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Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya – Music for love to feed on!

Being Rahman’s first Tamil album after Oscar and the long awaited Gautham-Rahman album, Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya has raised the expectation levels amidst music lovers of all sorts. And now, the sound track consists of 7 numbers, uniquely different from each other, and Thamarai’s immaculate lines continue to shine.

Male Harmony:Benny Dayal, Devan Ekambaram, Karthik, Vijay Prakash, Naresh Iyer,  A.R.Rahman , Alphonse Joseph and  Blaaze,

Female harmony:Kalyani Menon, Chinmayi, Suzanne D’ Mello and Shreya Ghoshal

Lyrics:Thamarai, Kaithapram, Kalyani Menon and Blaaze

1. Aaromale*****

Singer: Alphonse Joseph

Lyrics: Kaithapram

A soft but powerful malayalam rock song which Reminds us of the late 80’s English rock stars and recent mallu rock albums like Aviyal and Thaalam. Alphonse’s vocals take us high when unleashed to the max. And about the tune, it’s one of those Rahman melodies which will haunt your music buds for a long time. The entrancing use of the guitar and the mellifluous chorus will turn your speakers in to a midnight’s stage and your room in to an open auditorium!

2.Omana Penne*****

Singers: Benny Dayal, Kalyani Menon

Lyrics: Thamarai, Kalyani Menon(Malayalam lines)

To be simple, this song is a scoop of vanilla ice-cream with a cherry on top! The composer’s imagination takes you for a magical mystery tour when the Nadaswaram piece begins in the background. Benny Dayal’s already feminine style of singing and the use of synthesiser makes him a flawless instrument competing with the Nadaswaram. And the sparingly used Kalyani Menon’s part in musical Malayalam is the cherry on top. If a master chef like Rahman tries a new dish with Tamil, Malayalam and a few table spoons full of quality music, it shall be called Omana Penne!

3.Mannippaya*****

Singers: A.R.Rahman, Shreya Ghoshal

Lyrics: Thamarai

As the name suggests this is a sorry song which will never make you feel sorry for listening to it. Once again the age old saying that the best of melodies are born in the saddest of situation, proves to be true. Evidently this song is a descendant of Kathale from Duet, Uyire from Bombay, Oru Poiyavathu from Jodi and Aaruyire from Guru. Shreya Ghoshal’s voice is as sweet as a melting chocolate and Rahman hits us with his voice of a lover in sad plight.The christian choir like rendering of a few kurals at the latter end of this song blends two apparently dissimilar things and is very different from that of the Kural song we listened to in Connexions. A song close to the heart of love and everlasting lovers!

4.Anbil Avan*****

SIngers: Devan Ekambaram, Chinmayi

Lyrics: Thamarai

This is a marriage song which asks us to choose love. Here we see a blend of Hindu and Christian musical elements. Also the music sensibility of this song reminds us the golden times of MSV. Devan who is back to Rahman’s camp after a long time is more mature in his timbre and Chinmayi’s versatile vocals aptly fit this amorous tune. As Rahman said earlier, this song is a mix of two cultures. The use of Mridangam Nadaswaram and Church Organ along with synthesised chorus creates the needed atmosphere!

5. Hosanna*****

Singers: Vijay Prakash, Blaaze, Suzanne D’Mello

Lyrics: Thamarai, Blaaze (Rap)

‘A breezy hip-hop song with an intoxicating orchestration’ would be the perfect definition of Hosanna. This song is like that beautiful city of our dreams where we will never find our way out. Turns and twists with a touch of pathos can do magic and that’s what Hosanna does. Once again Rahman establishes that for a song to be effective, technology should be used cautiously. Vijay Prakash’s definite voice takes control of the whole song to the last word, where as Suzanne’s voice supports the lead neatly from the background. The rhythm of this song bears close similarity to Tu Muskura from Yuvvraj.  And in between, Blazee’s rap comes in like a flash and takes us off in style. And Thamarai’s lyrics for this song is the best of the album. Save me, I beseech you! hails this lover with Hosanna!

