Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review of Ennum Eppozhum (എന്നും എപ്പൊഴും), a Malayalam Movie

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Cast: Mohanlal (Vineeth N Pillai), Manju Warrier (Deepa), Innocent (Kariachan), Renji Panickar (CEO of GM Builders), Reenu Mathews (Kalyani), Lena (Farah), Jacob Gregory (Maathan), Usha S Karunagapally (Rosy – Kariachan’s wife), Kalpana (Bindhu Nainan), Minon (Ganapathy), Baby Adhvaitha (Miya, Deepa’s daughter), Kochouseph Chittilappilly (playing himself), Santosh Keexhaattoor, Dileesh Pothen, Sreekutty Ramesh, Kozhikode Sarda, Ajith
Genre: Family Drama
Directed by: Satyan Anthikad
Produced by: Antony Perumbavoor
Screenplay by: Ranjan Pramod
Music by: Vidyasagar
Cinematography: Neil D’Cunha
Edited by: K Rajagopal
Distributed by: Maxlab Entertainment (Kerala), Four Brother’s Release (India), MAS Film and Entertainment Limited (Europe), Achu & Achu’s Creations (Australia, New Zealand & Singapore), Aashirvad UK (Rest of the World)
Release date: 27th March, 2015
Duration: 2 hours 29 minutes
Language: Malayalam

Ennum Eppozhum (എന്നും എപ്പൊഴും) – Satyan Anthikad film. A great thought provoking title with terrific pairing of Mohanlal and Manju Warrier, who are coming together after a gap of seventeen years (Kanmadam, Summer in Bethlehem), the plot could have been explored in a much better manner. Rather the plot seems to be under-developed. A few sub-plots are also introduced in the movie without a proper beginning and a proper end. The focus of the movie shifts gears from the main theme to the sub-plots in between. As a spectator, I did feel initially that these sub-plots might be relevant to justify the title ‘Ennum Eppozhum’, but it did not turn out to be so. Ennum Eppozhum superficially touches so many issues: land mafia, corruption at the top level of justice, journalism ethics, relationship conflicts, women empowerment etc. but fails to focus on these in a concrete manner. Humour at the sake of frivolous dialogues reduces the gravity of the plot. But ultimately, Ennum Eppozhum summarizes (justifies its title) which is all about standing up for what is right as per one’s own conscience and it definitely gives a very positive end.

The movie begins with Vineeth N Pillai’s (Mohanlal) narration. He is a Senior Correspondent working with women’s magazine Vanitha Ratnam. In spite of being a procrastinator, he is able to hold on to his job due to his late mother’s rapport with the top boss of the magazine. Initial narrations project how people are leading monotonous lives – same morning chores, taking same route, going to same office, boarding same bus etc. These give us cue in regard to Vineeth’s boredom with non-challenging assignments. Vineeth displays a very casual approach to his work, ends up reaching late for his office / meetings etc. He is warned many times by his management. Vineeth’s challenges increase when a new Editor-in Chief Kalyani (Reenu Mathews) joins the organization. Kalyani feels that complete revamping of the organization is required and fresh minds have to be brought in and those employees who are not good need to be chucked out. Kalyani finds Vineeth’s  casual approach towards work very irritating. She throws a challenge in front of Vineeth to do a cover story for Vanita Ratnam’s special edition. Kalyani wants Vineeth to interview Deepa (Manju Warrier), a family court advocate who hits the news headlines due to brave fight which she picks up with the authorities after she falls in a pothole while travelling by the scooty. It was not easy to get to Deepa, who is extremely engaged with her parenting Miya (Baby Adhvaitha), as well as with her work and social commitments. Vineeth’s entry strategies to get an interview from Deepa fail but he pursues consistently. These definitely land him in unexpected situations.

How does Vineeth manage to get an interview of Deepa for the cover story? How does the relationship between Vineeth and Kalyani evolve? I am confused with the way this relationship is handled in the movie.

