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BANNER

22 February 2013

Vaishali (1988)

1988
Directed by: Bharathan
Music: Ravi
Lyrics: ONV Kurup
Starring: Ashokan, Babu Antony, Geetha, Nedumudi Venu, 
Parvathi, Sanjay Mitra, Suparna Anand, VK Sriraman
I love period films. I love films based on stories from our epics. In fact, it is a shame that no one has thought of mining our epics and our mythology for plots they could turn into films. What a vast treasure trove of stories there is, just for the taking! Even more so than the Ramayana, the Mahabharata has hundreds of sub-stories that are incredibly rich in colour and detail. One such story is the tale of Rishyasringa, narrated to King Yudhishtra by Sage Lomasa.*

The kingdom of Anga is suffering. Twelve years have passed since a drop of rain has fallen on its parched lands. 
Unable to bear his people's suffering, King Lomapada (Babu Antony) sends for his raj guru (Nedumudi Venu). He wants the royal priest to conduct the sacrificial ceremonies to appease Indra, the rain god.  
The raj guru is torn. His only son Chandrangada (Ashokan) had fallen in love with Vaishali (Suparna Anand), the daughter of a devadasi. Hoping that a separation will allow his son to ponder the social consequences of his actions, the priest had left Champapuri. Now, however, his king's orders force him to return to the capital. 

Chandrangada is happy to be back; not so, Vaishali, who thinks as little of a Brahmin as any of her other admirers - they seek to buy her with money; he seeks to master her with authority. Her mother has promised her that she will never be pushed into their hereditary profession, but she also knows that marriage, especially into a respectable family, is not for the likes of her.
Meanwhile, even the raj guru's presence at the yagna has not melted Indra's heart. Princess Shantha (Parvathi), sympathetic to her father's frustrations, offers to observe penance, but her father dissuades her. 
 
However, there may be hope after all. The raj guru has seen a vision where his guru advices him to invite Rishyasringa (Sanjay Mitra), a young ascetic who is free of sin to conduct the yagna. The question is, who will lure the young ascetic to the city? He has been living deep inside the forests, and, other than his father, Sage Vibhandaka (VK Sriraman), has never seen another human being.

The sage will not allow his son to accompany the royal retinue; neither can they use force against such a powerful rishi. History has been witness to many Kshatriya dynasties that have been decimated by the tapas of sages. Anga is already cursed; do they really want to invoke another curse? So what do they do next? Anga needs rain badly. 

In a masterstroke, the raj guru offers the solution - send a woman to entice the youth. After all, didn't Rishyasringa's father fall prey to the wiles of an apsara?
The queen, not very enamoured of her step-daughter, is quick to point out that Shantha is beautiful and can destroy the tapas of any mendicant. But the raj guru has other plans. The girl who is sent must know the art of seduction, he announces; and so, a competition is announced.The devadasi who wins the contest will be rewarded many times over.

King Lomapada is dejected - he has seen no beauty among the competitors so seductive as to entice a rishi from his meditation. This is the chance the raj guru has been waiting for. Angered by his son's continued rebellion and his determination to marry Vaishali come what may, the raj guru informs the king that there is indeed such a woman - Vaishali, the young daughter of the royal courtesan. 

King Lomapada visits Malini and asks her for her favour; in order to save the kingdom, she must travel with her daughter to the ashram on the banks of the River Kaushiki.
Malini is not very receptive; her daughter is not yet sixteen, and she knows what can happen to her and her daughter if the rishi's rage breaks its bounds. However, the king's personal appeal, the kingdom's salvation, all these make Malini change her mind. The relieved king offers her riches beyond belief if she succeeds in her mission. Malini wants nothing for herself. All she asks for is the king's blessings; and a prayer that her daughter will be safe. Because if Vaishali is cursed, he will forever regret that he sent his daughter into danger. 

Lomapada is taken aback, but Malini swears by all the gods she holds dear. All she wants from him, if they return successfully, is for the king to acknowledge Vaishali as his daughter, and the saviour of the kingdom. Before the king can make that promise, the raj guru intervenes. It is time to set sail. So begins the long journey towards the unknown. 

Soon, they are at the edge of the forest where Sage Vibhandaka has his ashram. Leaving the others outside, Vaishali sets off to meet Rishyasringa.The young sage, unaware of any other being other than his father and the denizens of the forest in which he resides, is soon carried away by her beauty and charm. However, when Sage Vibhandaka returns in the evening, he is not very happy. 
 
