40 yrs in cinema, Nedumudi Venu to be honoured

Thiruvananthapuram:

The city will honour actor Nedumudi Venu, who is completing four decades in the film industry. An event, titled ‘Nadanam Venulayam’ will be organized by the Thiruvananthapuram film fraternity in association with Vayalar Samskarika Vedi on November 26. The event will be held at Nishgandhi Auditorium at 6pm on Sunday.

Minister for tourism Kadakampally Surendran will inaugurate the event. Actor Madhu will deliver the keynote address and Mayor V K Prasanth will preside over.

Nedumudi Venu, who debuted in the film industry with Aravindan’s ‘Thambu’ (1978), is completing 40 years in the industry this year. A National Award recipient, Nedumudi Venu began his career in theatre as a member of drama group of Kavalam Narayana Panicker. He has written film scripts and worked behind the camera as a director. He proved his mettle in character roles both in commercial films and in art films.

“We are focusing on his journey from Nedumudi, a village in Alappuzha to the silver screen and his present status as a renowned actor. He even named his house as Thambu, based on the title of his first film. It was his experience in theatre under the guidance of Kavalam Narayana Panicker that moulded him as an actor. He has already worked in more than 400 films. He has also proved his skills as a musician, mridangam player and journalist. Noted musicians in the film industry will also attend the function,” said film producer Suresh Kumar.

As a tribute to the actor, a music concert ‘Nedumudi Geethakam’, led by Bijibal and dance festival titled ‘Nedumudi Bhavukam’, by film actors will be conducted after the inaugural function. The function will be attended by well-known names from film industry and politics.

Nedumudi Venu has been a resident of the city for long. He resides at Kunnumpuram, near Vattiyoorkavu. Driven by the passion of becoming an actor, Venu associated with Kavalam Narayana Paniker. His roaring success on stage and his long association with film director Aravindan led to his entry to the world of cinema.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Thiruvananthapuram News / November 20th, 2017

Interpreting fragments of history

Saju Kunhan uses the art of cartography to map human migratory patterns

‘Who does a city really belong to?’ This and other questions on geography and human movement through history till date form the crux of Saju Kunhan’s first solo show, Stained Geographies, ongoing at Tarq. The 33-year-old graduate from the J.J. School of Art contemplates the changing trends – not only in human migration and immigration – but also in the understanding and documentation of these movements, and how advances in cartography shapes modern life and journeys.

Kunhan populates Stained Geographies with mixed-media work on paper, as well as varying sizes of wood. Each of these speaks to Kunhan’s own history as a migrant to Mumbai – he grew up and was educated in Palakkad in central Kerala, before moving to the city to look for work. Kunhan fell into the esteemed company of senior Keralite artists – T.V. Santhosh, Bose and Riyas Komu. The latter took him under his wing to work as an artist assistant in the late 2000s, when he worked with large scale wood sculptures harking back to a common Keralite heritage. Komu, Bose and the rest egged Kunhan on to complete his Masters in Fine Art (Painting) from the J.J. School of Arts.

Past present

While working for a project for the first Kochi Muziris Biennale (of which Komu is co-founder), Kunhan began to think about archiving. The project – which involved creating an archive of a Malayalam magazine – set Kunhan in the direction of his post-graduate diploma in Museology and Conservation at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), and had him considering what fragments of history left to us have to say, and how one could interpret them and the narratives they stand for as an artist.

Keeping this personal history in mind, Stained Geographies presents itself as a meditation on migration with a deep immediate connect. The small paper works themselves – a series titled ‘Make in-While Burning’ – are an outsider’s perspective into a migrant-enticing city. In a nightscape splattered with distant silhouettes of a skyline (sometimes, placing within it a few familiars – the Ambani residence Antilla, or the upcoming Trump Towers) and even distant stars, smoke rises out of G-mapped patches of street. A fairly analogous series, it hits its mark without much fuss. The other three series in the exhibition speak of migration using wood. It’s a surface Kunhan is familiar with, especially post the time spent at Komu’s studio, surrounded by wood in varied sculptural format. Kunhan though, chooses to use wood as a canvas. Replete with damage and existing marks and a history of multiple usage, these pieces of wood come to rest, for the moment in Kunhan’s works – in a series of smaller works called ‘Indelible Marks’ and another of large individual pieces (almost wide as large dinner tables) looking at migratory patterns over recent and ancient history.

