Posts Tagged ‘Ramayana’

The much awaited film was out and I was more than eager to watch it. Not just because it was directed by Mani Ratnam, but also because it was shot simultaneously in two languages. Moreover, the beauty of Athirapally falls lingered in my mind and I could feel the sound of the waterfalls ringing in my ears whenever I heard the name. And here it is Raavan in Hindi and Raavanan in Tamil. Need not say that I liked the Tamil version. For the first time I watched both the versions on the same day. I would have not done that if it was any other movie, but I wanted to know which is the best and I feel the Tamil version is!

Veera aka Veeraiah, played by Vikram (Raavanan), rules every frame. He’s the backbone of the film. He is intensely loyal to his people and everybody loves him. He has a reason for every action.

Dev Prakash, played by Prithviraj (Rama), is dashing and handsome archetypal hero who is destined to destroy the evil. He’s an encounter specialist with 28 successes to his credit. He loves his wife and his motive is to reach Veera to avenge his wife’s capture. Ragini, played by Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan (Sita), a lovely glamourous doll. She loves her husband and exhibits her loyalty to him throughout the film. Gnana Prakasam, played by Karthik (Hanuman) is one of the few likeable characters. He drinks, jumps around, chatters incessantly, and though obviously belongs to Dev’s side, is absolutely fearless when it comes to meeting Veera on his own home-ground. Singarasu, played by Prabhu (Kumbakarnan) is Veera’s brother, who stands by him through thick and thin. Though he has little screen-space, he portrays the gruff toughie with a heart of gold. His job is to stay by Veera’s side, come what may. Priya Mani, in the role of Surpanaka, lives up to her reputation as she plays Vennila, the betrayed sister and the reason for Veera’s horrible rampage against the police. Mani Ratnam has given a twist to her role by portraying her almost like a heroine, and completely lust-free. Munna plays Sakkarai (Vibeeshanan), a brief role of a peace-maker.

What captures the mind is scintillating cinematography by Santhosh Sivan and V. Manikandan.

Vikram, carries the film on his shoulders, and touches us in the last 10 minutes. The vulnerability in his eyes shows us what he’s capable of, given the chance.

But after both the movies, I felt, we can take a Tamil director out of Tamil Nadu, but Tamil Nadu out of him. Mani Ratnam’s films are about the native culture and it is very difficult to translate them to other languages, especially to touch the hearts of North Indians!

Though many feel Raavan is a villain, there have been works which have portrayed him as the real hero. They have also shown the darker side of Rama, who killed Vaali and asked virtuous Sita to undergo an agni-pariksha! No one forgets that Raavan never seduced Sita. He became bad in the eyes of the world for losing his heart to a married woman. But think for a while, how many have not done that?!

Who had imagined that Sita could have like Raavan? Mani Ratnam visualised it.

Just feel like saying hats off to Aishwarya. This film is one of the most physically challenging roles she ever done in her career, and every time she stumbles through the river, jungle, or jumps off the waterfall, one has to know that she had to shoot the scene twice, once in Tamil and once in Hindi. Just incredible!

Raavanan soars, thanks to Vikram. Abhishek’s Beera, on the other hand, makes the right expressions and sounds, but doesn’t go beyond them. His act doesn’t seem that natural when we see Vikram doing the same role. Vikram’s performance is way way ahead of Abhishek. There is absolutely no room even for comparison. I think Ajay Devgan could have done justice to the role in Hindi.

Maybe I’m not the only one to feel that music appealed to me better in Tamil than in Hindi. “Kattu Sirukki” is hummable in Tamil than “Ranjha Ranjha”,  so is “Keda Keda Kari Aduppula” over “Kata Kata”,  and “Kodu Potta” over “Thok de Killi”.

In the evening, I, Taraka and her daughter Gayatri left to see a dance programme at her sister’s daughter’s school. Though we couldn’t stay for long, we made sure that we were present for a few minutes to encourage the little kid and left for Birla Mandir.

After parking the car at a nearby place, we headed towards Birla Mandir. By this time I had come to know how chaotic the traffic in Hyderabad is. People had scant respect for the traffic rules and I was feeling like driving in some maddening crowd.

The steps leading to the temple and small shops along the steps were bustling with tourists. Shops were making brisk business and tourists were busy buying articles.

