· Dr Abdul Kalam was sworn in as the 12th President of India on 25 July 2002. “Enthero mahanu bhavalu’, the famous lines of Thyagaraja echoed in the great hall of Indian Parliament through the voice of the new president. He recited the words of Thirukkural and Kabir and urged the nation “ What you need to do tomorrow, do it today and what you need to do today, do it now”. Let’s hope we can focus on our new president’s ideals and stand behind him in his quest for national integrity and self-respect.
· Murali, the chosen one, for year 2001! He won Nation’s Best Actor award for the Malayalam film, Neythukaran, directed by the newcomer, Priyanandanan. Murali’s inimitable portrayal of Appa Mesthiri placed him at the best actor’s throne, to receive President’s Swarna Kamalam; Om Puri was in the final round with Murali. Shobhana won the best actress award for her performance in the English film Mithru, my friend, directed by the actress turned director Revathy; Shobhana shared this award with Tabu; Bina Paul won the best editor’s award for Mithru.
First Indian woman wins the first medal for athletics, at the Common Wealth Games 2002 and a proud moment for Malayalees! Anju Bobby George, the national champion for long jump, wins bronze for India. This is the 5th medal in athletics for India, including Milkha Singh’s gold in 1958 for 400 metres. Anju is the daughter of Markose and Gracy from Changanachery, married to Jimmy George’s brother Bobby George, who is also her trainer; Jimmy George was the Volley Ball champion who died in a car crash, 13 years ago. India has won 51 medals so far. Shooting and weight lifting won 20 gold medals, 10, in each. Anjali Bhagavath has done the nation proud with her triple gold for shooting. Sunny Thomas who trained the shooting team brings Kerala to the forefront!
· We will Rock you is one musical that one should not miss. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised that the performance of the actors did more than justice to the inimitable music of Freddie Mercury and Queen, more than anyone has ever done before! The electrifying show with the magnificent singing and the celestial presence of Freddie mercury should make this, Ben Elton and Queen production, ‘The musical of the year’. Tony Vincent and the other singers receive standing ovation at every show and surely the show will go on for a very long time!
· Manoj Shyamalan, the ‘next Steven Spielberg’? Shyamalan’s new film, Signs, which is released this week in the US, is expected to be a sure winner, with Mel Gibson in the lead. Shyamalan came to fame with his ‘Sixth Sense’, which was nominated for the Oscar.