Sensing danger, he warns his son not to step into the outer forest at all; but, Rishyasringa is enchanted by this new vision. Despite Sage Vibhandaka, the two young people manage to meet again.
The sage is even more disturbed when he hears of the next day's happenings. The next morning, Rishyasringa is beset by guilt. He has neglected his prayers, his duties, and even lied to his father. Vaishali is also disgusted with herself.
Malini is torn. She has a dream - that of Anga receiving the much-needed rain, and her daughter being given the legitimacy she lacks. But for that, Vaishali will have to do her part. Knowing the story of her birth, and having fallen in love with Rishyasringa, Vaishali is also torn. Her love and duty coincide, but will Rishyasringa cooperate? 

Rishyasringa is battling his own demons. His attraction to the newcomer has destroyed his concentration. Now convinced that his father was right, and the newcomer a demon in disguise to ruin his tapas, the young sage decides to gain control over his mind and emotions. But his meditation is soon broken by Vaishali's enchanting dance, and he follows her to the boat, which soon sets sail on its return journey. 

By the time he takes in his surroundings, they are many miles away from his father's ashram. Enraged by what he sees as her deceit, he is ready to curse her...
Will Vaishali manage to convince him of who she is, and why she came to the ashram? Will Rishyasringa be able to stop himself from uttering a curse? What about Sage Vibhandaka? Surely he will not remain silent while his son is kidnapped. Will the young sage bring rain to the parched land? Will Vaishali be given the legitimacy that her mother seeks for her?  

*According to the Mahabharata, Sage Vibhandaka's penances begin to frighten Indra, the lord of the heavens. Alarmed at the sage's increasing powers, Indra sends his apsara Urvashi to seduce Vibhandaka and destroy his penance. Rishyasringa is born of their union. Mission over, Urvashi abandons both father and son and returns to her heavenly abode. Maharshi Vibhandaka, overcome by hatred at her desertion, takes his baby son and retreats deep into the forests to rear his son in isolation. 

Meanwhile, the king of Anga fears for the welfare of his kingdom and his people. Anga has been facing drought and famine for many years now, cursed as it is by a Brahmin who was ignored by the king. The purohits inform the king that if a sage of unusual power, and one who has practiced perfect chastity conducts the yagna  to appease the rain god (Indra), the kingdom will be saved. So Rishyasringa has to be brought to the city. But how? King Lomapada sends the most beautiful courtesans, and even his daughter Shantha, to seduce the young ascetic. His ploy works, and with Rishyasringa's help, the bounty of the heavens showers on Anga. In return, the appreciative king marries off his daughter to the young sage. 

Envy, revenge, love, seduction, a curse and its alleviation - what more can you ask of a story? Well, more, apparently, if your movie is scripted by a man who delights in setting epics on their heads. What if it wasn't the princess who went out to seduce the sage? What if it was her half-sister, the illegitimate child born of her father's liaison with a courtesan? What if the courtesan agrees to her daughter being used as a pawn in return for the stamp of legitimacy? What if a conniving priest sets to destroy everything that stands in his path? What if? 

So, a script took shape, taking the bare essence of this minor story from one of the greatest epics ever told, and then colouring within and without the lines to answer these hypothetical questions. The script pointedly describes what happens to ordinary people when political expediency intervenes; how a wily politician is willing to sacrifice everything, including his own son, on the altar of duty and social custom; how a weak king can do wrong just by refusing to do what is right, and how women were mere pawns on a royal chessboard. 

When this story was finally filmed by Bharathan, one of Malayalam cinema's auteurs, cineastes awaited its release with keen anticipation. Bharathan had shot to fame with his first film Prayanam; his films stood apart because of the solid scripts, excellent dialogues, strong visual appeal, and plot lines which did not shy away from a realistic depiction of human relationships, including an exploration of human sexuality. 

A huge commercial success when it first released, Vaishali (the typical Malayali pronunciation) has been called a painting in celluloid, the prettiest Malayalam film ever made and Bharathan's masterpiece. It says much for the director's skill in extracting good performances from his cast that Suparna Anand who played the eponymous role turned in her career-best performance as the young courtesan who, entrusted with a job, finds that her heart leads her down a path that can only lead to destruction. 