Lot of sub-plots emerge in the background. Lena portrays the character of Farah, Deepa’s friend, who runs a boutique. Innocent as Kariachan (a retired postmaster), and his wife Rosy (Usha S Karunagapally) play the role of guardian angel neighbour of Deepa. Although most of the verbal tiffs between Vineeth and Kariachan, Vineeth and Maathan – Vineeth’s room mate cum assistant (Jacob Gregory) get a bit overboard at times, but some moments do add to the humour quotient of the movie. Young Minon’s (Ganapathy) advice to Vineeth to woo a girlfriend is hilarious.

We have seen this Mohanlal many times on screen. It is great to see Mohanlal and Manju together on screen. I loved the frames where Manju stands unperturbed when she is threatened by mafia or her non-submission to wrong elements of the society or her standing firm even amidst crisis.  

This movie is moderately paced. Songs don’t detract the attention, rather it flows in rhythmic pattern in the background of the story. Songs support the touch of unexpressed love projected in the movie.   

Highlight of the Movie: Effortless dance performance by Manju Warrier. A visual delight indeed. Another moment where Lena interacts with Manju in regard to her fascination for travel. She says that how scenes move in front of us when we travel. She adds to it by saying that let us atleast try to be happy, appear to be happy. Scenes would change and a day will come, when we will really be happy.

Ennum Eppozhum, a plot / cast with tremendous scope, although went a bit awry, still a delight to watch for Mohanlal and Manju. Watch it, you would walk out of theater in a happy mood.

Rating : 3 / 5 (Good)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Nashta – Combination of Health + Taste

Image Courtesy: Kellogg's 'Anaaj Ka Nashta"

Breakfast is the first meal and also the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is the combination of two words: Break + Fast, i.e. breaking one’s fast of prior night. Being a foodie, I enjoy and relish every meal, I never ever miss my breakfast. This gives me tremendous amount of energy for the whole day. However busy I might be, or however early I need to leave for my work, I do ensure to have breakfast. I have read somewhere that skipping breakfast can result in overeating later in the day. Whereas, a healthy breakfast, on the other hand, gives us energy, satisfy our appetite, and set the stage for coherent thinking as well as smart decisions all day along. Yes, you read it right: “A Healthy Breakfast”. We take breakfast, but don’t ensure to have healthy breakfast. I am intending to visit Gupta family to understand more in regard to healthy breakfast. Do you want to join me?

Let me introduce to you the Gupta family. This family is a four member family with Gattu ji (Gupta Ji), his wife Shalu (Mr. Gupta), and two kids – elder daughter Ritu and son Rohan.

Lot of people keep asking them: “Nashte pe kab bula rahe hain”. What I have heard from various people is just amazing. How many recipes, you can make out of corn flakes? One…Two…probably that is all. But Gupta family is popular for their yummy breakfast, varieties of items prepared using corn flakes. Her name is Shalu (Mrs. Gupta), who prepares interesting breakfast varieties using Kellogg’s Cornflakes. Isn’t it interesting?

Image Courtesy: Kellogg's Anaaj ka Nashta

Her breakfast menu is interesting. Wow, what a great start to a day with a great breakfast, which is yummy as well as healthy. You name any occasion, Shalu, the magical chef of the family will have a specific breakfast prepared with the magical ingredient Kellogg’s cornflakes. It seems, she has almost 100 varieties prepared out of Kellogg’s cornflakes. Check out some of these on your own:

  • Smile Wala Nashta
  • Best Family Wala Nashta
  • Guest ko Impress Karne Wala Nashta
  • LOL Wala Nashta
  • Smashing Date Wala Nashta
  • Line pe Lane Wala Nashta
  • Chugli Wala Nashta
  • Chup Karane Wala Nashta
  • Homework Wala Nashta
  • Sanskar Wala Nashta
  • Movie Wala Nashta
  • Tiffin Wala Nashta
  • Jagah Banane Wala Nashta
  • First Crush Wala Nashta
  • Celebration Wala Nashta
  • Nakhre Wala Nashta
  • Remote Wala Nashta
  • Who Wala Nashta
  • Passing the Parcke Wala Nashta
                               Image Courtesy: Kellogg's Anaaj ka Nashta

