stunning visuals and amazing lyrics are the highlights of this song. The wait to reach the chorus is tiresome but so so rewarding.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/PiL5UTTTrxk

9.Malargaley-

This is from a 1996 tamil movie Lovebirds and its a beautiful song.This K S Chithra and Hariharan duet is so romantic ❤️

Pfb link – https://youtu.be/UnccY-qroSk

10.Kannodu kaanbadhellam-
This classical song has been my favourite for dance especially during school and college days. Although classical ,its definitely very catchy and trendy.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/HnW2737FkW8

11.Saathiya-
Extremely popular and a favourite to millions. Whether its Saathiya or Pachai Nirame,this is one song that I love in both Hindi and Tamil. Oh but brownie points go to my forever crush R Madhavan♥️

Pfb link-
https://youtu.be/eMA6GHTQ4WA

12.Kannalane-

Another K S Chithra genius, she owns this song…Also Manisha is so pretty and emotes so well in this song.Almost all other songs from Bombay are also excellent but I will stick to my rule of just 1 from a movie.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/T4i_7_cXj9E

13. New York Nagaram-
One of my all time favourites, its still my ringtone😂 Sung by the Mozart himself!

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/OjU54VhRFbU

14. Ennavale Adi Ennavale-
This is the ultimate romantic song, so melodious! Also this song came out in 1994, let that sink in!

Pfb link-
https://youtu.be/vvfW92cmAbs

15.Naan Yen-
I heard this in the Coke studio and since then it is my favourite.The wordings are actually from a poem by poet Vaali, his words truly come to life in this composition.

Pfb link- https://youtu.be/e2rGhnGuCy0

Honorary mention (this is because I am from Kerala and this is the only malayalam song in this post)

Kunukune from movie Yoddha- https://youtu.be/zc4G93Tmjyc

The list is endless, I realized I havent even touched movies like Roja, Taal, Dil Hi Dil Main, Gentleman, Sapnay, Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, Slumdog Millionaire, Delhi 6,Ok Kanmani, Rockstar,Raanjhanaa etc…which have all brilliant songs in them.

Like I said,it was a close to impossible feat for me, but I am super proud of my above selection ❤️

Go on and post your favourite ARR songs in the comments below!

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English Manglish

This post is dedicated to those English words which we malayalees have hijacked and completely modified such that they mean something entirely different/comical/dramatic!

1.Best!!- No not just the word,there is a special way of saying this too…in the proper sarcastic slang and you have to stretch the word for more impact. Bessssttttt!!! This is used as a reaction especially when something unexpected happens.

2.Scene – This is usually to denote some really messed up situation. Mostly accompanied with ‘Katta scene!’, ‘Scene contra’!

3.Post – This is to explain someone’s plight who has been held up in a situation or has been waiting for long ( mostly an unexpected delay)

4.Dark – This is close to the actual meaning,but this word alone means stuck in a hopeless or tricky situation

5.Freak – This still means somewhat close to original meaning . However this is considered a positive adjective mostly here while original is more in a negative sense.

6.Chunk- Denotes a very close friend ,often accompanied by ‘bro’.

7.Fit – if someone in kerala says he is fit (again stretched as ‘fittt’), then it doesn’t mean he is fit health-wise,it means he is completely drunk!

8.Line – if someone has a ‘line’, it means the person is in a relationship and has a bf/gf

9.Wit – this refers to a comedy or funny incident that one witnessed or experienced

10.Headweight – Someone who is too proud,this is used in tamil too.

I am sure there are so many more English words used in colloquial malayalam slangs, do add them to comments section!

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Drishyam2! No spoilers!

I admit I was so skeptical to watch this one…like a lot of other people I thought it would just destroy the reputation of the original and I kept telling myself that there is nothing much to actually show in continuity…but alas how wrong I was. Jeethu Joseph is nothing short of a genius!

Infact throughout the movie,you don’t for a second feel like you don’t know Georgekutty’s family and that is proof enough of the authenticity of the characters and set. The sheer painstaking difficulties they may have gone through to make sure nothing- no location,no person,no dialogue looks out of place from where they left in 2015. The surroundings, characters seem to have aged just naturally and gradually.

This movie is a writer’s baby…the story is everything… coupled with some superb experiences with the likes of Murali Gopi, Sai Kumar and Asha Sarath.