It also says much of Sanjay Mitra's lack of talent that even Bharathan could not extract anything close to a performance from the lad. However, in a reversal of roles, he was there to provide eye-candy, and that he did, in abundance. But the story was brought to life by the supporting cast, and what stellar performances they turned in! Geetha as Malini, the courtesan who wants a better life for her daughter; Nedumudi Venu as the royal priest who abuses his position to seek petty revenge against a young girl because his son fell in love with her; VK Sriraman as Sage Vibhandaka who, rejected by his beauteous wife, teaches his son that women are not to be trusted (ironically, his son will reject the selfless love of a young girl for no fault of hers); Babu Antony as Lomapada, the king who forgets an unspoken promise made to a lowly courtesan, and sacrifices the well-being of his illegitimate daughter to further the happiness of his legitimate one. It was an ensemble cast, and the three veterans (and one relative newcomer) raised the film beyond the strong script. 

Bharathan had a well-earned reputation for being a master director. He spearheaded the middle-cinema movement in Malayalam, with his films treading the path betwixt the art-house cinema of Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G Arvindan, and the purely commercial star-vehicles. That he cast several top 'stars' in his films did not, in any way, reduce the efficacy of his films - on the contrary, 'stars' seemed to shed their stardom and enter deep into the skin of their characters under his baton. 

Bharathan also had a strong crew. MT Vasudevan Nair, one of Malayalam literature's foremost novelists, penned the script for Vaishali; this was his first collaboration with Bharathan. Veteran music director, Ravi, who had begun his comeback with a fantastic score composed for director Hariharan's Panchagni a couple of years earlier, scored the music for this film, his third in as many years. Credited as 'Bombay Ravi', he set the score to lyrics by ONV Kurup, considered one of India's finest living lyrical poets. Indupushpam choodi earned KS Chitra a well-deserved national award for Best Playback Singer, Female. This was her third award; her second, the year before, also came under Ravi's baton - Manjal prasaadavum nettiyil chaarthi from Hariharan's Nakhakshathangal. The cinematography was by Madhu Ambat, today considered one of the finest cinematographers in the Indian film industry. Together, they crafted one of the finest pieces of celluloid magic that today, has achieved cult status in Malayalam cinema.

90 comments:

  1. Pseudo Intellectualual22 February 2013 at 16:07

    I enjoyed the review Anu. You know I love 'period' too :-) and stories from epics are the best. Bollywood doesn't make them enymore and am thoroughly deprived of these. Now I'm going to scout the internet to see if I can get a subtitled version. 
    Thanks for the review, and the recommendation :-)

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  2. ooops, Anu. I think somehow part of my email address has come up as 'name' could you please do something about it? Thanks.

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  3. I'm trying again :-/

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  4. I enjoyed the review Anu. You know I love 'period' too :-)
    and stories from epics are the best. Bollywood doesn't make them enymore and am
    thoroughly deprived of these. Now I'm going to scout the internet to see if I
    can get a subtitled version.


    Thanks for the review, and the recommendation :-)


     

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  5. Just removed the others, pacifist. 

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  6. You are welcome, pacifist. I did think you would like this when I began to write the post. :) I wish someone would begin to mine these stories. Really. Such a wonderful fount of them, and just imagine what we can do today in terms of sets and CGI and stuff! I mean, there are stories that will fit every genre, from fantasy to sci-fi, from romance to family sob-story, from revenge to politics - you name it, our mythology has it!

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  7. Period movies are indeed rare , in so far as cinema, as a whole is concerned, probably because that not only requires quite an extensive research on the subject and that period’s milieu, the way people expressed themselves and understood the happenings, which would certainly be at variance with the current times.
    In effect, this means quite a competent and committed support team and expressive actors.
    However, when these factors have happened well, the end result – the film – has not been an epic in itself, but successful as well.
    “Vaishali” does seem to be one that had a right mix in its chemistry.

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  8. As you'd know, I'm on the 'love-period-films' gang too. And this one sounds unmissable - though, somewhere towards the end of your review, I got a whiff of a sad ending. :-(

    Coincidentally, I'm reading an Indian historical novel these days - a translation of Saradindu Bandopadhyay's Tungabhadrar Teere, By the Tungabhadra. Total potboiler, with some lovely romance, plus court intrigue, hidden agendas, etc. Very entertaining!

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  9. I also join the band-wagon of 'I love period films'.