The list is breathless… Gupta family’s nashta is light and filling and after all very healthy. It can be prepared in couple of minutes. I am curious to come to your house Guptaji to understand the recipes of preparing atleast a few of breakfast items out of Kellogg’s Cornflakes. Also, I want to explore the taste, am sure, some might be sweet and some might be salty and some might be spicy. I am excited. Guptaji, Nasshte pe kab bula rahe ho mujhe?

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Nashta is perfect Combination of Health + Taste

This article of mine is about Kellogg's India - kellogg’s cornflakes

Book-Review of Ramayana : The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams

Author: Shubha Vilas     
Genre: Mythology
Publisher: Jaico Books
Publication Year: 2015
Number of Pages: 387
Price: Rs. 350

About the Author - Shubha Vilas: He is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions. (Courtesy:

Ramayana: The Game of Life – Shattered dreams, by Shubha Vilas is a sequel to his previous work – Ramayana: The Game of Life – Rise of Sun Prince. I can’t draw the comparison with his ‘Rise of Sun Prince’, since I have not read that, but I found this book to be unique in its own way. Ramayana is an age-old epic and we are no strangers to the story. Although mythological tales have been reiterated many times, this book links the stories very deeply with the philosophies of life. As the title of the book says, indeed it talks about ‘Game of Life’. A very interesting read which explores the epic’s various dimensions, basically revolves around the incidents leading to Rama’s exile, Lakhsmana / Sita deciding to join Rama, Dashratha’s death and Bharata’s humility and his persuading Rama to come back.

I must admit that it was quite challenging to finish reading it within a span of seven days, since it needed an in-depth reading. I felt like going back and re-reading it again. I also wanted to just sit back and ponder upon the beautiful concepts / philosophies of life mentioned in the footnotes. I wanted to look within myself and focus on my insights as a reader. Simple yet powerful leadership sutras are also mentioned in the footnotes. Rather, almost every paragraph of the book talks about a concept. Various chapters are titled in a very interesting manner which raises curiosity to understand how the chapter justifies the titles. An excellent effort to revisit the epic with an in-depth analysis.

Shubha begins the book with Dasaratha’s running breathlessly. Between his delusions and his consciousness, Dasaratha realizes that he is in fact fighting two monsters – the monster within and the monster outside. Which of the two monsters was Dasaratha fleeing from? Dasaratha desperately wants to change his and Ayodhya’s ordained destiny. Dasaratha’s moonbeam is none other than Rama.      

We all are aware of the main plot of Ramayana, but what makes the narration beautiful is the sub plots and stories of characters apart from Rama and Sita weaved with the larger context. It is also interesting to understand, how Nemi became Dasaratha and how Dasagriva (Ravana) was born with the attributes of both races – Rakshasas (asuras) as well as that of Brahmanas.

Apart from Rama and Sita’s stories, other stories and characters are also discussed in detail, be it Dasagriva’s rivalry with his half-brother Kubera, the flying tyrant – Pushpak Vimana, the invincible father-son duo Ravana-Meghananda, Ravana’s journey to become Trilokeshwar, Manthara corrupting Kaikeyi’s mind (detailed version), Rama meeting Trijata, the boatman Guha, Charioteer Sumantra’s bidding adieu to Rama, the Hope March. Anasuya’s covert prediction of future to Sita  etc. The book explores various relationships and its intricacies beautifully.