And what do we even say about Lalettan?!Unlike the first part, Georgekutty is more subtle and mature in this one…but that could be how he evolved having gone through all the ordeals in the first part. But the conviction with which Lalettan plays his part is a class apart..he is definitely an Institution of excellence.

I will keep it short and simple, this movie is creatively intelligent and so glad that Jeethu Joseph took this risk and showed the entire world of cinema…how a sequel should be made.

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Love for Pothichoru!

No…i didnt say petrichor, but yes pothichoru comes from the land of petrichor…the word ‘pothichoru’ brings all kinds of olfactory nostalgia to most Keralites like me and unknowingly my mouth starts watering!

For the uninitiated, ‘pothichoru’ is simply a wholesome malayali meal wrapped tightly in a slightly burnt banana leaf (almost like a wrapped up sadya minus the payyasam and plus a fish fry and omlette). Technically pothi means wrapped and choru means rice!After wrapping in the banana leaf it has that familiar rectangular shape,which is then usually again wrapped in a newspaper and then its good to go/carry!

Pothichoru is not merely a tiffin or dabba,its a whole lot of love of all malayali moms! My earliest memory was during my childhood when we used to go for each vacation to Kerala to my maternal native place.We used to go there in the morning and then return by noon to my paternal native place (a few districts apart). My grandmother would make sure she had 5 pothichors wrapped and kept neatly in a bag (one kutti pothichoru for me as I was the youngest) and we used to relish the meal whilst in the train.The train journey between the 2 places was hardly 3 hrs but the ‘pothichoru eating part’ was mandatory and most looked forward to. Its not like we cant stay hungry for 3 hrs and its not like we cant eat from the house just before leaving. Its just that whole process of having it in the train whilst travelling. The aura of pothichoru which is caused by the smells of the banana leaf itself, boiled matta rice (served warm while wrapping),chammanthi (chutney),omlette,fish fry,thoran all blended together is simply irresistible. The thoran (veg sidedish usually beans thoran), sambhar(optional), raw mango or coconut chammanthi and lime pickle are all combined together with the rice. And when we mix/roll our fingers into this potpurri and combine each bite with a little piece of that perfect fish fried in coconut oil it just elevates your senses. People like me keep the omlette for the end to savour each bite of it.There is no fixed number of items or sidedishes,its purely left to the imagination of the creator.

Eating such a meal in a moving vehicle that too with your hands and no plate is a task but one that every mallu has mastered since childhood. It is very organic and sustainable too as it does not create any plastic waste as opposed to all packed food items we consume.With time,the potichor concept has gradually reduced but it continues to remain a very fond nostalgia to many. Hotels have now recently started the concept again, whilst they come nowhere close to the one our grandmoms made, its still a gud way to relive that awesome memory!

PS- Having watched ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ ,I must say that despite being a woman I have never deeply appreciated my mother or grandmother for their efforts in feeding all of us all day along. Kitchen work is and should not be just for any single gender or age, lets be collectively responsible.Time to abolish the thought ‘When men cook its art and when women cook its their duty’!

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Oru youth festival katha

You know everytime I watch the movie ‘Poomaram’, I am flooded with my own memories from back in 2005/2006(frankly speaking I dont remember the exact year). Yes almost 15 years back, no kidding.

So I had just moved from Maharashtra to Kerala, yes a complete change of culture, language and ofcourse a land with zero friends. I cried and cried while I left Pune after my 10th,but my mom was adamant that I should complete my remaining education in Kerala. It made no sense to me, so, since I was furious with her, the only condition I put forward is that I would stay in a hostel/boarding and that I would NOT stay with my mother. Yes she agreed and rest is history.

So coming to my 11th std life in Trivandrum, I slowly and steadily made friends in school as well as in the boarding home. Yes it was the typical boarding types you may have read in the Malory Towers series. Long hallway, dormitory, huge study hall, prayer room, mess area, restroom area etc.