As it was weekend, the crowd was huge. We had to keep our phones and camera in the cloak room. We went to the temple and Taraka was excited to show the place where she and jeeju had solemnized their wedding 🙂

Birla Mandir on the Naubath Pahad is a magnificent Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built of 2,000 tonnes of pure Rajasthani white marble. The Birla Foundation has constructed several similar temples in India.

The Birla Mandir was built by Raja Baldev Birla. In 1938, the temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. Everyone was not given the permission to enter the premises of temples. Gandhi placed the condition that he would inaugurate the temple only if people belonging to all strata of the society were permitted to offer their prayers in the temple.

The architecture of the temple is a blend of South Indian, Rajasthani and Utkala temple architectures.

The tower over the main shrine reaches a height of 165 ft, whereas the towers over the shrines of Venkateshwara’s consorts, Padmavati and Andal reach a height of 116 ft. The presiding deity is about 11 ft tall and a carved lotus forms the umbrella on the roof. The consorts of Lord Venkateswara, Padmavati and Andal are housed in separate shrines. There is a brass flagstaff in the temple premises which rises to a height of 42 ft.

The temple is built on a 280 feet high hillock called the Naubath Pahad in 13 acres. The construction took 10 years and was consecrated in 1976 by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission. The temple does not have traditional bells, as Swamiji wished that the temple atmosphere should be conducive for meditation.

Though the chief deity is Lord Venkateshwara, the temple has pan-Hindu character with deities of Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, Hanuman, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Saibaba. Selected teachings of holy men and Gurbani are engraved on temple walls.

There is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Buddha. Beautiful Fresco paintings, throwing light on the life and works of Buddha, adorn the walls of this temple. At the rear end of the temple, there is an artificial landscape with mountains and waterfalls.

The intricate carvings of the temple, the ceiling and the mythological figures are standing testimony to the dexterity and sculptural excellence of the craftsmen. Beautiful scenes from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are finely sculpted in marble. A number of lofty steps lead the visitor to the sanctum sanctorum. Along the winding path are many marble statues of gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology located in the midst of gardens.

The view from the highest level of the temple offers the viewer a spectacular view of the Hussain Sagar Lake, Andhra Pradesh Secretariat, Assembly and Birla Planetarium, the Public Gardens and Lumbini Park.

The temple is open between 7 am and 12 noon and between 3 pm and 9 pm.

We sat for a while there and discussed several issues before we left the place. By the time we reached the house, I had gone half mad, thanks to the traffic. Driving in Bangalore is not difficult, but elsewhere it is, for we are more disciplined and follow traffic rules at any cost. But in Hyderabad, it is the vice versa. People look at us strangely if we talk about traffic rules and discipline!

Childless woman

Posted: February 11, 2009 in social issues
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Being tagged as a barren, childless or issueless woman is the most terrific experience one experiences in life. Being childless is like a curse and people around make her life miserable. Not just close relatives and neighbours, even friends and far acquaintances torture her by asking about ‘the special news’. Such queries make push her to depression and force her to try anything and everything to get a child and save her face in society and family. Humiliations increase in get-togethers and functions where relatives and friends come together and find an opportunity to find fault in the woman for not being a mother.

Not all people approach doctors when they find the problem, instead they take refuge in pujas and blame their fate and seek god’s blessings. Men often do not come forward to seek medical advice, but blame women for not begetting a child.
In one such rare incidents, a married woman chopped off a portion of her tongue in front of Lord Shiva’s statue at Siddheshwar Nath temple at Lohargarh in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday to seek the God’s blessings to have a child. (Unfortunately, the place has the name of mythological character Sita, who had jumped into fire to prove her virginity in Ramayana).
Janki, 28, reached the temple with her husband and sought permission of the priest to do decoration of the Lord Shiva statue. (See the resemblance — the woman’s name is Janki, another name of Sita in Ramayana. Don’t know if her husband’s name is Ram or Rama). As soon as Janki was allowed inside, she chopped off a portion of her tongue with a knife and offered it to Lord Shiva. After sacrificing her tongue, Janki performed puja in the temple for nearly six hours. It was only after the police and mediapersons reached the spot the drama came to an end and she was taken to a hospital.
Hope Lord Shiva blesses Janki with a child for her devotion and sacrifice. Time is changing, but not the mindset. Testing women’s patience and endurance in one form or the other is continuing from time immemorial.