    Wonderful in-depth review of of this film, Anu!

    enjoyed the various questions you have posed.
    The various side stories of Ramayana and Mahabharatha are so wonderful, that many authors have taken them up and given them more structure.
    Eveytime you review a Malayalam movie, I start missing the Sudnay afternoon movie on DD of the 80s.

    Thanks for this review. Do review more of Malayalam cinema!

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  10.  This film was definitely well-reasearched as far as the sets were concerned, and the way it was shot. If I had a peeve, it was the costumes. But then, Malayalam films very rarely have the sort of budgets that can support such indulgences. That apart, this movie was definitely an epoch-marking one.

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  11.  This is a beautiful film, very well-crafted, excellent script, dialogues, acting. Unfortunately, there isn't a DVD out there with sub-titles, bad or otherwise. And yes, it does have a sad ending. :( But the only realistic one there could have been, so...

    You want to talk about coincidences, just wait for my next post. :)

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  12. Thank you, Harvey. I agree with you about missing Sunday-afternoon movie fare on DD. A lot of my exposure to good films from other languages came from watching those movies. 

    You are right about reviewing more Malayalam Cinema. I just realised I have neglected my mother tongue completely! :(

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  13. Vaishali is not a period film and anybody looking at it from that perspective is likely to be disappointed if they are looking for accuracy. After all where would one put the Mahabharata and its attendant stories in the linear time period we follow.  The costumes are not in keeping with the Vedic time period, I doubt that anybody in India wore stitched clothing at that time. The background music tends to be a little too ubiquitous at times.  The film like the Mahabharata is a study of human emotions and their minuteness set against the vastness of the universe. It is typical of much of  Indian philosophy, where mankind is never quite at the centre of creation but plays their parts on a stage ruled by chance. What chance is, in Indian thought, I have never quite understood.  As you said, MT always liked to stand things on their heads and he has done it here too.

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  14. Vaishali is a period film - if you go by the common definition of it as 'set in a particular period in history'. A 'period film' doesn't necessarily have to be 'accurate' in order to be called thus, though it would be very nice if it was.

    I did mention, in my comment to Ashokji that yes, I didn't think they researched the costumes because of the point you made - I do not think the women, particularly the devadasis wore blouses, for instance, or that princesses wore what was essentially the modern ghagra choli.

    In terms of the setting and the sets, though, they did try hard to retain the flavour of the times.  With the budget constraints that most Malayalam films labour under, I think this was an excellent film, and with the story, direction and acting, the lack of accuracy didn't jar quite as much.

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  15. Agree that a period film does not have be accurate unless it is some sort of a biopic (like say 'Celluloid' which is making waves now) and to that extent Vaishali is made in an unknown era, so acceptable cultural and traditional norms may not be applicable here. But even a biopic like Perunthachan had its narrative changed as per MTs vision but you still can't find fault with it - something that a 'Urumi' failed in.

    MT turns on its head and so from a historical, it charters into social issues of caste and  status of women in the society. The tragic ending elevates a period drama to a social statement and that gives it a universal appeal - the downtrodden and lower classes will continue to be suppressed by the upper class. A lot of our mythologies actually have stories with such tragedies (like Karna's) but we look at it with a sense of awe and probably don't question it that much; MT seeks to bring that distant vision much closer to our eyes and question what we otherwise find as acceptable in the epics.

    Sanjay Mitra as eye-candy? Did it work? Can't say but Suparna surely had that effect though you'd have to admit that she had the main role in the movie. Bharathan had that image of being more open when it came to showcasing women in his movies and Suparna does exhibit that. Saddened by a recent shot of her in Asianet - plump and out of shape, miles away from that seductress of Vaishali:( 

    Bharathan and MT - only Thazhvaram and Vaishali together - should have done much more (Thazhvaram appealed to me more)...Incidentally, the rain that happened at the end of the film did actually happen after the final yagna was done as part of the shooting...

