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What happens when a rich Indian student in Australia, falls in love with an Australian girl, who is also crazily in love with him? Would the difference in culture bother him? Would he go against his parents’ wishes, or succumb to what they want for him? This weekend I watched a light romantic film titled Love & only Love. The movie beautifully portrayed a cross cultural romance between an Indian and an Australian.

Light Romantic Movie with Brilliant Music

Love & Love only is an English Language Australian film, directed by Indian-born Australian filmmaker Julian Karikalan. The movie stars Rohit Kalia, who was Mr. India Australia in 2014 and Sydney based Georgia Nicholas in lead roles. The background score and songs have been composed by India’s legendary composer Maestro Illayaraaja who has scored music for over 1000 feature films. This happens to be his first ever English language feature film for which he has composed original songs.

Launched on November 22 2016, for the online audience, the movie is available as paid content. Since its launch it has been well appreciated the world over, garnering positive response.

The Storyline

Krish aka Krishna lands in Australia, to prove to his father that he is indeed capable of learning all about business and life. He enrolls for an MBA program and struggles to adapt to the Australian ways. He has always been pampered by his mom back home in India. However the world now is different and he has to not only earn his own living but must also learn survival skills. Working in a grocery store, he meets Stacey an Australian co-worker. A school dropout from a broken family, Stacey falls in love with Krish and his honest ways. Krish soon falls in love too, with Stacey. He also manages to take a step towards achieving his business goals by getting an opportunity to start a new venture- a travel company. How does Krishna tackle the relationship? Do the cultural differences create problems between them? Is he able to prove to his father on his capability of running a business? Love and Love only is an intricate web and gamut of emotions and relationships.

Characters in the Movie

The movie stars Indian-Australian actor Rohit Kalia and Sydney-based actress Georgia Nicholas in the lead roles. The supporting cast includes Ambika Asthana, Sashi Dandekar and Suparna Mallick among others. Despite being new comers, the acting is realistic and, definitely on par with many big budget actors. Well expressed emotions, the lead pair have the right chemistry that is carried throughout the film.


Crisp direction keeps the movie fast paced. With a meaningful storyline, the director has been able to depict much more than just the romance in the tale. He has brought out the key differences between the two cultures, as well as the similarities that exist in the emotions of all humans. There is a gradual progression in the scenes, from the protagonist being a pampered momma’s boy, to his coming of age and becoming an independent hardworking man.


Illayaraaja’s music does justice to every bit of the emotion expressed in the movie. The original song of the movie “Am I in love” is soothing to listen, with a range of instruments adding melody, and meaningful lyrics. A perfect composition to suit the storyline. The background music is beautiful and up-lifting.

The movie was previewed at the International Film and Entertainment Festival of Australia last December where it received two awards (Best Musical Score and Best Direction).

For those who love light hearted meaningful romance, Love and Love only would be an enjoyable watch. If you are seeking a movie with some soul stirring music for your lazy Sunday afternoon, then this is surely the movie for you. Cuddle up with a loved one, sip that warm coffee and soak yourself in this brilliant cross culture film that’s definitely worth a watch.

A Page from Chennai And its Mega Stores

A Page from Chennai And its Mega Stores

It sure does take a great deal of research to make a movie with a realistic story. I recently watched one such Tamil movie called Angadi Theru (Eng: Market Street). This heart wrenching movie revolves around life in a mega-sized store on one of Chennai’s busiest streets-one which is literally home to countless men, women, shops, and businesses.

Life on Ranganathan Street

If you have ever been to Chennai’s Ranganathan Street and shopped at the all famous Saravana Stores, you would understand exactly what I am talking about. Not only in Chennai, but cities across the state of Tamil Nadu are home to some mega-sized stores that sell practically everything under the sun. Apparels for all ages and gender, jewelry, household articles, home appliances, footwear, bed and bath products, cosmetics- just about anything you could dream of.

Way different from the plush retails in malls, these stores cater to all income clientele.

When I first visited one in Chennai, I was left speechless. Products piled one on top of another, with not an inch spared. The ceilings in the home section, hung steel utensils that shimmered in the light around. The 20,000 square feet store employed over a hundred odd staff. Dressed in neat uniforms, they stood at every junction, across counters, ready to help with a smile. Most of them seemed to be in the age bracket between of 20-30(some even younger). Their job involved being at the store from dawn to almost midnight, attending to varied customers and some of their tantrums, running odd errands for the store manager, counting stock, tallying cash and serving tea.

To me, they seemed to be running the show, in some way

As I sifted through the pile of saris, I struck conversation with the young sales girl in front me. She was twenty she said, and had left her village in Thirunelveli district (Naranammalpuram, a village with hardly 800 houses), as there weren’t colleges to pursue higher education, nor were there opportunities to earn an income. The store provided her accommodation and meals, which otherwise would be expensive on her pocket in a metro such as Chennai. With the income she earned, she was able to save a few rupees and also send money to her family back in the village. I asked her if she was happy this way. She just smiled and said, “This is my work, and there’s dignity in it”.

It was noon by then, and the wilting look on each of their faces spoke an untold story. Some seemed desperate to leave the store for the half an hour lunch break. There was a quick swap at the counter to ensure that I was attended to. I looked up to see another smiling boy in front of me. “You would look good in green. Shall I show you some more prints in that colour?” he politely asked me. I quickly made my choice from what lay in front of me, and proceeded to the billing counter.

