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Okkadu Migiladu movie review: This Sri Lankan refugee drama is laboriously long

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Okkadu Migiladu, which loosely translates to ‘the lone survivor,’ is a war cry where the protagonist Surya, played by Manchu Manoj, urges the audiences to think about what freedom means and why is it that we are erecting barriers in the name of religion, region and country among many other things.

In the film, Surya is a Sri Lankan refugee, whose family flees their nation in the midst of the civil war. However, it does not take him too long to realise that no matter where he lives, he might not be part of any nation, and that he will always be treated as an outcast. For a film which has such a well-intended message, it is hidden in a maze.

In one particular scene, Manchu Manoj asks “Manaku Desham anedhe ledha? Memu Manishulam Kaadha? (Don’t we have a nation of our own? Aren’t we human beings?).” What could have been an extremely poignant sequence turns into a melodramatic sermon which makes you wonder why everyone in the film is hell bent on waging a war on the audience. And it all boils down to what Ajay Andrews, who directed the film and also played a key role named Victor.

Throughout the film, he addresses multiple issues and the film deals with three different themes. This makes the audience unsure of what to focus on. Are we supposed to empathise with Surya’s fight for justice in his university? Are we supposed to feel the pain of refugees living in a foreign land? Are we supposed to be angry with the Sri Lankan army for all their atrocities on Tamilians during the civil war? Whose side are we supposed to take? Are we supposed to root for the survival of refugees who are running out of time in the middle of the sea?

Still from Okkadu Migiladu

Still from Okkadu Migiladu

None of this is complicated, and for almost three decades, we have read about (or come across) such incidents. The problem with the film is that it takes a simple but profound question — Where do we belong? — and extrapolates to so many other issues that watching the film feels like you are playing Pinball. It is all over the place. Perhaps, the only question which feels relevant here is — “Why did Victor cross the sea?.” Because he wanted to survive. End of the story. But subtlety is shot dead right in the opening frame of the film and everyone hams it up so much that the war cry of the film turns into a sound of a million crickets stridulating in the middle of the night. It’s beyond painful.

Okkadu Migiladu, however, does prove three things about Manchu Manoj — 1) He can cry 2) He can emote while crying 3) He can even emote what it might feel like if he is stabbed with a knife. That is all you need to know. Everything else is just bonus and he just keeps shooting one monologue after another. It is not Surya whom you see in this movie. It is Manchu Manoj. And the kind of emotion he brings to his character is, for the lack of a better word, exhausting. I can only imagine what he must have felt like while performing the scene. Phew!

Then, there is Ajay Andrews himself who plays the most important character in the story — Victor. He is the bridge between the past and the present, and he does a fine job to portray all the intensity that is intrinsic to his role. While the actor in him has a looming presence throughout the film; as a director, he pays a huge price in the end. The finesse in his thoughts to wake us all up from our slumber to realise that we are better together, does not translate to either his writing or direction. Everything about the film looks amateurish, especially in terms of its production design, editing, cinematography.

And let us not even talk about its ‘novelty’ factor. If a filmmaker chooses not to have ‘songs’ or ‘comedy’ in the film and retain a serious tone, it has to result in something exciting in terms of the narrative. On the contrary, at a runtime of close to 140 minutes, Okkadu Migiladu feels laboriously long — as long as rowing a boat for 14 days out in the sea. By the end, I felt like a Lone Survivor myself. This is a painful film, both for the characters in the story and also those who watch it. Two big thumbs down.


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Namitha weds Veerandra Chowdhary in Tirupati; R Sarathkumar, Bigg Boss Tamil contestants attend

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Celebrity couple Namitha and Veerandra Chowdhary are finally hitched. In a private wedding ceremony, the actors got married early morning on Friday at the Tirupati ISKON temple, reports International Business Times.

Veerandra Chowdhary and Namitha. Facebook page of Wedding Street India

Veerandra Chowdhary and Namitha. Facebook page of Wedding Street India

As Namitha’s love affair with long time boyfriend Veerandra has been in the news for quite a time, the news of marriage was not a shocker. Both the celebrities’ fans started sharing congratulatory wishes, and pictures as soon as they hit social media. The pictures of Namitha’s mehendi, sangeet and other pre-wedding rituals went viral.

In the mehendi and sangeet pictures, Namitha is seen wearing jewellery made of flowers and a baby pink silk suit that add to her wedding glow. The couple clicked lovey-dovey selfies together that have taken the internet by storm. Veerandra looked uber happy in all the pictures donning a groom to be look in a blue kurta.

As per the same report, they tied the knot by following all the Hindu marriage rituals. There were priests present at the temple who chanted the Vedic mantras. The wedding was completed around 5.30 am after Veerandra and Namitha exchanged the final vows.

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Veerandra Chowdhary and Namitha. Facebook page of Wedding Street India

For the D day, initially, Namitha was seen in an electric blue sari coupled with gold jewellery. She looked absolutely flawless. Veerandra wore a sherwani with a contrast of blue and brown.