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  16. I would have defined a period film more narrowly since some of the things I look at are clothing, buildings and the general technology in use at that time. Though in this case I feel that MT, Bharathan etc, did not pay complete attention to these things because they were more interested in human drama than in other accoutrements.  They would have known that stitched clothing was probably not used in India till the 9th century, There are enough acknowledgements at the begining of the film I think to various historical societies to indicate they had done research.  Besides I don't think an accurate depiction of dresses of the Vedic times would go down well with the moral police. To me the weakest portion of the film were the opening scenes, I couldn't understand how the soldiers guarding the water being brought to the palace could have such white clothes, but I guess it was to strike a contrasts between them and the masses. I do wish Ravi had toned down the music in those scenes. When the film got going it was excellent. Lastly, who would want to look at Suparna when Geeta was around? :-)

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  17.  The scene with the water-bearers was also (I think) to depict the economic differences - only the palace inmates could afford to have such white clothes because they were the only ones who could get water. And white was typically worn by the rich - castoff clothes, perhaps? Again, it was also a stark contrast to the dusty setting - perhaps Madhu Ambat and Bharathan thought it would  make a pretty picture?

    The costumes were definitely the weakest link. The clothes of the girls, for instance, were ridiculous. It was the Mallu perception of 'North Indian' costumes. Yet there was an attention paid to the sets itself - the palace, the royal durbar , the yajnasala... there really was no kitsch.

    But I would still say 'period film' because of the period the film was set in.

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  18.  Good to hear from you. :)

    Sanjay Mitra as eyecandy did not work for me, but I know plenty of my classmates who went to watch the film just for him. Can't blame them. Other than Rehman, who did we have in Malayalam movies, who was young and relatively goodlooking?

    Saddened by a recent shot of her in Asianet - plump and out of shape, miles away from that seductress of Vaishali:(

    That's an awful thing to say. Do you think she is going to remain in some sort of a timewarp? And is there something that says that a heroine has to remain young and slender and glamorous all through her life, while a hero (think of her heroes of the time) can become fat and balding and still remain heroes playing leading men opposite girls young enough to be their daughters? Shame, Pradeep!

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  19. True, not too many young and good-looking choices then as compare to now. Still, they could have looked at somebody less stoic to enact the role. And Rehman still looks good:)

    You can age gracefully too! Look at Suparna and Ranjini (of Chitram fame) and then compare with Shobana, Urvashi, Geeta or Sumalata or others, there is a huge difference. Not suggesting that she look at young and petite always (something that Vineeth manages to do so mysteriously) but still, it's a rather drastic downward spiral (if you saw either of them recently), even though it is a personal choice to look the way you wish to! 

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  20. Must have seen how different and unrecognizable she looks now as in the link; ok the complaint is not sexist, just a lament (oru vishamam)...

    http://www.our-kerala.com/newgallery/index.php?section=index&action=gallery_view&category_name=Suparna-Anand

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  21. My definition of period is - anything not contemporary. Nor have anyone alive from that time. 

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  22. Vineeth doesn't have to give birth, and besides, he is younger! This fascination with women having to remain svelte and youthful is  sexist. :(
    Yes, you can age gracefully, but aging greacefully and putting on weight have nothing to do with each other. Look at Waheeda Rehman for instance.

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  23.  20+ years have passed - what did you expect? For her to be a female Dorian Grey?

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  24. Oldmalayalamcinema25 February 2013 at 23:58

    Vaishali (1988), I still remember, was like this "lifeline to sanity" for the average Malayali who had been literally pickled in Sagar's Ramayan for over an year :) I don't know whether you would have noticed but 1988 was the year when Ramanand Sagar's TV Ramayan ended and BR Chopra's Mahabharat began. We had over a month in between, and bingo, in came Vaishali, from the greatest painter ( atleast for me) on celluloid Malayalam cinema had ever seen ( No, Bharathan's uncle, the legendary PN Menon was in a different league altogether ). In place of the benumbing kitsch what we had been subjected and conditioned to, Bharathan gave us the stark rock-cut palaces with crimson tapestry contracts, and as you rightly mentioned, "the modern ghagra cholis." I guess, in a way, like MT, he too was doing his own visual interpretation of the story, just like MT did his textual one. There are hilarious howlers like paper/vinyl (?) festoons at the yagnasala towards the final scenes of the movie. I guess, for the average Malayalam movie lover, Vaishali would always remain the most gorgeous celluloid painting ever. It' quite interesting that MT would borrow the name of his leading protagonist from a vedic city whose popularity  of those times was also due to its equally famous courtesan Amrapali :). 

    There was a DVD issue of the movie ( I have one) which is marginally better in picture quality than its VCD counterpart.As far as eye-candy speak is concerned, do you even have to ask :-P

    Thanks Anu for the brilliantly bringing it all back.

