March 2002: Asianet in UK, 'Current Books' silver Jubilee..
by Elizabeth Menon

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I trust that you all had a wonderful time at Easter though it was heartbreaking to see the devastating events in the Holy land, where it all happened according to the Bible. We can pray for commonsense to prevail and the fighting to end.

· The 7th International Festival is being held in Thiruvananthapuram from 29th March till 5th April, screening around 149 films from all over the world. The inaugural light was lit by the great Malayali actress Aranmula Ponnamma at ‘Nishagandhi’ while the enchanting Veena music filled the air, seven in number to represent the seventh festival. It’s believed to be the first time that the directors of all 12 nominated films are attending an international festival. TV Chandran’s ‘Dani’ and T Rajiv Kumar’s ‘Sesham’ are among the three Indian films nominated for the best film, a Bengali film being the third. ‘K G George in retrospect’, is the one of the highlights, showing five of his best films, ‘irakal, Adaminte variyellu, lekhayude maranam, yavanika and kolangal; Meghamalhar (Kamal), Neythukaran(Priyanandanan), Theerthadanam(Kannan) and Kannaki(Jayaraj) are the other Malayalam films shown at the festival.

· Ganaganharvan Yesudas feeds thousands on Easter day, at Fort Cochin’s ‘Kurishu Kappela! The feast was followed by a music concert by Yesudas, joined by his son, Vijay Yesudas. This concert is in memory of his father, Agustin Joseph, who performed at the ‘Kappela’ and it was his wish before his death that the tradition must continue; the concert is the 54th, since it started.

· The publishers, ‘Current Books’ celebrates the silver Jubilee by choosing eight new novelists from Kerala; Raj Nair’s ‘Nishabdathayile Theerthadakan’ is one of the novels chosen. As one opens the book and finds that ‘Thakazhi’ is his grandfather, one would say that ‘obviously he has kept it in the family and it must be in the genes’! But Raj Nair makes his own mark with a style that stands out. Kuttanadan life is drawn in such detail that nothing is left to your imagination. One such example is when he describes how sardines get ready for the fry up! “Thalayum, vaalum, chethumpalum, chirakukalumillatha, thilangunna mathikale valiya uppukallukalittu thechu kazhukum. Pinneyum, pinneyum,pinneyum. Ini kalaaviruthaanu. Niraye varayum. Chumanna mulakum, uppum arachu thilangunna meenukalude mel purattum………varuthu kittuka ennathaanu iniyathe swapnam”: this will make you run to the nearest shop to buy the sardines or get hold of the book ! Dr P P Ravindran has done the introduction; the book is available on line:

· Visit Manorama’s new site:, packed with new ideas.

· Watching Malayalam news and other programmes through ‘Asianet’ may be available to us in the near future; watch this space for further news!

· Let's join the nation to pay tribute to the 'Grandmother, with a wonderful smile'.

© E Menon



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