Documenting strife

For most of these pieces, Kunhan works off of thousands of screenshots of Google Earth. Instead of sticking to old-school maps, he chooses to work off the technology that seems to be guiding almost all of us to our correct destinations lately. The use of this modern-day cartography makes the unfamiliar spaces in ‘Indelible Marks’ seem all at once relatable, navigable. Images of people going about their everyday life, children playing, are scattered in blank spaces on these maps. Then, creeps up the fact that each piece in the series points to a city ravaged by repeated communal violence – Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Baroda, Dwarka. Ayodhya is more obvious, as it seems Kunhan has rend it in two, seemingly forcing the work to mirror the state of mind that is ‘Ayodhya’. ‘Indelible Marks’ draws our attention to the ‘other’, often considered an outsider to a historically accepted majority, that communal violence is often centred around.

Larger individual pieces track a larger history of migration. Over a 100 inches wide, each of the larger “map” pieces has Kunhan reaching into archives of the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum as well as the CSMVS in Mumbai, the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad and the Goa State Museum to find the people that populate his worlds. ‘United We Stand, Divided We Rule’ is about South Asia. It shows its people in the sea, and it reminds us of the once-upon-a-time South Asian maritime trade stronghold, that gave rise to a diverse culture that borrowed from all cultures who docked at their shores. It reminds us that once upon a time, technology only allowed men to sail ships as long as the winds were favourable, and often, many waited months at foreign ports before going home, and in the months they waited, they created a harmonious and fruitful exchange of cultures. The map of Mumbai (‘Whose Land Is It Anyway?’), on the other hand, has a hoard incoming from the rest of India, building on its reputation as the go-to migrant destination, and of course, its importance in Kunhan’s own life, as the city that embraced him and helped him make it this far. With ‘Winners are not Judged he takes on New Delhi, which controls the rest of the country, while with ‘History Repeats Itself’, he makes an oblique point, where migrants show increasing signs of aggression as they go from a pre-historic place to contemporary man via great civilisations like Egypt, Mesopotamia, Rome down through the Crusades to medieval conquerors to the two World Wars.

Kunhan’s view on history cannot be considered fresh, nor can it be dismissed. Cartography demands engagement – even if it is to go closer and see the lines of A4 transfer sheets that Kunhan uses to move the screenshot maps onto the wood, or if it is to understand the origin of a migrant he places in the Arabian Sea just off the coast of Kerala. The title of the show, Stained Geographiesspeaks not just to the patches of violence and migration but also to Kunhan’s process of treating the wood with multiple stains of polish, cleverly mingling the transfers with the various reds of wood polish. He uses these stains to make Mumbai foggy, and the world seem like living breathing picture that is slowly turning redder. In some ways even reaching out to climate anxieties (heralded as the cause of the next great migration) in how closely it resembles heat-map colours of Earth in its present conditions. More importantly, the show speaks to more urgent conversations of borders, refugees and an unstoppable force of culture that we all need to reckon with.

Saju Kunhan will conduct a walk-through of Stained Geographies and discussion with architect Anuj Daga at Tarq, Colaba at 5 p.m, free entry but a RSVP is necessary. On till November 25.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment> Art / by Phalguni Desai / November 20th, 2017

Cochin Chamber to celebrate its 160 years

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to inaugurate celebrations on Nov 22

‘A friend, philosopher and guide’ to businesses, the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry is celebrating 160 years of its birth.

The celebrations will bring into sharp focus the permanence of change and the transience of trends, technology, and business models.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the celebrations in the city on November 22 in the presence of Governor P. Sathasivam and a host of other dignitaries.