6.Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya****

Singer: Karthik

Lyrics: Thamarai

Here what we have is an acoustic song with a lot of emotions packed into it. Karthik is as alive and kicking as usual and as anytime before. The tune is fresh and takes some time to grow into you. Being the title track, this number sets the tone of the film. Must be seen with visuals to be appreciated completely. And we can see boys singing this around the city with a guitar in a few months time. A song dedicated to the moon lovers!

7.Kannukkul Kannai****

Singer: Naresh Iyer

Lyrics: Thamarai

A fast paced pop-rock number packed with a lot of techno elements. Rahman’s favourite singer Naresh Iyer drives it home in full throated ease. Apart from a strong resemblance to a couple of songs from Rahman’s latest Hindi album Blue, this number reminds us of Maramkothiye from Anbe Aaruyire. The violin sound which peeps in continuously is a pleasure to listen. At last a song for Discotheque lovers and dance lovers. This song raises our curiosity to see Simbu dance to its tune. Thamarai’s lyrics cleverly portray the mind of a young man trying to win the heart of his lady love without being too cliched.

Though the wait for the album was frustrating, Rahman dispatches tunes which are worth the wait and has tried to do something different and that which he hasn’t done before. Though something in the lines of Minsara kanavu, Indian and Alaipayuthey would have guaranteed him a winner, he steps on to a different plane in Vinnai thaandi Varuvaayaa. And the tunes mean business and not of the syrupy stuff. So Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya is an album showcasing different images of love!

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Inglourious Basterds– Tarantino’s epic!

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Chapter 1

Once upon a time…

Script in the making

Ever since 2001, Tarantino had been talking about the script which one day would be his master piece : “My bunch-of-guys-on-a-mission film. My Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare or Guns of Navarone kind of thing.” Story of Any genre seems to get a new life when Tarantino scripts it into his own. Since Tarantino wanted this to be a spaghetti western movie,the movie has got a unique texture, bizarre tone and simplistic mise-en-scène. In the last ten years, every time there was an interview with Tarantino, there was a question about Inglourious basterds. And now, the movie lives up to its expectations.

Chapter 2

Inglourious synopsis

Tarantino makes it too difficult to write a plot synopsis of the movie. About who shall I say the movie is all about? Is it about the basterds, a group of Jewish-American soldiers under the leadership of Lieutenant Aldo Raine{Brad Pitt} who enter France as civilians to cause maximum damage to the Nazis with a unique stratagem? Or is it about the Nazi Colonel Hans Landa{Christoph Waltz}, the Jew-Hunter who enjoys the culling and killing of the hiding Jews in France? Or is it about the young Jewish girl Shosanna{Mélanie Laurent} who escapes Hans Landa to plan out the massacre of Hitler and Co later? Don’t know. Tarantino takes sides with nobody inside the plot though the story is rooted in anti-Nazism. The titling method is similar to that of the 20th century novelists’: Pick out one of the chapter titles from the book and there we go. But the title is inspired from the 1978 war film Inglourious basterds as Tarantino confesses.The movie is set in 1940s and in the Nazi occupied France. In the classical sense, The Basterds and Shosanna can be looked at as the protagonists who fight their way to a goal: To kill the Nazis while Hans Landa is the Antagonist supposedly preventing them from doing so. Tarantino plays his own game throughout the movie by smashing out the common notions about a movie which runs on a screen. The movie is divided into 5 chapters:

Chapter One: Once Upon a Time … Nazi Occupied France

Chapter Two: Inglorious Basterds

Chapter Three: German Night in Paris

Chapter Four: Operation Kino

Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face

After watching the movie if you think you can summarise it, you are wrong. Go watch the movie again, not to rewrite  but to realise the futility of your attempt.