Shubha discusses life’s philosophies so minutely. Some of them which I found so useful are:
  • Six inner enemies
  • Why do people who love each other suddenly realize that they have nothing in common?
  • How does one handle reversals in life?
  • Can negative emotions be tools to display positive love?
  • Confronting blame and praise
  • The five tips on management, a good leader should adhere to

The insights which I gathered from the footnotes are many, but I want to make a special mention of a few of them, which enticed me, and made me fall in love with this book:
  • Life is a combination of hope and despair, the one that dominates you carves your personality.
  • The easiest way to forget your limitations is to shift the focus from self-absorption to active-facilitation.
  • Every protector needs protection. Being constantly reminded of such a need keeps the protector humble.
  • The danger of anger is that it suddenly makes one a stranger to others.
  • The pain is supremely acute when an unavoidable and uncontrollable obstacle terminates an expectation that was very close to being met.
  • The highest manifestation of gracefulness is gratefulness.
  • The easiest way to evade truths was to shrug them off as fantasies spun by fertile minds, rather fearful minds.
  • Expressions of love may be illogical, but expressions of expectations should be logical.

What could have been avoided or improved? I felt, at certain instances, concepts are connected just for the sake of it. Also, at one point, when Sita calls Rama by his name, the footnote says: Sita was so hurt that she addressed Rama by His own name. In traditional societies, women did not directly call their husbands by their names. That Sita was hurt was evident from that one utterance. She realized her mistake immediately and ensured that she never repeated it again. Didn't this footnote reflect male chauvinism or non-acceptance of diversity? Too much description at times slows down the pace.

Yes, the story of Ramayana is not new. Various philosophies discussed are also not new. But yes, what makes this book a must-read is the simplicity with which the plot has been presented and related with the Game of Life. It turns out to be self-help book, a wonderful merger of spirituality with way of life. The learnings can be easily comprehended and applied by anyone, be it of any age, gender or walks of life. The book is packaged with an attractive cover-page and easily readable fonts (with appropriate font size) in inner pages.

Picking up from Author’s Note, it begins with a bewildering dilemma and ends with a riddle.

Ramayana: The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams is a Value-based book which would definitely entice you. Happy reading!!!

Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

24 X 7 of Happiness

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“Happiness is anything that brings a smile to your face” – I completely resonate with this statement. It is actually an emotional state of well-being. It is the mental framework which we adopt. Today, when I have sat down to write about what happiness mean to me, I feel, every moment of life can bring a lot of happiness to us. It is all about how we perceive our lives. It may not be possible to have the best of everything in life, but are we able to be happy and grateful of what we have in our lives? People often ask me, how one can be happy amidst tough situations. I say, it is not easy, but it becomes definitely easier to be happy by looking at the brighter side of life.

Offlate I watched a movie called “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (my review is at In this movie, if somebody is in search of a soul-mate, somebody else is search of true love, the lead protagonist wants to achieve a lot through his profession, somebody wants to decide between the two relationship to make a permanent tie with one of them… the list goes on, but the ultimate thing is that everybody is in pursuit of happiness. Aren't we also like that in real life.

But the tragedy is we don’t know, what would fetch us happiness. Either we are dependent on others to fetch us happiness or we are escaping from the negativities of lives so as to get pseudo-happiness.

I believe that my happiness is definitely dependent on so many factors but the basic fact is whether I am able to feel the happiness within. Do I look outside for reasons to be happy or do I look within for reasons of happiness ? How can I keep my people, near and dear ones happy, if I can not keep myself happy. I feel, it is very important to feel the happiness from within, then only I can spread happiness in and around. Happiness is one attribute, the more we share, more we get.

What are the sources of my happiness? Let me share with you my 24 X 7 of Happiness (please ignore the order of listing).

Being Alive: Morning when I get up, I get that first breeze of happiness: “Thank God, I am alive and have another day in my hand.” The very thought of being alive gives me tremendous energy.