Moments of pride

The Cochin Chamber has had its own moments of pride.

It was one of the promoter chambers of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), New Delhi, the oldest national chamber of its kind in the country.

Chamber president Shaji Varghese said its activities had undergone drastic transformation over the years.

He recalled that the chamber was in the forefront of several public causes, including an international airport for Kochi. It had also chipped in by offering inputs when the Kochi port was being set up.

The chamber plans to celebrate the 160 years of its existence appropriately with programmes highlighting its contributions to various development initiatives in the city.

Training programmes

The chamber now plans to offer training to truck drivers, said its office-bearers.

Home nursing is another area where training will be imparted.

The celebrations will hinge on the chamber’s motto of ‘equitable, sustainable and green development’.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / by Special  Correspondent / Kochi – November 18th, 2017

State to make Natana Gramam world-class

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan presenting the Guru Gopinath award to dancer S. Pankajavalli in the city on Sunday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised State government’s help to make Guru Gopinath Natana Gramam into a world-class facility.

Mr. Vijayan was speaking after presenting the Guru Gopinath award to dancer S. Pankajavalli.

Kerala’s pride

Guru Gopinath’s picture is still displayed in museums of many foreign countries.

This was an honour for the master and Kerala as a whole, Mr. Vijayan said.

Guru Gopinath did not try to modify the classical art of Kathakali, but instead developed a popular dance form ‘Kerala Natanam’ from the age-old dance form, the Chief Minister added.

The award function held at Guru Gopinath Natana Gramam in Vattiyurkavu was presided over by K. Muraleedharan, MLA.

Natana Gramam Vice-President K.C. Vikraman, Secretary, Department of Culture, Rani George, among others, spoke during the ceremony.

Prof. Lekha Thankachi and Prof. Nanthancode Vinaya Chandran was felicitated at the function, an official release here said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / by Staff Reporter / Thiruvananthapuram – November 20th, 2017

World record? 191 tumours removed from Omani woman’s uterus at Kerala hospital

A doctor at the hospital said they performed the operation in four hours without removing the patient’s ovaries or uterus. The previous record was held by an Egyptian woman, who had 186 tumours removed from her body last December.

Mediapersons interview the medical team that conducted the surgical procedure. (HT Photo)

As many as 191 benign tumours were removed from the uterus of an Omani woman at a private hospital in Kozhikode, north Kerala, on Saturday.

Doctors at the city’s Starcare Hospital claimed this was a new world record. They said the previous one was held by an Egyptian woman, who had 186 tumours removed from her body last December.

Dr Abdul Rashid, the hospital’s chief gynaecologist, told Hindustan Times they performed the operation in four hours without removing the patient’s ovaries or uterus. “We blended keyhole and traditional mechanisms to do it. We were expecting 80-odd tumours, not so many,” he said, adding that the woman was now recuperating from the procedure.

The existing record in the country is 84 tumours.

Dr Rashid said the hospital will soon update Guinness World Records authorities on the development. “We did not operate on the 34-year-old woman to break any record. We had initially considered laparoscopic surgery, but decided against it when we realised that the tumour was really big,” he added.

A team of three doctors had performed the surgery.

The chief gynaecologist said a leading medical body has already confirmed that this was a unique case. “The woman seemed to be in an advanced stage of pregnancy when she first came here, but we were keen on protecting her ovaries and uterus. She can now lead a normal life, and even conceive after a couple of years,” he added.

According to Dr Rashid, there has been a significant rise in middle-eastern patients visiting super-specialty hospitals in the state lately. “Our facilities are economical when compared to hospitals in the West, while keeping with similar standards. Kerala has always been a leading tourist destination, but it may soon become a medical hub too,” he said.