Chapter 3

Quentinian delight in theatres

This is not only a universal masterpiece in the Tarantinian sense of the word universe but also in the OED meaning of it. The movie’s first scene involving the conversation between Hans Landa and Perrier LaPadite{Denis Menochet} tells it all. Every scene in the movie stands out with its own laurels. Christoph Waltz’s terrorising performance as Hans Landa wakes us all from our naive romantic sleep into the harsh world of reality: Never rely on the goodness of men. Only a very few actors get to perform a role like this one and Waltz has played it beyond perfection. Brad Pitt in the skin of “Aldo the Apache”, scalps and cuts his way out in a grand fashion, as the director wanted him to. He makes us laugh in the places where we are afraid to. Mélanie Laurent, who showcases her ability to range between the innocent cinema owner to the ruthless witch who has the last laugh. The Baseball bat swinging ‘Bear Jew’ played by Producer, Director and writer Eric Roth hits us for a surprising home run. Even the actors who occupy the screen only for a short time do justice to the movie. There are a lot of hidden violence in the movie other than what is shown. For instance watch the Cinderella parody. This is one of the major forties of the movie apart from the flawless acting. Tarantino shows no mercy to the lion or the Lamb so no character is left without his stamp. The slow and steady rise in the tempo of the plot is as good as the good old westerns the movie imitates. Tarantino has successfully blended the history genre with the wild western type in Inglourious Basterds. Though an experimentalist, Tarantino always sets the cash registers ringing at the box office, and this is true with Inglorious Basterds too.

Chapter 4

Operation DeKonstruktion

The elements of spaghetti Western style strips this movie out of the grandiose of historical movies and period films. The set designs and locales also fall short of a proper war movie. Though deliberately done, this hurts at times. The movie explicitly portrays Germans in a bad light. The inset film within the film is actually a satanic parody of the real audience! Although good, Long conversations and monotonous activities contribute to the overall effect, they make the movie dull, once a while. Also Bridget von Hammersmark’s{Diane Kruger} mistake which leads to the denouement appears so silly for a shrewd character.

Chapter5

Victory of the technical faces

Minimalist cinematography, which is one of the characteristic features of a spaghetti western film is well done in this film by ace cinematographer Robert Richardson. The lightings and background colours used in the production design of this movie are amazingly perfect for the film. Even the soundtrack is a mixture of various old western movie tracks. Undoubtedly Inglourious basterds deserves a place among the greatest of war movies. So Tarantino says: There are no heroes only basterds!
-Spontic

Carlito’s way- Tough and touching!

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“I don’t invite this shit. It just comes to me.” These words, uttered by Carlito Brigante the protagonist of this Brian De Palma film happen to be the spine of this gangster story, voiced-over with deaths and disappointments. Al Pacino and Sean Penn don two vital roles in the movie which is screen-written by David Koepp from the Edwin Torres novels(Carlito’s Way and After hours). Although a first look at the film may give us an impression that Palma and Pacino are trying to rejuvenate the ‘Scarface’ but the script has something different to offer.

The Spanish tongued Carlito Brigante{Al Pacino} is released from prison aided by his lawyer friend Dave Kenfield{Sean Penn} after which we hear him say ‘Free atlast!’ He wants his hands to be clean and takes his way into a club owned by one of his old acquaintances, Sasso{(Jorge Porcel} and tries to save money for a better living which he assumes later to be with his girl friend Gail{Penelope Ann Miller}. He turns every possible stone to be within the walls of a good samaritan,but the diablo always comes his way. But without his cognizance his law pal Dave has other plans and other ends. Dave pulls the reluctant Carlito into something which the latter thinks to be an escape plot to free Tony{Frank Minucci} an Italian mob boss from prison. Carlito’s dreams start to blur when he realises that his friend is not a friend. Consequently Carlito gets cracking on to pull the strings…But unlike old times he has got más grande men behind his back giving him pain. The dreams get blurrier than ever and so the story goes…

Certain sequences of the movie demonstrate Brian De Palma’s ability to make his audience feel that he is watching something which is worth every penny he paid for:The pool scene, Dave’s stabbing and the last 20 minutes of the film are worth mentioning. Al Pacino’s cloak is somewhat similar to that of Scarface, but he manages to swipe off those images from our minds as soon as the movie progresses. Sean Penn macrocosmically creates the perfect artistic illusion of a mob lawyer of the late seventies and microcosmically corroborates how a friend could be. Being a period film, the stylistics of this movie reminds us of Scarface and Goodfellas. The painful philosophy that which exists in the voice of narration adds one more dimension to this multifaceted film. Inspite of her early strip teaser impressions in the film, Ann Miller sticks like chocolate to her inwardly moral role of Gail. A closer look would reveal the contrast that the film brings out between Gail and Dave, which adds strength to the lady’s character. For good, the length of the movie doesn’t affect the tempo and tension of the movie. The turning points occur at the right areas of the screenplay and elevates this great movie into a greater one.