With Mumma - My biggest critic
My Family: Just having meals with family gives me a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. When I come back home after work, I find Mumma waiting for me eagerly to understand how my day had been, gives lot of happiness. When I just sit with her at the end of the day to interact with her and listen to her, It just feels so nice. She is a big critic of mine who keeps me grounded.

When I Skype every night with dearest brother and family, who are in USA, it adds so much to my happiness. I am so much emotionally dependent on my family. Today’s digital media revolution helps me not to feel the distance and interact with brother and family, be it through Skype, Google hangout etc. it just gives me so much emotional security. 

My Jaan (life): My dear brother, bhabhi, nephew and niece
From India, through digital media, I have seen my lovely nephew and niece growing up. The distance is never felt. I feel so happy. When they visit India, just spending time with them, hang out for movies, Golgappes, Chaat, Jelebis etc. makes me so happy. Thank God, my family is my emotional anchor.

Life would be boring without you all dear friends 
My Friends: I might not be able to sit physically with my close friends always, but whenever we catch up through any form of media, it gives loads and loads of happiness. Friends are so much part of life, with whom we can cry, laugh, and also not shy away from being emotionally vulnerable. When we get together, we begin from where we stopped. Life gets much more beautiful with them.

Being Healthy: I head for my gym / swimming and the weighing scale shows 0.5 kg less weight, it brings a smile on my face. Wow, my effort to keep fit has worked (this is a typical female thought, isn’t it). I am sure, this brought smile to your face. Oh yes, I understand that, I am far from my goal, but yes, the very thought to keep fit gives me happiness.

My Profession: What a wonderful thing to speak about life! As a trainer, when I interact with people, there are lot many happenings which give me immense happiness. I get an opportunity to strike the right chord with strangers. 

Snapshots of Training - Where I end up living my life...
A complete stranger group turns out to be good acquaintance as the session moves further. When I am able to convert the cautious affiliation seen in the eyes of the people into getting to curious mode to know more, learn more, makes me happy. When I am able to give a reason to think to the participants in the programme, that makes me happy. When at the end of the programme, participants share their emotions, I feel happy.

Having a business partner who shares my vision of running an ethical organization also adds to my happiness.

My Interests: Being a movie buff, I wait for a Friday to catch up with the movies. Rather I actually look forward for good movies to release.

My Blog: Blog is one of the best thing which has happened in my life. I have been a blogger of movie reviews since last 14 months. Watching a movie and reviewing it, and expressing my viewpoints through my blog and ultimately when I get likes, comments from my friends and networks, it gives me immense happiness.

Blog has given me lot of space to express myself, network with fellow bloggers, could strike chord with so many of them, and got so many good friends, whom I haven’t met in real life but know them so well through their wonderful works. This gives me so much happiness.

Feel absolutely blessed to get the attention of so many people from different walks of life for my blog – actors, singers, filmmakers, writers, friends… My blog changed my world positively and the space where I used to be. Blog has fetched me so much of happiness.

My Sleep: When I am able to catch a good sleep as soon as I hit bed, this gives me lot of happiness and energy to look forward to another morning, and also hope to correct my mistakes.

Probably I can go on and on, since this simple word happiness has such a deeper meaning. Still, let me sum up, happiness is not the absence of Sorrow, but happiness is a state of mind, which gives me courage to get over the negative situations in a positive manner.  I can just look up to God and thank Him for giving me such a blissful life. Thank you God!!!

Dedicated to all of you, you all matter to me so much - my source of happiness (Just incorporated your images, not the names). I just want to bring lot of smiles to all of you my dear ones through this post. Did I make you happy???

