Skip to main content

Priyamanasam (Sanskrit)

Priyamanasam is a movie about renowned Malayalam poet Unnaayi Warrier, about whom very little is known. The film is a fictional presentation of his life, based on available information. It is interesting in many ways. Unnayi Warrier is famous for his Nalacharitham aattakatha - the story of Nala, from Mahabharatha, written for Kathakali. In the film, a parallel is drawn between Nala and Undayi Warrier. The story of Nala, is a sincere love story between Nala and his love, Damayathi. Even though they were both sincere, they get separated as Nala gets cursed. The curse disfigures Nala and he becomes unrecognisable. The rest of the story describes the ordeals they go through, to finally get united. Unnayi Warrier, who loses his love due to the curse of poverty, is similar to Nala. In the movie, the final union of Nala and Damayanthi is described as a manifestation of Unnayi Warrier's dream of getting united with his love. Through his work, he was living the life he could not live. This parallel is drawn very beautifully. The movie is also very poetic. As an example, I will quote a metaphor I liked a lot. "Let these tears keep the memory of our love afresh, as water sprinkled on flowers". Another interesting aspect of the movie is the way the character of Unnayi Warrier is revealed to us. It is revealed through his conversations with the characters in his work. Some other conversations in the movie are also very thought provoking. The conversation between Unnayi Warrier and Kunjan Nambiar (one of the most famous poets in Malayalam and a contemporary of Unnayi Warrier), where Unnayi Warrier describes his confusion in choosing the language for his work, is my favourite. Kunjan Nambiar compares language with a river, ever-flowing and ever-changing. He says that we cannot enter the same river twice. He says that water from various sources come and join the rivers and certain rivers join together to form bigger rivers. Don't worry about the language, it is just a medium for the poetry. This is extremely relevant in a world where we try to draw strict lines between languages. This said, what intrigued me the most while watching the movie is the choice of language used. Why Sanskrit? This question is even more striking because, the poetry by Unnayi Warrier is in Malayalam. There is a belief that literary language is superior to the spoken language. This thought gave me a strange joy - as this would mean Malayalam is superior to Sanskrit. I thought, perhaps the Director is trying to convey the fallacy in this idea of inferiority of the spoken language. However, I was fortunate enough to be able to ask this question directly to the director. I met him at the Chennai International Film festival. And when I asked him this question, he gave a different answer. He said that, he feels the lyrical potential of Sanskrit is unused and should be used. That was his motivation. About language, there is another remark. Even though the movie is in Sanskrit, God is addressed as "thevare". From whatever I know, it is rooted in Dravidian languages. The Sanskrit deva: becomes devan in Tamil or Malayalam. We can pluralise or add respect by making it devar. I think that is the origin of the word thevar. When we address, this becomes thevare. I found this a bit strange.


Image from priyamanasam.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Naruto; the saddest death

For me, the saddest death in Naruto, is undoubtedly, Yashamaru's death. Let me say a few words about why I think so. For me death by itself is not sad. I would in fact say that death is a blessing for the one who is dying. It is sad for those who are left behind. From that perspective I think Yashamaru's death is the saddest. Yashamaru was the only comforting figure in the life of Gaara. The moment it is revealed that the assassin who tried to kill him was that same Yashamaru was heart breaking. The way Gaara cries "Yashamaru.." still resonates in my mind. Loneliness is one of the central themes of the anime. And, that scene captures it so magnificently. One of the most touching moments in the anime. There are several other deaths for which I shed a lot of tears. Like the deaths of Haku or Zabuza or Jiraiya or Obito. But they truly shine through their deaths. As Jiraiya himself says "The true measure of a shinobi is not how he lives but how h

Deepavali - an interesting twist to a Greek Myth

Greek mythology contains tales of dangerous semi-human enchantresses called Sirens.  They seduce travelling sailors to their island using music and song to shipwreck on the rocky coasts.  Odysseus wanted to listen to the song of Sirens.  Heeding to the advice of Circe, he asks his crew to fill their ears with beeswax(so that they will not hear the song) and tie him to the mast of the ship.  He instructed the sailors that they are to leave him tied even if he orders to do otherwise.  Thus he could hear the song of the siren while escaping the treacherous end at the hands of Sirens.  This idea is called pre-commitment and is a favourite of many self-help gurus. The Tamil movie Deepavali gives an interesting twist to this story -  the hero is not Odysseus but a crew member.  Let me elaborate.  The heroine in this movie suffers from post-traumatic memory loss.  Troubled by the stressful experience of not recognising people she is supposed to recognise, she decides to go away from home. 

Kumbalangi nights

I was not impressed by Kumbalangi nights.  I don't mean to say it is a bad film.  It is certainly worth watching.  The cinematography is extraordinary.  Also, it has its moments - nice little dialogues.  But with all that, it is just an average film, or so I feel.  As I had explained in a post before , people expect explanations when you express dislike.  Actually, I wouldn't say I dislike, but I did not like it as much as others - the people I talked to.  And, in this case, I think I understand some of the reasons.  And I will be sharing those reasons with you. What do you feel when you hear someone saying "These impoverished people are so lucky.  Wish I had a skinny body like them"?  Movies like Kumbalangi nights elicit the same emotion in me.  The major problem poor people face is lack of money.  If you make a movie on the poor and completely take money out of the equation, that makes no sense.  Kumbalangi nights does precisely that.  Not even once had they show