The Director is successfull in guising his script’s flaws in intoxicating moments. One of them is this: Why does the dumb and incapable son end up being in the boat when he has a brother who is habile enough to match Carlito?{Which we realise minutes later} Secondly, is he so moronic to give up to a junkie? And finally there are no strong reasons for Tony to depend entirely upon Dave. Apart from this and a few other minor ones, Carlito’s way is limpio.

The mise en scene of the indoors aptly draws up the 70s curtain, while the exteriors showcase Palma’s celluloid skills. Stephen H. Burum‘s cinematography slides seamlessly into Patrick Doyle’s score to develop the tension of the milieu. The costumes, hairstyles and dialogues bring to lime light the amount of research done by the crew. Kristina Boden and Bill Pankow present us a well tailored movie without any glitches. Carlito says ‘Dios está siempre allí, mirándole a través de los ojos del diablo'{God is always there, watching you through the devil’s eyes!}


Nandhalala – Album of lullabies!
nandhalala_1024_030708 Ilayaraaja joins hands with the ‘fearless director’ Mysskin for Nandhalala. All the five lyricists have wrapped up highly aesthetic words for this film. As this film is about the quest of a mentally retarded fellow and a kid, the songs are pleasant, positive and poignant.

Male Harmony

Ilayaraja,  K.J.Jesudas, Master Yatheeshwaran, Vijay Yesudas, Madhu Balakrishnan

Female Harmony

Swetha, Saroja amma

1. Mella oorndhu oorndhu****

Singer: Ilayaraja

Lyrics: Na.Muthukumar

A beautiful Ilayaraja number with child sensibility. Sounds like ‘Maina kunju’ and ‘Vandhaal Vandhaal’.This song evinces Ilayaraja’s inimitable Orchestration and instrumentation talents for which he is known for. The piano interludes and chorus adds on to the school rhyme effect of this serenade. Muthukumar has penned a riddle like ‘who am I?’ lyrics with Nietzsche overtones for this song and successfully keeps us guessing till the very end. Another song to the ‘anjali’ genre!

2. Onnukkonnu*****

Singer:  K.J Jesudas

Lyrics: Mu.Mehtha
Only in a very few songs tune, rhythm, voice, instruments and lyrics sweetly fall in place as in a cup of fruit salad with ice cream. Mehtha’s flawless lines explicates the soul of the film. Simple tune and sparingly used equipment make this song another feather in Ilayaraja’s crown. For Jesudoss, this song is Kanne Kalaimane part2. Another Ilayaraja classic for the dark and warm evenings. Right song for this sick world!

3.Thaalattu***

Singer: Ilayaraja

Lyrics: Muthulingam
Typical Ilayaraja’s Amma song. Begins like ‘Thenpandi seemaiyile’ and proceeds like ‘Aalolam paadi’.Full of native instruments and customary lyrics. Mesmerising Ilayaraja’s voice breaks down once a while portraying the powerful feel of the song. An ordinary song with a maestro’s finish.

4. Kai veesi*****

Singers: Vijay Yesudas, Swetha, Madhu Balakrishnan

Lyrics: Pazhanibharathy
An awesome melody, celebrating life, rooted in hardcore Ilayarajaism. Reminds us of ‘Ilangaathu veesuthe’. The flute piece which runs along this number is memorable. Though not innovative interms of instrumentation, the wondrous tune tells it all. Once again a number with ‘anjali’ feel- collective joie de vivre.

5.Elilea****

Singer: Saroja Amma
A gypsy song with a voice and an instrument. The language is  a strange conglomerate of many Indian languages. Though gives us a sick feeling, the rising tempo vividly showcases the meaning of the song. Mysskin’s attempt to do something fresh and original is clearly seen in here.

