Mind your words…

The mind has been under study from time immemorial and yet there is no definition or a definite position for a human mind. If you touch the head, you are pointing to the brain which just processes the thoughts and mostly about 10% of its activities are known to man, the rest still to be uncovered. If you touch the heart and say it is the mind, sorry! you are touching a blood pump in our body and has no feelings. The mind is known to have been the reason for all the success and failures in life for many. I would like to touch one aspect of the mind which is proven to work, be it as enunciated by Rhonda Byrne in The Secret or The Bhagavath Geeta.

The dictum from Bhagavath Geeta “Udhared aatman aatmaanam natmaanam avasadhayeth aatmaivahi atmano bandhur aatmaiva ripuratmanaha” states that the rise and fall of a person are because of his mind alone and you yourself could be your best friend or your worst enemy. If mind is such an important factor in life then we should know one more secret, as suggested by Rhonda Byrne and followed by many. That’s about the words…

Your thoughts become words, and words your action. In which case, you should know what our mind assimilates and how it works. It is strange but true that our mind cannot understand anything negative, call it the makeup of the mind by Him or the basic nature of the Human mind. Our mind cannot understand the words like “Not” No” “Don’t” and such similar additions we make to an activity. Though confusing, it is better to understand it … earlier the better.

When you say “I don’t want to be poor” our mind actually programs our life to become poor… as it doesn’t take the word “Don’t”. Instead we need to reiterate “I want to be rich” which takes you towards financial success. The statement “I don’t want you to leave me” actually translates in the mind to “I want you to leave me” as the negative words are not taken in by the mind. Instead the statement should have been “Be with me forever”, which at least programs our mind for a long lasting relation. “I don’t want to see him” actually spreads out a wish from the mind to the nature “I wish to see him” and the person whom you are trying to avoid would eventually pop up in front of you”. Such is the mind.

If you closely follow The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, you can understand the reason why they want us to think of financial freedom than the bills and loans. The more we think of negatives it attracts the negatives to our life. So let’s make a change today and say or think only what we want and not what we do not want in life. Affirmations as suggested in Theta Healing or in Hypnotherapy points to the positives being fed into a mind. Release the emotions and vent your negatives to prepare changing your lives. Say what you want and not what you don’t.

Think of visiting a restaurant with your dear and near ones. If you say “I don’t want Burger” does not help, instead you would have to say “I would like to have a sandwich or a chopsuey”. Start the change today and see things change at the earliest. Believe in yourself, as the time tested text The Bhagavad Geeta, points to the strength of the mind… your self…. So be the change and see the change…

“Its only words and words are all I have… to take your heart away”… and I remembered this song as the words matter a lot in this world. A few words of love and care can change the scenario… So I would like to say … “Stay Blessed”

– Kriss Venugopal

Psycho … by Mysskin

Psycho… a befitting tribute to Alfred Hitchcock … by a someone who needs to be lauded for his efforts. Psycho… safe in Mysskin‘s hands.

A question whether it is the emotion or the investigation or the fear that would grip you, I would have no answer. But if you like to be thrilled beyond belief and still feel that you have walked out of an English Movie, though you just heard Tamil all the way, then Psycho is a “DON’T MISS” movie for you. Udayanidhi Stalin, Aditi Rao Hydari and Nithya Menon have given their best. But I would like to say Mysskin made them do the magic we see on screen.

From the first scene when the first beheading starts, the director sheds our defenses against the fear that grips us throughout the movie. The love of a blind man to the voice he hears and the song composed by Raja Sir works wonders when it is rendered by Sid Shriram. I tried a few lines too… captivated by the magic he has done.

The movie reminds us of Psycho with the strings in the BGM by Raja Sir, reminds us of Saw series with the room where Rajkumar Pitchumani or Angulimala as we would remember him henceforth, reminds us of all the scary movies one after the other. I would advise you to watch it only if you are an adult and wont carry the fear home. Decapitated bodies, the gore of blood, the heads in a box and more will remain in your mind for long.

The love of Blind Gautham and Radio Jock Dahini, the strong mind and brash tongue of Kamala the quadriplegic cop and Angulimala would remain with you for quite sometime. Hats of to Tanvir the cinematographer and Myskeen for the efforts taken. There may be a few flaws you can cite, but I would prefer to celebrate the movement of Indian Cinema to the next level, and laugh at those who set the ratings at 3 or 3.5 for a movie that should get a 4 or 5 for the efforts of Mysskin

End note: Mysskin is not a miskeen when it comes to storytelling…
… Get psyched by Psycho

Trance… a review

Is it true to see that the seeds of a tree will bear the same kind…? I think that is what you feel when you see the son of a story teller, telling stories with his story telling eyes. Yes, I am talking about the trance a person is taken into when he watches “Trance”. Is it the same Fahadh Fazil, who was scorned and mocked at with “Kai Ethum Doorath”, and seen transform with Akam, Red Wine and Bangalore days… This movie has Fahadh at his best. The eyes and its glassiness will keep you on the edge of the seat. The energy will blow your minds and his acting will make you say… if only a little earlier for Malayalam movies, “If it had (Fahd) Fazil.