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  25.  No. :) I prefer my period films set in my world.

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  26. You are welcome, CM. It always struck me as incongruous - the mixture of the real (the palace settings, the outdoor shots) with the ridiculour (the kitschy costume jewellery, the ghagra cholis, and as you so rightly pointed out, the paper-and-vinyl kandeels) - yet all the howlers slipped into the background before the drama unfolding on the screen.  Vaishali was truly one of the best films that came out of that period, and has retained its freshness even today.

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  27. As per Wikipedia, both Suparna and Vineeth are born in the same year (1969)!  Referred to the contrast between her and all the above mentioned actresses who are older than her and neither of them remains svelte or youthful ! Nevertheless, was not referring to the age or gender perse except mentioning how much that image has changed drastically compared to say the others that I had mentioned. Looking at the 2 images and referring to a nostalgic lament, that's all...athanu ippol sexist okka paranjalo :(

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  28. If star wars was set in the past - yes :-)

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  29. I found an online link for it, but it's not subtitled. I doubt there's one. :-(

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  30. Well you must tweak your defintion a bit , now then... And it was set in the past sometime in the future...Remember "long long ago in a galaxy far away....."

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  31. Oh okay then I would think "Rebel without a cause.." might fit the bill

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  32.  Shobhana is younger than her, being born in 1970. And it is sexist, Pradeep, to compare her to Vineeth, when it is a well-known fact that a) women age faster than men and b) men do not have to deal with the after effects of pregnancy and childbearing.

    I agree it is a nostalgic lament - we want our idols to look like they always were, but it is also sexist in that one does not expect men to remain the way they did in the 20s. I mean, we are ready to accept Mohanlal acting with Poornima Jairam's daughter as his heroine, but Suparna (or any other actress) would probably be handed his mother's role, and doesn't matter if they are years younger. I have no issue with the nostalgia, but let's not wrap the sentiment up in acceptable language - it *is* sexist.

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  33. I don't know about pacifist, but I'm liking this exchange. :) 

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  34.  Nope. If that were so, then any of the films I review from the 50s should be called 'period' no? I would definitely call 'The Great Gatsby' a period film. I'm struggling to explain this, but it is not just that it should be set in a particular year, which most films are, right? but that they have something of the flavour of the period - the social mores, the cultural ethos, the human interactions. A really well-made period film would also pay attention to the costumes and sets, and settings, absolutely. I agree with you on that.

    Vaishali is mythological, and in that sense 'period', and I think the director did pay attention to the sets, and the settings, though not to the costumes. Why, I have no idea.

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  35. CM from OldMalayalamCinema mentioned it was available on DVD; if it is, I'll pick it up for you. Hopefully, it will have decent-ish sub-titles (I'm not holding my breath.)

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  36. Tain't my definition tis pacifist's and you agreed with it. And I'm glad you caught on to what I was saying, yes most of the films you review are period films by her definition... and all those men and women that make y'all drool are dead mouldering malodorous bodies ravaged by maggots and suchlike, maybe gleaming white bones occasionally coming up to point an accusing finger at todays boy toys and waif girls.... I suggest you make a period film....The title should be "."

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  37. Of course Star Wars is a period film...But the future may not be what it used to be in the past. :-)

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  38. >set in the past sometime in the future..

    This makes it neither here nor there, let alone any period. ;-)

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  39. Will you??? Oh thanks, Anu. That's really sweet. I'm starving for a good period film for ages now. I can't help but hold my breath :-/

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  40. Oh, I see. You meant holding breath re: subtitles. I thought 'getting the DVD'. Yes. I tried watching some very old films, one had Kamalhasan, and the subtitles were atrocious. I gave up, but if its the case here I'll carry on, because it will give an idea of what's going on at least.

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  41. You speak what the industry perceives is acceptable, not how the audience thinks of it. The audience may by-and-large feel disconcerting and would include both men and women but that depends on the individual . I don't have any qualms to see men acting with women of a much lower age or vice-versa, so would that qualify as doubly sexist or does that neutralize the so-called sexist remark? The social network and media abounds with comments mocking how superstars cavort with women half their age but I don't see that being called sexist, unless sexism is limited to making remarks about women only.

    Vineeth or Rehman are extreme cases and not a comparison with Suparana; very few men manage to look as young as they do at their age...the point was that unless you are an exceptional case like Vineeth, no one can look that young and I don't even expect her to look like that...

