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Showing posts from September, 2005

Padmarajan: A Loss in January

[Malayalam Movie director and writer 1945 - 1991]

Padmarajan died in a cold January, untimely. He was in a hotel at calicut, in the middle of a celebration of his latest film Njaan Gandharvan (I, the celestial enchanter), in 1991. It was as if audience of the show was subjected to a dismayed silence, and the show was stalled. I for one who had just begun waking upto adolescence and the charm of his creative genius, felt the void, instantly.

Padmarajan started his career as a writer. Unfortunately I have not read any of his books. I know him from his films. If the literary quality of his films is anything to go by, they must be a world to discover. In fact like most of the films, his first film was based on his own novel Peruvazhiyambalam (The grand roadway Inn, 1979). The movie tore down the mythical fence between popular and art house movies. He pioneered the middle of the road solution for commercially succesfull good films and began a short lived golden period of malayalam films alo…

Life: A User's manual

I read Georges Perec's book Life: A User's manual when I was a master's student of physics. I toiled and floundered about the books and lectures on classical and quantum mechanics, basically for a degree. The LaGrangian and Hamiltonian equations, the particle theories, its graduation to quantum physics and further, Schrödinger and Heisenberg's equations went past me in a haze.

I was grappling with the concept of constraints in LaGrangian Mechanics when I read the preface of Perec's book which forewarned the reader of the games and artifacts he employed in his novel. Perec although wrote the book to be eminently readable, made no bones about the underlying vehemence of his forays into constraints and order in its construction - the sequence of chapters to follow the algorithm of a chess game, jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, complex mathematical probabilistic algorithms to organize the literary elements (objects, characters, situations, literary allusions and quotations, …