6.oru vaandu koottame****

Singers: Ilayaraja, Master Yatheeshwaran

Lyrics: Kabilan
A colorful number with a pot-pourri of voices and instruments. Master Yatheeswharan’s voice alternates beautifully with Ilayaraja’s. Must be a road song with fun all along. The tune is native but grand.The violin interlude of this song will haunt you for a long time even in your fantasies. Since this film is about children and from a child’s point of view, Ilayaraja’s numbers for this film remind us of the film ‘anjali’.

Neither with rap nor hip-hop, Ilayaraja scores a triple ton in Nandhalala. Mysskin is adorable for requesting all the songs in pure tamil. It is all about mother and love!

Pineapple Express- Simple strong and sexy!

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Saul: “It’s called Pineapple Express. My guy Red told me it’s when this Hawaiian flood takes special dirt to the weed or some shit. It’s pretty scientific. And I’m the only guy in the whole city who has it.
And, its only ten bones more for a quarter.”

Nobody could explain David Gordon Green‘s latest project Pineapple express better than this. Seth Rogen plays a major role in all the three major departments. Though a mundane ‘Hit and run’ kind of script, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have flavoured it enough to make it a blockbuster. Life would become easy if its Pineapple express…

Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a wacko process server, who splits his pastime between his high school sweetheart Angie(Amber Heard) and big time drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco). After getting high on the new ‘dopest dope’ named pineapple express in Saul’s place, he goes to serve Ted Jones (Gary Cole) a druglord where he watches Ted and Carol Brazier (Rosie Perez) a cop, blow up a guy’s head. While trying to flee the place Dale drops a smoke of Pineapple Express and bumps into a couple of cars which is enough to gain Ted’s attention. When back at Saul’s den, both of them realise that, Pineapple Express can lead Ted directly to their hideout, since Saul is the only Pineapple express dealer in town. With a heart full of pressure and a bag full of Pineapple Express the guys gallop away from their fears. Here begins all the fun and fury…!

An age old storyline and characterisation afresh make Pineapple Express rare and roaring. James Franco who plays the junkie strips off the line between screen and seat. For his part Seth Rogen gets high on times aswell. The user friendly plot and avant-garde characters make the happenings more enthralling. The humor-cynicism balance is another factor which adds onto the USP of this movie. The writers have taken care that all the elements required for a comic action movie show their presence in their film. Also the typical Seth Rogen sitcom contributes largely to the tonality of the movie.

Predictability is a detestable word for the makers of Pineapple Express. Once you know that the movie is about Marijuana and junkies, you see the denouement. That’s it. At times Seth Rogen’s dialogues give you a patience test. The writers could have thought about increasing the speed of this express once more. The concluding remarks on friendship and fellowship, tries to sum up the film for us but in vain.

The music of this movie blends aptly into the cat-mice storyline to produce the rocking effect.Tim Orr‘s cinematography captures ordinary locations and locales with a monumental eye. On the whole Craig Alpert‘s editorial work makes sure that one scene grows realistically out of the other, though it falls short at the beginning of the chase. So, when you are in Pineapple Express be cautious with your head, you may lose it busy laughing!

Ghajini- Music Review

Ghajini – Music Review

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For the Memento inspired Ghajini, ARR has etched out 6 songs, one being an instrumental. Definitely a decent piece of work, but with a slight deviation from a Rahman album. Every song of this album is an experiment with a subtly interpolated ARR aroma.

Male Harmony

Benny Dayal, Javed Ali, Sonu Nigam, Karthik

Female Harmony

Shreya Ghoshal and Suzanne

Lyrics

Prasoon Joshi

1. Behka****

Singers: Karthik

Within the first 2 minutes, we find Pop, Rock and Jazz elements being fused into this mystery toned song. Lot of innovations have been done on the vocal side (Watch out for the tongue twisters and rollers) Karthik’s experienced voice sinks in perfect equilibrium with the tone, Instrumentation and the tempo of the song. Behka is a Risky melodic experiment by ARR

2. Latoo***

Singers: Shreya Ghoshal

This party song is pitched somewhere in between the western Pop and peppy Indian music and nothing extraordinary about this song, but still ARR lives in the chorus, interludes and drum rolls. Though a quick paced song, Shreya Ghosal gives a melodic touch to this number. May be a visual song fitting the dance choreography and setting. Chiselled to haunt the pubs and discotheques for a while.