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  42.  They are captured in all their glory on celluloid and will remain forever young to viewers like me. :)

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  43.  Not for us, though, since it is still set in the future. :)

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  44.  No probs. Going to Kerala in August. And will do my usual Chakkar of my DVDwala, so will ask him if it is around. CM says it is, so it should be. Will keep you posted.

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  45.  I don't have qualms about the men acting with women young enough to be their daughters, if the script has a place for such a pairing. More often than not, it is just to remain young, and let's face it - you talked about the audience. Even the audience is better equipped to deal with an older man- younger woman pairing than the reverse. Heck, look around you in society - it is totally acceptable for a man to marry a woman who is years younger than he is. But fingers are often pointed at a woman who pairs off with a much younger man. It is not sexist to point out that in most cases, superstars cavorting with women half their age are ridiculous. You think a woman doing a mainstream film with a hero who is a few years younger than her would not be mocked? Where have you been hiding?

    It doesn't even have to be half her age - Madhuri Dixit had to defend acting opposite Akshaye Khanna; Rani Mukherjee had to defend acting opposite Shaid Kapoor, Sridevi defended her role opposite Akshay Kumar. Fact is, no one will even give a heroine a role that casts her opposite a much younger man in a commercial film. Don't tell me double standards do not exist.

    Where Suparna is concerened, she is not even in films. To point at how she's let herself go, when people like Mohanlal still act in films, looking like a beer barrel, and romancing girls young enough to be his son's co-stars? *That* is a double standard.

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  46. Thanks again Anu. :-)

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  47. Oh come on young pacifist....Main samay hoon, there is no end , no begining, it is the wheel of time, an infinite bounded set,  the mathematical possibilities are endless. It is a period which repeats infinitely with variations.
     Unless of course you would like to read a paper in theoretical physics by a friend where he says that time does not infinitely extend backwards. "Killjoy", I say.

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  48. I'll ignore the 'young' part. ;-)
    As for the rest.
    Time may be infinitive, but people and cultures aren't. They come and go. 

    -This coming and going forms what we refer to as period - when it has been gone for a while.

    -Time's infinitiveness helps to slot out these people and cultures into what we call period.

     -It's time's infinitiveness which causes periods to form.

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  49. I missed this comment.
    No, my definition wouldn't fit 50s. I on't know how you think that?
    According to me most things in a period (including people, a certain morality, style of language tastes etc) should be dead to some extent, or completely (epecially people) :-D

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  50. PS: And the time lapse between the deaths (complete or incomplete) should be considerable, this can vary. My period condition would end in early 20th century - which means 'dead (completely or incompletely) for about a century. For me even tis is too early. 150 years would be ideal.

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  51.  :) I was going to reply to this, but I saw pacifist has done the needful.

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  52.  Thank you! When SSW gets a bee in his bonnet (or cap if he prefers) then it is good to have someone chase it out for him. :)

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  53.  dead to some extent, or completely (epecially people) :-D

    Ha ha ha! True, dat.

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  54.  You know, I wish the comments would thread in order of the time they were posted. Now a lot of the previous comments look completely out of place.

    And to say, pacifist, I agree completely with you on *all* your definitions of 'period'. So, foooey to SSW. :)) (Though, I'm guessing by this time, he's got his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek!)

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  55. So see Star War's was set in a period in the time space continuum. We just don't know where. Any definition of period is arbitrary so your period of uncontemporary, unalive people has nothing to do with a period. The Triassic era had the T Rex but no people, only Speilberg put the poor bugger into the 20th century Jurassic with people. So Bharatan played fast and loose with clothes and paper instead of Hide and Skin (or maybe Seek).

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  56. Yup, glued I say,  except in the early mornings whilst brushing ancient teeth.

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  57. That should have read your "period of un-contemporary un-alive people has nothing to do with somebody else's definition of a period". You must pardon my horrible english , I am periodically challenged by my lack of it.

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  58.  By that token, no one else need agree with your definition of 'period' either - I get to define what I term a period film when I review one. :)

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  59.  If any definition of a period is arbitrary, then there is no point in arguing over whose definition is right. Or wrong. Is there?

