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Shraddha, the Tamil theatre group have been running their new play “Hanuman” for last few days. Today was the last day in Narada Gana Sabha, Alwarpet and I didn’t miss it. The 90 minutes play “Hanuman” is a new genre for Tamil play, its story happens in Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the time of a failed rocket launch (wasting Rs.400 Crores) to a successful launch of a  indigenous cryogenic rocket. Hanuman was written…

Shraddha Theatres, a theatre group in Chennai is known for their innovation with the scripts they choose and their execution – introducing something different in each of their theatre plays. This time, they have taken the inconspicuous Kitchen(s) in our households and told the family drama and sentiment that happens around it. Their new play Nam Samayalaraiyil (நம் சமையலறையில்) that was staged today is an anthology of four stories (நான்கு குறு நாடகங்கள்), each of them…

Richie (2017) is how a journalist (Shraddha Srinath) interviews everyone in a local fishing village to reconstruct the story of a local rowdy by the same name. Richie, played by Nivin Pauly – an actor I like a lot from his Neram(2013) film and who impressed me with his films like Premam(2015) and Action hero Biju (2016). A small fisherman (Elango Kumaravel) finds a rare statue in the sea and tries to sell it, without giving the commission to…

A few weeks back I got to visit Rameswaram town after a decade or so. The main reason for the trip was to visit the recently opened memorial for Dr Kalam at Peikarumbu, Rameswaram.

We travelled from Chennai by train – the newly introduced “Faizabad Express” (16794) that runs from Ayodhya to Rameswaram.  The train leaves Chennai Egmore at 18:50 to reach Rameswaram next day morning 07:10. It was a new route, the coaches were brand new and comfortable, with bio-toilets that don’t dirty the tracks with its waste.

We stayed at Daiwik Hotels Rameswaram, which was one of the best hotels in town.

After settling down in the hotel and a bath, we went for a darshan at the famous Ramanathaswamy Temple on Rameswaram Island dedicated to the God Shiva. It is one of the 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where the three of the most revered Nayanars (Saivite saints) have glorified the temple with their songs. The temple was expanded during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty. The presiding deity, the Lingam of Ramanathaswamy (Shiva), is believed to have been established and worshipped by Rama, an avatar of the God Vishnu, to absolve the sins created during the Ramayana war at Sri Lanka. According to Skānda Purāṇa, twenty-four Tīrthas (holy water bodies) that are on this island are important. Bathing in these Tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the Tīrthas are within the Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple, hence you will see on any given day thousands of pilgrims queueing for the holy bath. As pilgrims move around in half-dried clothes, the corridors in the temple can be wet – the elderly have to be careful while walking.

After having a good darshan, we went for a boat ride on the sea near Rameswaram temple. The joyride was operated by a small outfit who charged Rs.60 per person for the 30-minute ride on the sea close to the shore. Apart from us, there were about 50 passengers who went on the ride, which were being operated continuously during the day.

After lunch on the first day of our stay in Rameswaram, we went to House of Kalam and then to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial at Peikarumbu.

Ivan Thanthiran (2017) starring Gautham Karthik as Sakthi and Shraddha Srinath as Asha, should have been a lot more interesting film. The story is about how a corrupt Human-Resources Minister causes undue sufferings to the education of thousands of engineering college student across the state. The film had a good premise, but due to an uninspiring screenplay falls short of its potential. Sakthi is a talented technology wizard, who runs a electronics shop in Ritchie…