3. Guzarish*****

Singes: Javed Ali, Sonu Nigam

A classic Rahman melody, full of sitar interludes. Once again, a piping hot tune from Rahman Bhai’s kitchen. If you are in love, sun or rain, this must be your latest anthem. Awesome voice renderings by Javed Ali and Sonu Nigam. Will rock the theatres for sure. Since melancholy is one of the major themes of the film, there is an interwoven thread of blues. Take heed to it properly to fall in love with it. Play the song, open the window of your room and heart and start melting.

4. Aye Bachchu***

Singes: Suzanne

A rock song, with a streak of a melody running through it. Instrumentation and orchestration along with the muffled refrain, elevates this song to the next level. A pocket sized dynamite but potent enough to cause ample catastrophe. Suzanne’s voice and Prasoon Joshi’s ‘take it easy’ lyrics make sure that this song captures the attention of the audience.

5. Kaise Mujhe****

Singers: Benny Dayal, Shrey Ghoshal

Again a lugubrious love song, with a good deal of pitch variations. Rahman has tried to handle Indian instruments in a western way. Benny’s laid-back harmony blends absolutely with Shreya Ghoshal’s mellifluous voice. These elements adorn this song to suit a lovely-dovey song. The instrumental version of this song is good too! This track seems to be main theme of the album.

Varanam Aayiram- Paradise lost and regained!



Gautham Menon‘s Magnum Opus Varanam Aayiram has come out with a million flying colors. Being a biography, Vaaranam Aayiram blooms in the lines of Aarilirunthu arupathu varai, Autograph and Thavamai Thavamirunthu. As the trailer says, ‘This is not an action film’ but instead a commercially salted Father-son flick. Though Gautham Menon has borrowed a few western colors to deck his epic, Vaaranam Aayiram compels us to say ‘where he picks up doesn’t matter but where he places’.

The plot is worked out by a first person triple layered narrative. Before the narrative starts, we see Krishnan{Surya}, the old man dying out of a throat cancer. The news is passed on to Major Surya{Surya}, who is currently on a rescue operation a few thousand miles and metres away in a military helicopter. Surya meditates on his own experience and what his mother Malini{Simran} and father Krishnan had told him since his childhood. And so it goes… till Surya comes back to perform funeral rites for his father.

To begin with, Vaaranam Aayiram is truly an incensed classic, filled with cross culture references and trends. Gautham has unleashed his full potential in his dream project. May God bless him for his pains in handling the narrative. The first half swims down our throat in full mettled ease while the latter half is the fruit of tree of knowledge. As a complete whole the film is but life, life and nothing but life. For Surya and Simran this innings breaks their own previous records. And about Shamira, she’s the Poet’s ‘Lady Love’, on celluloid. The dialogues are better than any other Gautham Menon film and Romance, flows like ‘sweet Thames’. The second half which contains the more serious side of life,goes on in its own pace and may tire the audience, but the defect lies not with the screen-writer but on the eye and mind of the beholder. The positive energy of this movie is another facet which our society requires to go ahead. In this regard, Vaaranam Aayiram becomes, Gauthams’Autograph’. The Production design and the picturisation of the songs make Varanam Aayiram into ‘thousand hues’. Right from the amorous Backdrops to the intertwining ‘Ilayarajaism’, Vaaranam Aayiram, ‘its a rock song daddy!’

At times we are made to think if its a correct decision to put Surya on the father role, since its too heavy for him in selected areas. In the next place, the movie’s Tamil sensibility is pulled down by the use of English in many important scenes. A few minutes before the ‘Annal mele’ song in Divya Spandana‘s episode are hackneyed and test our patience. Surya’s visit to California may not be justifiable from a few view points. The ‘Aditya’ stratagem seem to spoil the tonality of the movie but the story-telling talents of Gautham saves it at the end.

The Art Director of the movie has sculpturesquely given life to Gautham’s imagination. Rajeevan and Anthony have once again done enthralling work. Harris Jeyaraj‘s hypnotising soundtrack has provided us with a quality musical. Working on a project like vaaranam Aayiram is tough as nails and two thumbs up to Gautham Menon and his crew. Vaaranam Aayiram says “Life is not a bed of roses”

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