When technicians come together with a story in mind and hire the best of the best, this is what the result would be. A movie advised only for above 15 and parental discretion is advised as a fore note. Year 2020 has given us great movies in the first quarter itself. Some star lovers have called this movie “half baked” and “dragging in the second half” … so on and so forth. But when it comes to the style of storytelling, I would rate Trance to be a forerunner for many more stylish movies to follow.

From a man who donned the Director’s hat for movies like Rajamanikyam, Chotta Mumbai, Annan Thambi, Unni. R’s “Bridge” in Kerala Cafe, Ustad Hotel, “Aamy” in Anchu Sundharikal, this movie is a head turner. For a movie buff, this would be a sure attraction and adoration towards the daring attempt by a director with a sensitive topic. Kudos to the director for his work and style coupled with the seamless excellence in Cinematography by Amal Neerad.

Three years of hard work has paid off well as a stylish flick. Fahadh Faasil tops the list of attraction for this movie as Viju Prasad and Pastor Joshua Carlton. Nazriya Nazim who would be better off as a bubbly little girl doesn’t leave much impact as Esther Lopez. What Gautham Menon performed as Solomon, would make us believe that no one else could do it better. Soubin Shahir steals the show for a while as Mathaai. What more can you expect from an actor who carried Ambili on his shoulders well. Vinayakan is sure to shake you with his appearance as Thomaskutty, a devout believer and loving father. Chemban Vinod Jose as Isaac, will not make you think back of Jallikattu for sure. Dileesh Pothan as Avarachan, is the cherry on the cake and he too fill your minds when you leave the theatre. Sreenath Bhasi or Kunjan has a kunjan role but sure a very important one. Jinu Joseph from what he was in Ustaad Hotel to Anchaam pathira, here too as the Doctor, he has surely performed well. I see the trust Anwar Rasheed has in him. Srinda though a small part, has done it well, so that you carry a piece from her performance, back home. Dharmajan Bolgatty too deserves a mention when we talk about the different units of this film.

How a business is run is not the question here, but who and why are two questions which will travel with you after you watch the movie. I would rate it as a bold attempt to prove a person’s mettle. I wish every actor gets a chance to perform in movies such as this, where they can contribute the best. There was once a golden era of Malayalam cinema after the dark ages of matinee flicks. I feel Malayalam movies is on a comeback journey. I would like to hear from you what you bring home after you watch the movie and come back… Thanks to Vincent Vadakkan for the brilliance in writing and Rasool Pookkutty the maestro in sound scaping for sound perfection in the picture perfect film.

Trance… short for transcendental or is it a trance which it takes you to…. Question remains unanswered.

  • Kriss Venugopal

For those who missed …

Thanks to Sarita Ram and Siju Kumar for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts on National Television. “Sudinam” on DD Malayalam


For those who could not watch it … here is the link for watching it… Do let me know your feedback too… Thanks again…

March 8, 2020

Soft as the morning breeze, ravaging as a gale
Quenching the thirst as water, sharp as an ale
Caring as mother and showering love like a rain
Woman goes through stages of happiness and pain

Give her a smile bundled in love, not just today
I know, for a woman, today is a very special day
She is the shade, she is love, she walks your way
I share my smiles with you, to celebrate this day

Wishing a very Happy Women’s day …

A love story in the making …

As the rain started with a drizzle and the cool winds found its way into the room, Raghav was all set to write the story he was supposed to send to the magazine.

“Deadlines… yes, the name itself explains the feeling… dead lines… it kills the pleasure of writing,” thought Raghav as he sat down by the table near the window looking out at the evening sky. The clouds and the sunset gave the sky a hue which can never be put in words. He switched his laptop on and waited for it to start as he enjoyed the picturesque scene outside.

A few birds on the branch getting wet in the light rains, the leaves breaking the fall of the raindrops, the fragrance of the soil wet with rain, the smell of the moist flowers, the colors spread on the sky… Raghav was sure that he was going to write the loveliest of short stories on love. It was a teenage magazine and love was a very common subject. He quickly brushed his memory of all the love based books he had read, his college life, his friends who were couples, his love … hmmm all set, he thought

The system sprung into action as he opened Word to key in what was pouring from his heart. He started…

Ria had waited so long for that evening. The wait seemed endless till she heard the bell ring. She ran to open the doors to find Ravi drenched from head to toe. She did not think twice but ran into his arms. The first few years of marriage are the ones which make a person feel, he should be at home 24 X 7, maybe for some it would be more.