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan  Times / Home> India / by Ramesh Babu – Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram / November 19th, 2017

T.E.M. Vaidyasala in Thiruvananthapuram is a memorial to the Temple Entry Proclamation

P. R. Pathanjali at T.E.M. Vaidyasala in Thiruvananthapuram | Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

T.E.M. Vaidyasala celebrates a landmark declaration in November

T.E.M. Vaidyasala has long been a well-known Ayurveda dispensary on bustling Vazhuthacaud road in Thiruvananthapuram. Labelled glass bottles filled with dark coloured medicines line the shelves and polished cupboards inside the dispensary. Sometimes, in the evenings and late afternoons, one can spot a few senior citizens having animated discussions here.

The assumption had been that T.E.M. must have been the name of some well-known Ayurveda physician. However, T.E.M. stands for a path-breaking royal proclamation that brought accolades to erstwhile Travancore.

Historic proclamation

Eighty one years ago, on November 12, 1936, Maharaja Chithira Thirunal, the then ruler of Travancore, signed the historic Temple Entry Proclamation. It threw open all the temples under his administration to all Hindus, irrespective of caste.

There was great rejoicing and his action won him applause from all over the country. A “tidal wave of joy and rejoicing passed through every nook and corner” of Travancore.

So carried away was C.R. Ayyappan Vaidyan of Neyyattinkara by the decision, that he decided to dedicate his Ayurveda dispensary in Vazhuthacaud to the momentous declaration and named it as: Temple Entry Memorial Vaidyasala.

“The Vaidyasala is certainly older than 80 years. My guess is that it must be close to a century. It was established by my father’s guru Ayyappan Vaidyan. He was a Sanskrit scholar and Ayurveda physician. Family lore has it that he got the opportunity to learn Sanskrit while making medicinal oils for a Nambudiri family. Impressed by the young boy’s intelligence, he was permitted to stand near the kottiambalam while the Nambudiri boys were being taught Sanskrit. In this way, he learnt Sanskrit and also became a brilliant Ayurveda physician. He went on to open a paathashaala for Sanskrit and Ayurveda in Neyyattinkara,” narrates P.R. Pathanjali, the present owner of the Vaidyasala.

The Vaidyan married from Thycaud, came to Thiruvananthapuram and established his Vaidyashala. A Gandhian, he was also active in the Sree Narayana movement and was ecstatic when the temples in Travancore were thrown open to all devotees. “He was a staunch Congressman and named his son Swaraj Veerasenan. By then caste barriers were coming down rapidly in Travancore and Swaraj went on to study at Ayurveda College. Unfortunately, he had no children and that is how the Vaidyasala was bequeathed to my father, P. Ramakrishnan Vaidyan. He was also a student of Ayurveda College and had passed the Vaidya Kalanidhi examination,” recounts Pathanjali.

The proud owner of a glowing legacy, Pathanjali inherited the dispensary from his father and was also trained by him. However, he admits that since his son is a radiologist, he wonders if it would be possible to run the place for another century. Till then TEM Vaidyasala shall remain as a glowing testimony to a landmark announcement in the history of India.

A ringside view of people and places in the city

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> Life in a Metro / by Saraswathy Nagarajan / Thiruvananthapuram – November 15th, 2017

City’s landmarks in sketches

Exhibition of sketches and paintings by T.C.Rajan ‘Reminisence of My City’ in Ganesam, Thycadu in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. | Photo Credit: S.GOPAKUMAR

ISRO official T. C. Rajan has put up 30 sketches of iconic buildings of the city

Sketches of some of the most iconic structures in the city attest to the State capital’s rich tradition and culture.

Artist T.C. Rajan has captured the beauty of many a landmark building in his sketches in Indian ink that are on display at an exhibition at Ganesam, Thycaud.

Padmanabhaswamy temple, Kuthiramalika, VJT hall, Napier Museum, Central station, Cliff House, LMS church, Kowdiar Palace…all of these come alive in Mr. Rajan’s works.

A senior project assistant (Accounts) at the Indian Space Research Organisation, Mr. Rajan has put up 30 sketches and 18 paintings at the exhibition, his 50th.