Finally, the couple stole the show in their wedding avatars as they entered the temple for the final rituals. Namitha, in a peach sari, and Veerandra, in a gorgeous sherwani, looked like the most sought after couple of this wedding season.

The wedding was attended by both the bride and groom’s friends, colleagues and relatives. R Sarathkumar, with wife Radhika, Harathi Ganesh and Shakthi were the mains among the invitees. Bigg Boss Tamil contestants also showed up for the special occasion. The couple will also host their colleagues from Kollywood at a reception party in Chennai soon.

(Also read — Zaheer Khan, Sagarika Ghatge wedding: Couple ties the knot, reception to be held on 27 November)


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Film Bazaar 2017 in Goa: A microcosm of the movie business, and haven for cinema lovers

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The Film Bazaar (held in Goa from 20 to 24 November) is a bit like the microcosm of the film world.

A National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) enterprise, The Bazaar, as it is mostly called, is a marketplace (or sorts) where films in various stages of development seek their perfect home among directors, producers, distributors, sales agents or festival programmers.

The Film Bazaar, over the last decade, has established a reputation for being a place where new voices are formed, films are realised and connections are renewed. But does that mean the most radical voices in cinema are continuously being honed in India?

Image courtesy Facebook: @NFDCIndia

Cameron Bailey, Festival Director of Toronto Film Festival, is probably someone who knows and has seen the wide range of India cinema more that most Indians. Bailey wonders if the winds of commerce that blow hard and strong in a country like India is slowly taming the most radical voices and independent styles. Rima Das’s Village Rockstars programmed at the Toronto Film festival this year was the result of the Viewing Room section from the Film Bazaar a couple of years back. That’s where the triumph of the Bazaar is; where every year there are people who leave behind the apprehensions that surround the lonely uphill struggle of a filmmaker and merge in the competition and the community created by the Film Bazaar.

Akshay Indikar is one of the five directors whose projects are a part of the Work in Progress lab this year. His first time at the Bazaar, Aranya (Forest) is a part of the Work in Progress Lab, a segment which selects 5 films at the rough-cut stage. Over the four days of the Bazaar, five directors and their films undergo extensive mentoring and honing. The lonely passion of a filmmaker, working against odds throughout the year, dissolves into a pursuit of hope and realisation.

Just like cinema brings to us stories and people we would have otherwise never met in modern societies, the Bazaar too gets together people bound by endless passion of making cinema and their unique journey, much like Indikar’s. “I come from a folk tradition, my family carries the Gondhli tradition in Maharashtra and it is only the last two generations who have houses. Traditionally we have been nomadic community,” he informs.

His film is about migration and everything that is lost in the process. I ask him what drove him to make films, and his answer comes without a thought — it was a moment etched in his memory. As a young high school student living in Pune, separated from his village and lonely in the city, Akshay decided to go to National Film Archives to watch a film. The film they were showing that day happened to be Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali and for the young student a universe of possibilities opened, a world of city and the village and the divide that lay between. And just like that a filmmaker was born.

It is a story which most of us may not know about, but within the energy of the Bazaar, it is a story that stays with you and gives you a sense of the power of cinema and the journey of a storyteller.

But the Bazaar is not just about filmmakers. It is also about spaces, and far-flung towns. Farooq Khan, Administrator of Union Territory of Lakshadweep, is in Film Bazaar for a different reason. To remind the film fraternity that the most beautiful land of ocean, light and corals lie across the islands of Lakshadweep. And he is here with the Film Federation Office with the simple objective, to encourage filmmakers to not just use Lakshadweep as a location for shoots but to look the unique life and culture of the place as a setting for a story.

A short conversation with Farooq Khan made me look at the way the Bazaar draws people from diverse places. And they all believe one thing: Cinema is larger than life, or perhaps life itself.


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Shah Rukh Khan reportedly asks for Priyanka Chopra to be replaced by Deepika Padukone in Don 3

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Since the producer of the Don franchise, Ritesh Sidhwani teased that the Don 3 might be under development; speculations on the highly anticipated third installment are rife.

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone. Images from Facebook

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone. Images from Facebook

The latest is that Shah Rukh Khan as asked Farhan Akhtar to rope in Deepika Padukone for Don 3, and replace Priyanka Chopra who had essayed the role of Roma in both Don and Don 2: The King Is Back, as reported by Deccan Chronicle.

The reason for this major change is being attributed to the cold vibes between Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra who were rumoured to have been involved. In fact, social media had gone berserk when Priyanka Chopra had appeared on a US chat show wearing a leather jacket that belonged to her ex, and which was being concluded to be Shah Rukh’s jacket from old pictures, as reported by India Today.

However, it is also being said that Shah Rukh simply wants Deepika as his co-star because he considers them a hit pair with blockbusters like Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express, and Happy New Year under their belts. He wants to recreate the chemistry between the two for the box office success of Don 3, as reported by India Today.

Priyanka Chopra is busy abroad with her American projects and is currently shooting for the third season of her hit TV show Quantico. Deepika on the other hand is embroiled in a massive public storm against the release of her film Padmavati.

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