A generation of impostors brought up on cinema. The Other Banana podcast is primarily Deepauk M(@complicateur), Aditya(@gradwolf), Anantha(@anantha), Ashoka(@ABVan) and Max(@maxdavinci).
We discuss films – mostly Indian – and analyse them in turn, roughly on a bi-weekly basis.
Director Series: Padmarajan's Deshadanakkili Karayarilla
Episode Trigger Warning: Suicide
After a long break, we are back with our Director Series on Malayalam auteur Padmarajan. This one is on his 1986 film Deshadanakkili Karayarilla starring Shari, Karthika, Urvashi and Mohanlal.
Deshadanakkili Karayarilla might be one of the popular mainstream films in the context of any language, with big stars, but it is also one of the earliest Indian films to talk about a lesbian relationship, confronting the world of queer subjects and the hardships the LGBTQ+ community faces in public and private spaces, what it means to be queer in the confines and threat of heteronormativity and how this subtext can be approached directly with formal elements of cinema while remaining a film that's about female companionship at the surface level.
For this episode Aditya is joined by two guests - Darshana Sreedhar Mini, Asst. Professor at University of Wisconsin - Madison's Department of Communication Arts and Affiliate - Gender and Women's Studies, Center for South Asia and Center for Visual Cultures.
Our second guest is Rajashree Raju, Board Member of Kerala based LGBTQI+ welfare organization and activist group Queerala. She's been associated with the organization since 2016.
Here is the link to watch the film on Youtube. Unfortunately there are no subtitles but it is worth watching even without it as the cinematic elements make sure the subtext is eloquently conveyed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHaQY1xgac4
Here is a link to the book Unruly Figures: Queerness, Sex Work, and the Politics of Sexuality in Kerala (Decolonizing Feminisms) by Navaneetha Mokkil that has a chapter on the film and is discussed in the episode.
Ilaiyaraaja : A Musical Movement (6)
This episode continues to explore how Raaja uses frameworks from western classical music - particularly harmony. We discuss the form and function of harmony and explore, through varied examples and genres, how Raaja deploys them to create his musical experiences.
What is harmony?
What do we mean when we talk about tone, note, and timbre?
Using Harmony to set the tonal center, create tension, dissonance, and resolution
Examples of the usage in Ilaiyaraaja's music
Vanthaal Vanthaal (Opening)
Mandolin Srinivas: Maha Ganapathim
Unna Nenachu (Psycho)
Vellai Pura Ondru
Vaanaththu Thaaragaiyo (Closing)
The Great Indian Kitchen: With Director Jeo Baby & Cinematographer Salu K Thomas
Once again, an early contender for one of the best films of the year comes from Malayalam cinema. The Great Indian Kitchen, written and directed by Jeo Baby, filmed by Salu K Thomas and edited by Francies Louis hit the exclusive Malayalam OTT platform Neestream last month. Starring Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Venjaramoodu, a film rich in visual flourish, edited with finesse that uses pure imagery to convey its story, theme and politics, The Great Indian Kitchen hits right where it hurts.
It was a great pleasure to have director Jeo Baby and cinematographer Salu K Thomas join Aditya and Deepauk to talk about the film, how it was scripted, shot and edited and what were the influences behind the making of this film. Jeo and Salu touch on several things like having a script with editing patterns written down, improvised dialogues, finding the right house for filming, the influences of KG George's Adaminte Vaariyellu (1984) and Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Elippathayam (1981). Listen on.
You can find Adaminte Vaariyellu on Youtube here and Elippathayam here.
Long before JD and Bhavani of Lokesh Kanagaraj's Master, there were Shiva and Bhavani (and a JD on the sidelines) in a college setting in Ram Gopal Varma's directorial debut Shiva. Combining student politics along with a ruthless gangster played memorably by Raghuvaran, Shiva set new standards for filmmaking and South Indian mass cinema. It was the arrival of Ram Gopal Varma as a reckoning and cult sequences featuring Nagarjuna, paired with Amala.
Max is joined by writer (The Family Man), author, stand up comedian Suman Kumar and Atlasdanced to talk about the various aspects of Shiva that hit home - the Steadicam, the Telangana dialect, a more realistic portrayal of college and the incredible sound design. And of course, Amala. Listen on.
Link to the video of 25th anniversary celebration of Shiva that is mentioned in the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg4V2smAC6c
Michael Madana Kama Rajan - Part 3: Form and Technique
Hello and we are back with our final part in the Michael Madana Kama Rajan series. In this episode, we talk about form and technique, the filmmaking that has gone behind the making of this brilliant, everlasting film and how a lot of the methods used are so inconspicuous that they rarely come to the fore when discussing the film.
In this episode we have a new but familiar guest. Dagalti joins us to talk about MMKR along with Deepauk, ABVan and Equanimus. Listen on to find out how the team that gave Pushpak and Aboorva Sagodharargal did not simply regurgitate a familiar theme but wanted to build and go one up on their previous efforts purely with form and writing. And how the double action or quadruple action is achieved with masking or otherwise.
Michael Madana Kama Rajan - Part 2: Characters
And we are back with the part two of the series on Singeetam Srinivasa Rao's Michael Madana Kama Rajan.
In this episode we take a deep dive into the characters of MMKR beginning with the four Kamal Haasans - Michael, Madan, Kameshwaran and Raju followed by the other characters who are all equally memorable but then we are never objective in our likes and dislikes, are we? Listen on to find out why we unanimously chose Raju as our favorite Kamal and what we like about the other characters. Once again Aditya, Deepauk and Anantha are joined by Equanimus.
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