I am writing this blog post for Coca-Cola India

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review of 100 Days of Love

Cast: Dulquer Salmaan (Balan K Nair aka BKN), Nithya Menon (Sheela), Shekhar Menon (Ummar), Praveena (Adoor Pankajam), Vineeth (S.P. Pillai), Rahul Madhav (Rahul), Aju Varghese (Romanch)
Directed by: Jenuse Mohamed
Produced by: K.V. Vijayakumar
Written by: Jenuse Mohamed
Music by: Songs - Govind Menon; Background Score - Bijibal
Cinematography: Pratheesh Varam
Edited by: Sandeep Kumar
Distributed by: Tricolor Entertainment, Aan Mega Media, Indian Movies UK (Europe), USA Indian Movies (USA and Canada)
Release date: 20th March, 2015
Language: Malayalam
Duration: 2 hours 35 minutes

100 Days of Love is a sweet romantic movie with Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon in the lead. Directed and written by Jenuse Mohamed (popular filmmaker Kamal's son). Set in Bangalore, it speaks about modern-day love relationship, infatuations, social-media make-up or break-up, marriage just turning out to be a set-up of security, so-called stability and conveniences, taking a practical approach etc. It is true that the movie is not projecting any new story, but is definitely able to hold the attention of the audience with light-hearted moments, subtle humour. Although occasional drag is felt due to moderate pace of the movie, it never gets boring. The best part of the movie is that characters are not over the top, rather all of them are so much believable in nature. It does not have the roller-coaster of emotions; rather a very soft take is taken on matters of heart. Names of the protagonists are interestingly chosen and it does add humour in the dialogues.

Movie begins with the narration of the story of 100 days of love by BKN aka Balan K Nair (Dulquer Salmaan). He is from an affluent family (family is settled in Dubai), but he chooses to be in Bangalore to pursue his career on his own. He is a columnist and feature writer in a national daily and also aspires to be a cartoonist. He is passionate about designing comic / cartoon strips and getting the same published. Balan is in a recovery phase after a painful break-up. He has challenges in the professional front as well since he is shown the door after having a fight with one of his superior. His enemy number 2 (he has an enemy at number 1 position as well, but I am not revealing the same, want to keep it as a suspense)  Romanch (Aju Varghese), though less talented than Balan, scores over him and gets confirmed in the organization. The exchange between Balan and Romanch is hilarious where Romanch sympathizes with him and also offers him some food vouchers so as to humiliate him. 

Balan stays with his friend Ummar (Shekhar Menon), a gamer. Their interactions are also very interesting.

The 100 days of love begins when Balan happens to meet Sheela (Nithya Menon) coincidently in a rainy night when both of them happen to take the same taxi. Balan feels an instant connect with her. She leaves her camera in the taxi itself. Balan takes it home along with him with a hope of finding her and returning the camera. Balan gets amazed to see her age-old handheld camera which had a roll with a capacity to click 12 photographs only. Balan feels for Sheela but is troubled since he is not aware of her whereabouts.

Ummar suggests Balan to get the film roll washed and developed, which could probably give them clues about her whereabouts. The search begins to identify a college chemical laboratory, a garden, a theater, a cafe etc. seen in the photograph. They get disappointed with their failed search attempts. Once again, coincidence happens and Balan comes face to face with Sheela.

All that Balan fancied was to convey to Sheela 'I love you' on meeting her, but when they meet, is he able to actually say these three magical words to her? Do they fall in love? What is Sheela's take on love? Did she feel the need to fall in love at all? How does the climax shape up? Watch the movie.

Dulquer and Nithya form a wonderful pair in the movie. Shekhar Menon is superb with his comic timings. Rahul Madhav justifies his character very well, am not revealing anything about this character. Aju as always generates a lot of laughter through his cameo. Vineeth and Praveena play Nithya's parents. I was surprised to see Vineeth playing father to Nithya, but he was convincing. Praveena had a limited role to play.

A beautiful moment which I want to make a special mention: When Balan interacts with Sheela and asks her whether she wants to be original or just live life without accepting the realities of life.

Suggest you to watch this soft and sweet movie.

100 days of love is a sweet  movie celebrating Life and Romance.

Rating : 3.5 / 5 (Good +)