Somewhere deep down, I had begun to empathize with these young girls and boys.

They were away from home and home sick, with long working hours, and having to stand all day. I made a mental note, that the next time I visited the store; I must look up from my shopping and give them a smile, acknowledging their presence. That’s the least I could do.

Featured Image: A glimpse of Ranganathan Street- Courtesy
Madaari- My Weekend Movie

Madaari- My Weekend Movie

It is a week of big movie releases in the country, and Madaari was my pick. This much awaited film has an interesting ensemble of actors. The extremely talented Irrfan Khan plays the lead, with Vishesh Bansal and Jimmy Shergill making up the rest of the cast.

Irrfan Khan to me is one of those versatile actors who could practically play any role with ease. I loved his wit and subtle humor in Piku and the calmness and maturity portrayed in Life of Pi. But with Madaari, Irrfan Khan has reached all together a new height. His role of Nirmal Kumar in the movie, an “aam admi”, is exceptionally portrayed- poignant and hard hitting. It surely is one of Irrfan’s best performance. 

Madaari- a movie that brings out the realities of our nation.  Arent we a country where power lies in the hands of a select few? These are the ones who often call the shots and the “aam janta” is left in the lurch? Madaari explores the aspirations and life of the common man- such as Nirmal Kumar- asking questions that are hard hitting and making it a must watch. He is an average middle class man-like most Indians, working hard to make ends meet. In an unfortunate incident, Nirmal Kumar’s son goes missing.  The movie traces his journey of searching for his child, running from pillar to post, powerless as he cries out for help.  A directorial venture of Nishant Kamat (the one who directed, Drishyam and Rocky Handsome) Madaari could well be included among those movies that are totally thought provoking. With some brilliant performances and powerful dialogues, the movie leaves you intrigued.


I liked the simplicity in portrayal of characters- no larger than life hero who woos heroines around trees. Irrfan Khan brings out the anguish of a parent who has lost his child in brilliance. Jimmy Shergill as Nachiket Verma stands out too. The beautiful depiction of the camaraderie between Rohan (Vishal Bansal) and Nirmal Kumar is worth a mention.  With adequate suspense strewn across the script, the movie surely is nail-biting to the finish. The direction is flawless with a seamless screenplay and dialogue delivery. 

Madaari may not be your conventional film. It doesn’t have item songs, glitz and glamour or fight scenes. Well! making it a great movie for family audiences. Yet, it is a movie that is engaging, bringing out the grim reality of the nation that we are part of. It sure does touch you somewhere deep within.

So do watch it and share your thoughts with me.

Kabali Mania Grips the Nation

Kabali Mania Grips the Nation

July 22, 2016- For many, this date would be a “self” declared national holiday. ‘Cause it’s the day when their very own Super Star, from the south of the Vindhyas, has a movie release- Kabali

If you think you have experienced fanaticism, wait until you have seen a “First Day First Show” of a Rajini movie. Not long ago, in a popular theatre in Egmore in Chennai, I experienced this unique fanaticism. As early as 4.00 am in the morning fans gathered around the life sized cut out of the actor to perform “paal abhisekam” (a holy bath with milk). It is a tradition that has been there for years now, for every new movie of Rajini Kanth. As fans hooted inside the movie hall in a feverish pitch, I noticed the currency notes and coins that were flung into the air- a few landing on me. The frenzied fans danced, clapped and shed tears as their “Thaliava” rendered punch lines after punch lines on the big screen in front of them. He was their living god! In a country obsessed with films, no other actor enjoys this kind of fan following. His appeal reaches far and wide, touching both the masses and the elite.

But what makes Rajini Kanth the phenomena that he is?


When a humble Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, took to acting way back in the seventies little did he (or the world) know that he would become one of the biggest stars of South Indian Cinema. Having worked in over 150 films under the stage name of Rajini Kanth, his commercial stardom has been unmatched. His style, idiosyncrasies on screen, and punch line dialogues gripped the psyche of the people. His movies carried tailor made dialogues, with a message for every common man. No wonder, despite a couple of commercial setbacks, even at the age of 65 years, Rajini Kanth movies still garner enthusiasm, making him a phenomenon of sorts.

In his latest movie Kabali, set to release this Friday, Rajinikanth plays the role of an ageing don based in Malaysia. His fans understandably are excited to see what the film brings.

And cashing in on this Kabali Mania, are Big Brands, groups and corporates with Kabali merchandise and special screenings. From key chains, coffee mugs and phone covers; to silver coins and credit cards embossed with the image of the actor, the merchandise are flying off the shelves. Recently a fan in Malaysia took his Lamborghini Gallardo that sported Kabali posters, for a spin.

On a bigger scale, the official airline partner for Kabali, Air Asia unveiled an aircraft with images of the star and the movie. The airline has also planned a special flight from Bengaluru to Chennai for fans to watch the first-day-first-show of the movie.

For many of Rajini’s fans, it is a sort of obligation, to watch his movie first day first show. And this is the sort of magic Rajini weaves for his viewers.

*Featured Image Source: Air Asia