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  60. Oh I did not argue because I was right. I am invariably wrong. But arguing is fun.
    Now having been vanquished  I'll retire to lick my wounds in private but first I need to dislodge that tongue that is firmly stuck in my cheek to do so. :-)

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  61. To SSW because I can't seem to reply below: Oh I did not argue because I was right. I am invariably wrong. But arguing is fun. Now
    having been vanquished  I'll retire to lick my wounds in private but
    first I need to dislodge that tongue that is firmly stuck in my cheek to
    do so. :-)


    Pffft. Be careful the wind doesn't change and your tongue remain stuck. :)

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  62.  Interesting retort - I have to go through all the comments now to find the thread - SSW accepting defeat?  This I have to see with mine own eyes!

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  63. and all those men and women that make y'all drool are dead mouldering
    malodorous bodies ravaged by maggots and suchlike, maybe gleaming white
    bones occasionally coming up to point an accusing finger at todays boy
    toys and waif girls....
    This is fun - is it Halloween already?

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  64.  Just one teeny question - what is incompletely dead?  Brain dead, maybe?  Btw, I am asking just for the fun of it and because it is nearly midnight and I am tired of weighing and reweighing suitcases and taking out stuff and finding almost a whole suitcase load of stuff outside my suitcases now!

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  65. My two bits - I love films of all periods - past, future, and present - as long as the story is intriguing and good, but most of all, I love these discussions here!  Keep them coming!

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  66. Hahaha Lalitha. Don't be such a wet blanket!

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  67. ¨Lalitha, it's so good to see you being active once again after all the busy construction work.

    Incompletely dead was for 'other' things like some aspects of culture and language. If you notice I did say 'people should be completely dead :-)' 
    Well, I was just trying to crack a joke with my PJs :-/

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  68. This movie sounds wonderful from your description, but I have no idea how I will ever get to see it unless I come to your place.  Who knows, maybe I will, but I will pass myself off as Pacifist.  Wait a minute, that's not a good idea, I am no good at all the witty stuff, so I will be just plain old me.

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  69.  So come, na! What fun we will have. And then we can make Harvey  jealous by writing about all the good things we eat and all the movies we watched. Do come.

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  70. There you go. I'm surprised you didn't joing SSW in nitpicking about the 'period' film, though. :)

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  71.  Lalithaaaaaa! Ugh! As I told SSW, the men and women we drool over are trapped  in all their glory on celluloid - for infinity. Not for them the problems of sagging skin or creaky bones.

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  72.  I know! Begone, all you wet blankets!

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  73. Lalitha, *groan*. Don't encourage him! He only retreated (miffed) because I gave him a stern talking-to.  Now he just has to see your comment and he will be back. I should really get him his own blog.

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  74.  So you are finally leaving the land of your birth? I know what you mean about weighing things to the last ounce. It's horrible, know? I wish we had one of those magical suitcase that expand to carry all that we want, but only weighs as much as our alloted limit. :(

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  75.  I am nitpicky about movies, not about reviews!

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  76.  Yes, but he was nitpicking about whether the film was 'period' or not. :) I'm really looking forward to your visiting me. I wonder whether, between you and S, we will actually watch a film!

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  77.  Well, we are supposed to be visiting Conn. towards the end of April,. so keep that DVD handy, as well as the chai and whatever else we need to munch on while watching movies! 

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  78.  Definitely! Think of a long movie fest. Plan on staying for a weekend at least, if not more. :)

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  79. Poor Harvey will be turning green with envy!

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  80. I am back to reading all your reviews and then all the comments. Hard to decide which I enjoy more. Keep going. 

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  81.  Well, poor Harvey has been invited often enough. :) He can come along too. Anytime.

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  82.  I think you need both to get the full benefit of entertainment. :) I'm glad you enjoy them.

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  83. can post more details of actress Suparna Anand..

    btw wer is she now..?

    Regards,
    ashwin

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  84. I really have no idea, Ashwin. She acted in a handful of Malayalam movies and then 'retired'. Apparently she had come as a judge on some show a few years ago, but there is nothing more we have to go on. She's probably living her life, happily, away from the limelight. :)

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  85. Why don't you discuss about / create a forum for
    PARANKIMALA ACTRESS SOORYA aka GLADISr

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  86. Because this blog is not a forum for actors/actresses? I write about (mainly) Hindi films and old Hindi songs. In between, I try to share my love for regional and independent cinema from across the globe. It is not about particular actors or actresses at all.

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