Anyway now coming to the Higher secondary school sub district level youth festival in Trivandrum, this would further pave the path for district and state level youth festival in Kerala. So since I had just landed from Pune and since my Hindi speaking skills were good, I was forced by my principal to try a hand at Hindi elocution. I was terrified, not cause it was in Hindi but this was something I had never ever tried before. I mean dance was(is) my jam but hindi elocution?! I finally gave in as you know I could not say no to my principal. So I was trained with an ex student from my school who was a really strong and capable young lady. She was then studying at All Saints college(I think!) Anyway she trained me for days and days . The poem selected was ‘Khooni Hastakshar’, written by GopalPrasad Vyas, it was a tribute to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Mind you the poem was in itself quite difficult to memorise plus my trainer was particular that I had the right emotions while reciting. She said it was not mere reciting, she wanted me to actually feel each and every line. And so I did. I memorised it thoroughly, with the right emotions and right gestures. I almost became Netaji myself whilst reciting it. So much so that it was exhausting to recite it completely even just once.

And FINALLY the day arrived. The youth festival location was bustling with activity, young girls and boys, most of them decked up for their performances in various dance events, some just loitering around (bird watching) while some responsible ones arranging and running the whole show. I found the venue for Hindi elocution quickly. So there were about 25 or so registered for the event and I remember I was among the last ones to perform. Initially when it started there was hardly an audience and I felt maybe its because nobody is interested especially in Hindi recital. But by the time I was called on stage, I could see a jam packed audience, I almost freaked out. But then I composed myself and thought to myself that all the days of rigorous practice was for this one day. I didnt care to win but I wanted to give the best performance of my life. And so I started. I don’t know if it was my tone, my dramatic gestures or my emotions, I had the audience hooked from the very first line. Till then the audience had never seemed interested in the event, but when I ended my khooni hastakshar, the entire audience broke into an applause, so did the judges and I knew I had performed reasonably well. I went back to my seat and everybody around me (strangers, teachers n students from other schools all congratulated me) I was pleased because one I had no idea I could ever pull this off and I had just done it and two I respected my principal and my trainer too much and wanted to genuinely make them proud.

And so there was another performance or two and the program ended, curtains were down and I saw the judges discussing the results. And Lo, a man walks in from behind and talks hurriedly to the judges. They all discuss something for a while and again the curtain opens and there appears another contestant. He has all this makeup on, I realised he had just come from another dance performance. His chest number for Hindi elocution was way before mine but they allowed him to participate. I obviously wasnt bothered but then people around me started mumbling. And then he started his poem. Yes, it was again, Khooni Hastakshar. I was dumbstruck, quite disappointed that he had chosen my exact poem. But tats not the point. He recited it in one stretch with no emotions, no tone change and even some wrong words. It actually looked weird cause here he was saying a very serious poem asking for fighters to join in the war for independence and his face was dressed up like a kathakali artist. If we have to compare our performances, the only similarity would have been the actual poem but our ways of presenting it was truly poles apart. So he ended, the crowd hardly gave any reaction but I clapped because although I hated his performance I knew how difficult the poem was to memorise and I also admired him for reciting it despite the whole makeup avatar.

The results come in and I was awarded second. I was shell shocked, no not because I was second but because the kathakali guy won the first prize. I was furious, because I was willing to lose to just about anyone but him. Because he didn’t deserve it, he had ruined the poem and Netaji would definitely never have accepted the tribute had he heard his recital. Those around me were shocked too and urged me to file an appeal. Now an appeal is like a third umpire call in these youth fests and believe me, its quite a process. Everybody in that audience asked me to file an appeal. It was then I heard some flying news(udti khabar). Our boy was actually a favourable one for some overall trophy for max participation (equivalent to Kala pratibha types) and he could win that only with those crucial 10 or so points from Hindi elocution. Yes it was all fixed and he would have won the Hindi elocution any which way.

So I was advised against an appeal by some wellwishers who told me that this was anyway a fixed affair and there wouldn’t be any point. So yes I let it go. (Let it go, let it go…) I even went on to see him win the overall trophy. Mind you his dance performances were really good. He went on to participate in district and state level I think but I am not sure if he won there.

So after I watched ‘Poomaram’ movie, I suddenly tried to search this guy on fb after almost 15 years. But I was not able to track him perhaps because I don’t remember his name and I am not even sure of the year. I think I heard many years back that he is a doctor now residing outside India.

Well it’s not like I have any bad feelings from this whole episode, but it’s just that this movie refreshed all my dormant memories. Youth festivals are truly a very different n fulfilling experience in student life, and something that only those who have experienced it atleast once can relate with!

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