It took him almost an year to get the works ready. “I wanted to capture the beauty of different parts of the city. There are many changes happening, and I wanted the future generation to know how the city was.” he says.

Wherever he was denied access, he sketched using photographs. For instance, for the sketch of the Kowdiar Palace, he was presented with a photograph showing an overhead view of the palace, and drew it from that. For Kuthiramalika, he received special sanction and was able to sketch the structure.

Eighteen of his oil and acrylic works are also on display. These too capture the beauty of places such as Chirayinkeezhu, where often it gets obscured by filth. He says he is constantly experimenting.

The use of various colours to depict water in his painting of children on a beach come from years of experience, he says.

Director of the Kerala Chitrakala Parishad, he has also been conducting painting camps for Soorya for years.

A national basketball player, Mr. Rajan has been drawing since he was a child. On spotting his talent, his father used to take him to various exhibitions. Even when he was pursuing sports, he kept alive the connection with art. Though he never learnt painting formally, he learnt from taking part in various camps conducted by the Lalithakala Akademi and from interactions with artistes having different styles.

On of the most memorable moments in his life has been the portrait he presented to the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he came to ISRO. “He was not President then. He then wrote me a letter asking me to draw Veli and ISRO together. I drew that and presented it to him when he visited ISRO after becoming President. He then wrote me an appreciation letter for the work,” he says.

He recently drew a 6 ft portrait of Vikram Sarabhai that has been displayed at ISRO.

Mr. Rajan mostly paints landscape, his travels inspiring him to paint nature in all its glory. Contemporary issues such as problems faced by children also find expression in his works. “The challenge in such a work is to present it in such a way that viewers understand it, even if it is abstract,” he says.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by R.K. Roshni / Thiruvananthapuram – November 17th, 2017

A fitting tribute for a master playwright

Thiruvananthapuram:

The year-long birth centenary celebrations of renowned playwright and critic C J Thomas had an apt beginning in the capital city on Wednesday, with the city-based theatre group Natyagruham staging CJ’s masterpiece ‘Aa manushyan nee thanne’ (You are that man).

Natyagruham theatre group stages C J Thomas’s masterpiece ‘Aa manushyan nee thanne’ at VJT Hall in T’puram on Wednesday

The staging of CJ’s drama written in 1955 and depicting the sinful love between Biblical King David and Bathsheba, at the VJT Hall, also marked the 36th anniversary of city-based theatre group – ‘Natyagruham’ – which has promised a series of events for another year to celebrate CJ’s birth centenary.

Directed by S Sajanachandran and with Pradeep Ayiroopara as the art director, this most popular drama by CJ, which broke all conventional dramaturgy, was staged before an enlightened audience comprising both youngsters and those from older generations. Taking the theatre beyond realism, CJ had tried to satirize the vulgarity of human response to others’ sufferings through this work.

Time calls for reviving the writers and artists of yesteryears for whom the art remained a life-long passion, said Malayalam writer George Onakkoor, who inaugurated the launching event. “CJ was a miracle, both as a human being and as a playwright. He enriched the language, the society and culture during the short span of his life (CJ had died in 1960 at the age of 42),” said Onakkoor, who had also penned a biography on CJ – ‘Manalkaattinte Sabdam’ (The voice of sandstorm).

Besides elaborating on other works of CJ including ‘Avan veendum varunnu’ (1949) and ‘1128-il crime 27’ (1954) Onakkoor also remembered CJ as a man inspired by revolutionary ideas and recalled his great contributions to modern literary movements in the state. “With a prophetic voice, he traversed this world ahead of his time,” he said.

Natyagruham chairman Prof Aliyar, who presided over the ceremony, said CJ’s works had passed the test of time. “The drama ‘Aa manushyan nee thanne’, had been staged only on a few occasions in Thiruvananthapuram or elsewhere in the state. However, this masterpiece is still relevant to be staged for the contemporary audience,” he said. tnn

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Thiruvananthapuram News / TNN / November 16th, 2017