“You know what happened …” Ravi started talking about his trip, work, his achievements and all that came to his mind.

Ria heard nothing but music, music from her heart, seeing her beloved after a week. She looked at those eyes as he sipped the tea she had made, she looked at the wet towel which occasionally Ravi dried his hair and saw his lips move, the stubble, the nose, the gleaming skin… Ravi hardly knew Ria was not paying attention and continued with his tales of the tour.

Ria was nodding her head to whatever Ravi said preoccupied with thoughts about that night being different from the past seven nights when Ravi was away.

Ravi asked her, “Do you know what I got for you?” … and waited for the answer
Rai was again nodding her head… and Ravi called out “Ria.. Ria … baby”
Ria suddenly replied with a shock as if woken up from sleep “Ya”

Ravi knew what she longed for and put the travel bag to the side and spread his arms wide inviting her for a hug that she longed for. And Ria’s eyes filled with tears of joy as she got lost in the warmth of the hug. The silence was more musical with the beats of the rain outside in slow taps on the tin roof of the garage. Ria was melting away in love as they lay down to sleep.

“Did you miss me” asked Ravi naughtily

Ria on her side saw Ravi as the huge pillow she could sleep hugging all night. The left side of the bed was almost vacant as Ria was tugging on to Ravi on his side of the bed. With hands on his chest and fingers playing with the stubble and fingers searching for the lips to stop him from asking any more questions, her ear was keenly listening to the heartbeats…. Melodious music of love… she thought. The smell of freshly laundered night suit, the fragrance of the soap, the warmth….

“You never switch off the fan and lights when you leave a room… carry on… keep tapping on the computer, you don’t know how difficult it is to run a home …” Raghav was shocked at those statements from his wife Reshma…

“Back to reality …” he thought. Not able to continue writing, Raghav went to switch off the lights and fan, scratching his head and a silly frown on the face, as it continued to rain outside and Ravi and Ria still waiting in Raghav’s mind for him to tell them what would happen to them.

  • Kriss Venugopal

Who am I ?

I plead to accept me as who I am,
If not, one you see is not who I am;
Some want me slim some a trim,
Some, to see me proper & prim.

A few would like to see me formal,
Some feel I should be more normal;
Couple of them liked my beard long,
Some like me to sing a mellow song.

Doctors tell me to watch my diet
And friends to skip the said diet;
Some say greens bring glow to me
Some make fun of the me in me.

I try to see the smiles so I change,
Till there is nothing left in me to change.
But is it me who is living my life today
I still retain the christened name so to say.

But I feel lost since the day I heard spells
Someone asked me to be someone else;
I went on changing myself to live peace
I don’t know or see myself today with ease.

– Krishna Iyer

Bismil – Stole many hearts

One of the many whom we forgot, Ram Prasad Bismil was a man who inspired a man, who inspired millions – Bhagat Singh. The words of Bismil still lingers in our minds “Sarfaroshi ki tamannah … ab hamare dil mein hai…”

A freedom fighter who was involved in the historic Kakori train robbery is what many historians would write. But he stole a million hearts with his words. Born in 1897 at Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh to Muralidhar, Bismil was the name he adopted to write in Urdu.

He teamed with stalwarts like Ashfaqulla Khan, Chandrasekhar Azad, Bhagawati Charan, Rajguru and many more. In order spread awareness about the freedom struggle and gather people’s attention, he published a pamphlet named ‘A Message to My Countrymen’.

On 9th August 1925, Ram Prasad Bismil along with his men involved themselves in the Kakori train robbery. All except Chandrashekhar Azad, were arrested. Ram Prasad Bismil along with others were given capital punishment for the crime committed by the British Government and executed on 19th December 1927.

My efforts to remember him through his words ….

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में है

ए वतन करता नहीं क्यूँ दूसरा कुछ बातचीत,
देखता हूँ मैं जिसे वो चुप तेरी महफ़िल में है
ऐ शहीद-ए-मुल्क-ओ-मिल्लत, मैं तेरे ऊपर निसार,
अब तेरी हिम्मत का चर्चा ग़ैर की महफ़िल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

वक़्त आने पर बता देंगे तुझे, ए आसमान,
हम अभी से क्या बताएँ क्या हमारे दिल में है
खेँच कर लाई है सब को क़त्ल होने की उमीद,
आशिक़ोँ का आज जमघट कूचा-ए-क़ातिल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

है लिए हथियार दुशमन ताक में बैठा उधर,
और हम तैयार हैं सीना लिये अपना इधर.
ख़ून से खेलेंगे होली गर वतन मुश्किल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

हाथ, जिन में हो जुनून, कटते नहीं तलवार से,
सर जो उठ जाते हैं वो झुकते नहीं ललकार से.
और भड़केगा जो शोला सा हमारे दिल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

