• Movie Review

    Wadjda (2012)

    What a simple yet inspirational film this was! The first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, that too by a female Saudi director in her debut film: Wadjda (2012). It was about a little girl who wants to buy a cycle and race with it against her neighbour’s boy. In a conservative society like Saudi, this was not so easy. The film traces her journey. Wadjda is a 10-year girl living in Riyadh with her mother who works in a school that requires a long commute and her father visits them once in a while. She is friends with a boy named Abdullah of the same age next door.…

  • Movie Review

    Nimtoh (2019)

    Nimtoh (2019) aka Invitation is a Nepali film that was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 and was made available online by ICAF. Tashi is a 10-year old boy living with his grandma in the outhouse of a small farm in a village near Darjeeling. His grandma is a servant taking care of the cardamom orchard, Tashi does the odd-jobs around when he is not going to school.  The film starts with the duo making noise in the night to scare off the wild animals that come inside the farm. In that first five minutes, we are transported to the thick night inside the forest region. The farm owner’s…

  • Movie Review

    Let Her Cry (2016)

    Let Her Cry is a Sri Lankan Sinhala adult drama directed by Asoka Handagama. FFSI Online Film Festival has made the film available for free streaming from Vimeo.  The story is a familiar one, but the narration has been an engaging one. There are only four main characters in the film with the story revolving around them. The story is about a deep romantic desire (infatuation?), a young lady student is having on her elderly professor. The professor, in his 60s, is well-respected, is happily married with two children – a boy studying for his graduation in America, and a girl studying in a local school. Did the professor succeed…

  • Alpha is a 2019 Bangladeshi film
    Movie Review

    Alpha (2019)

    Alpha (2019) is a Bangladeshi film, that shows the lives of the underprivileged living in Dhaka City. The film is made available online for free by the Federation of Film Societies of India. The story is about an “artist” (painter) living in a small hut in the middle of a dirty lake in the city. Alamgir Kabir has done the role of the artist well. His life is surrounded by labourers and the poor, who share a bonding in their struggle to make their ends meet. His character reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s Tamil movies that were about poverty and a talented hero struggling to make his living.…

  • Book “Sojourners to Settlers” introduction at Roja Muthiah Library, Chennai
    Events,  Lounge

    2000 years of Tamil connections with Singapore and Southeast Asia

    Today evening, a fascinating book introduction event took place at Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL), Taramani, Chennai. Titled “Sojourners to Settlers“, the two-volume book documents the lesser-known history and stories of the Tamil community in Southeast Asia and Singapore, which researchers now believe dates back over 2000 years. Slide-Deck: You can see the slides of the talk, thanks to Mr Arun Mahizhnan who readily shared me a copy.  ‘சஞ்சரிப்பவர்கள் முதல் குடியேறிவர்கள் வரை – தென்கிழக்கு ஆசியா மற்றும் சிங்கப்பூரில் தமிழர்கள்’ Edited by my well-wisher and friend Mr Arun Mahizhnan, Deputy Director of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Ms Nalini Gopal of Indian Heritage Centre (இந்திய மரபுடைமை நிலையம்) the book has several…