हम तो घर से ही थे निकले बाँधकर सर पर कफ़न,
जाँ हथेली पर लिये लो बढ़ चले हैं ये कदम.
जिन्दगी तो अपनी मेहमाँ मौत की महफ़िल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

यूँ खड़ा मक़्तल में क़ातिल कह रहा है बार-बार,
क्या तमन्ना-ए-शहादत भी किसी के दिल में है?
दिल में तूफ़ानों की टोली और नसों में इन्क़िलाब,
होश दुश्मन के उड़ा देंगे हमें रोको न आज.
दूर रह पाए जो हमसे दम कहाँ मंज़िल में है,

जिस्म भी क्या जिस्म है जिसमें न हो ख़ून-ए-जुनून
क्या लड़े तूफ़ान से जो कश्ती-ए-साहिल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में है

Jai Hind!


Try reading these lines with a smile, then with a frown, then with surprise and then with disgust:

“I know … You can do it”

That’s the limitation of the written word. If there is no voice to a line, it means something other than what it should or what it was meant to be by the author. Voice acting is an art of giving life to a body of words and each person can treat it different. The modulation, the stress, the breath, each one gives the words a new meaning. Around the world, there are many voice artists or voice actors who have been giving life to characters or the written word.

Imagine a movie where Morgan Freeman or Amitabh Bachchan renders a narration. The narration would remain iconic forever, as they are the people chosen to give even voice to the unseen God in certain films. Have you seen the movie “Book Thief”, Based on a book of the same name by Markus Zusak, directed by Brian Percival. The movie is taken forward by the award winning actor Roger Allam, the narrator who has given his voice to “Death”. Even death starts alluring you, for the beauty of his voice. But, what about the others who have been unsung and remain so even now. Many actresses win awards based on the screen rendition done by voice artists. Hence the endeavor to elucidate the importance of life, as an art of voice acting or better to put it as the ineffaceable link between life and voice.

Every day we have been using our voice to convey our deep feelings,  whether it is love, hate, anger, dismay, stress or even happiness and excitement. But we have never tried to use it as a profession or seen its potential in a profession. Voice acting is such a talent which is hidden in every individual from the time he starts speaking. It is an inherent quality of a human. Even those who cannot speak have a voice – the inner voice, which speaks to us in different ways, like a voice actor.

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’
then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
– Vincent Van Gogh (The famous artist)

So there is enough and more importance to voice acting in life. It is a means to effective communication. The basic talent is the voice; the rest can be trained to suit the needs. The texture of the voice, the modulation, the stress, quality of rendition and pronunciation, all are factors which have to be taken into consideration but can be trained if you have the passion to pursue your voice. The field is vast and encompasses Voice for Radio commercials, TV commercials, Movie Dubs, Tele sales, Emceeing, Presentations, Singing at times, Cartoon voicing, and even telling a story to your child. But in every profession, you need a voice to suit your stature. Even if it is over the telephone or radio, we try to give a face to the voice, haven’t you? Think about the last time you ordered a pizza, if the voice was not pleasant enough, the chances are that you won’t call that restaurant anymore; which goes to say that Voice acting is not just a profession, but life itself.

Think about a corporate head with a meek voice. Would he gather the attention he really ought to have? The respect we give a person is also judged by his or her voice. Would you prefer to work with a team leader with a great voice or a ludicrous voice? The answer is obvious. But the fact remains that every voice can be trained to be better.

My ex-boss, Mr. Dinesh Bhaskar, corrected me once while I was on the phone. He said to me the lesson that changed my life: “You don’t smile when you receive calls… but do you know that is you smile the person on the other end of the line actually sees you smiling, and otherwise if you are not”. So even adding a smile to a voice can change the outlook of the person hearing it. Other than the smile, there are other factors which can mould voices. Basic warming up, with relaxation techniques and the choice of tone, will all change the person’s image in the mind of the receiver.

Hardly do many know that with more amount of air while voice acting would generate the positive emotions and lesser the negative. A calm soothing voice can prevent aggression in an office and a powerful voice, which can be from the same person, can bring about the change required. The control of breath in Yoga is called not Swashayama (Control of breath) but Pranayama (Control of life). So the bare essentials of being a voice artist, a corporate employer or employee, remain to be having a voice and the ability to control breath and emotions.

Being a voice actor myself, many a time, I have faced difficulty in understanding what needs to be conveyed. So I would reiterate the fact that it is not an easy task. But with practice, the art can be mastered to give it what is required, just as living life is all about. So I can boldly say I train people to live, but in fact, I train people in voice acting. In the corporate world, if you delete the word acting, the rest says it all. Be the voice of the future corporate world, by living your life to the fullest and training your voice.

Kris Iyer