Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Goodbye JJ

It was 1994, we were in Chennai for my father's upcoming surgery. My first trip to India.

We were staying at Poes Garden Road where both Jayalalithaa and Rajnikanth lived.

One evening as we were walking back from Sangeetha after dinner, the roads were cordoned off from people, no one could cross or drive past. Amma was on her way.

My karunanithi and MGR loving father wasn't amused (yes apparently they could love both). I was amused we couldn't even cross the road. 30 minutes later, sirens blarred and I had my first and only glimpse of the first female CM of Tamilnadu.

I laughed out loud coz she was sitting in between 2 black cats jutting out of the window with their behinds facing her.

She lost the next term and after another trip in 1995, we never returned to India till she was back in power. Funnily we seemed to be in Chennai only with Jayalalitha as a CM. I don't think my father was amused with that.

While politics was a staple conversation at home, my political views had only began forming in the last few years.

But it was in the last decade that I began admiring her. Here was a woman, who had stormed her male dominated party, and made them declare her as their leader. That too in a country and state where the female goddesses were revered and women treated as second class citizens.

She had balls. No matter what was thrown at her, she always never gave up and pushed to rise above. And she spoke eloquently in Tamil and English.

The musical political chair AIADMK and DMK used to play came to end when she won 2 consecutive terms and became the CM for a third time.

Every time the other side came to power, someone got arrested, education systems changed. She ever the advocate of English in public schools and he Tamil. Imagine books, syllabus all would be changed every time the other side took over.

The last decade has seen TN grow under her.

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to the news of her demise and couldn't go back to sleep. Today an era ends.

This was the female leader the world should be looking up to. For she had to rise and execute her plans in a male chauvinistic political scene. Things were not just given to her.

She didn't have a family name nor people backing her. Her rise as first an actor and then a politician was her own hardwork.

But rise she did.

Goodbye JJ. There may never be another like you.

ps: written early this morning

Monday, August 29, 2016

Man in the mirror

In 1988, Michael Jackson released - the man in the mirror. That wasn't the song that made me a fan. It was Beat It from Thriller in 1982. I still remember watching wide eyed as video with that parking lot scene unfolded in front of me. I don't remember how old I was but it is one of my earliest memories and have since been a fan of the pop king - Michael Jackson. But his song - man in the mirror. I have tried to live to those words all my life for I truly belive - change begins with the man in the mirror. Happy birthday MJ. Don't think I'll ever stop missing you. I'm gonna make a change For once in my life It's gonna feel real good Gonna make a difference Gonna make it right As I, turn up the collar on My favorite winter coat This wind is blowing my mind I see the kids in the streets With not enough to eat Who am I to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs A summer disregard, a broken bottle top And a one man soul They follow each other on the wind ya' know 'Cause they got nowhere to go That's why I want you to know I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change1 I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love It's time that I realize That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone? A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart And a washed-out dream They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see 'Cause they got no place to be That's why I'm starting with me I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make that Change! I'm starting with the man in the mirror (Oh yeah!) I'm asking him to change his ways (Better change!) No message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make the change) You gotta get it right, while you got the time You can't close your, your mind! (Then you close your, mind!) That man, that man, that man, that man With the man in the mirror (Man in the mirror, oh yeah!) That man, that man, that man I'm asking him to change his ways (Better change!) No message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself and then make the change Oh no, no no I'm gonna make a change It's gonna feel real good! Chime on! (Change) Just lift yourself You know You've got to stop it Yourself! (Yeah! Make that change!) I've got to make that change, today! Hoo! (Man in the mirror) You got to You got to not let yourself Brother Hoo! (Yeah! Make that change!) You know, I've got to get That man, that man (Man in the mirror) You've got to move! Chime on! Chime on! You got to Stand up! Stand up! Stand up! (Yeah! Make that change) Stand up and lift yourself, now! (Man in the mirror) You know it! You know it! You know it! You know it (Change) Make that change

V-Eyez Imagery
My photography blog
V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Paal vadhiyum mugam

One of my favourite krishna songs. The thing with Krishna is, there is a song for every human emotion that relates back to him. Be it a mothers love for the little Krishna with milk flowing down his lips or for the Radhe in love with her Krishna. This song by Ootukadu Venkata Subbaiyer starts with a mothers love and rest can be interpreted as you want or your emotions then

paal vadiyum mugam ninainthu ninainthu en uLLam paravasam migavaaguthE kaNNaa - my heart leaps with joy as I see your beautiful face stained by milk neelak kadal pOlum niraththazhagaa - with skin as blue of the ocean, you are so beautiful enthan nenjam kudi koNda anRu mudhal inRum enthap poruL kaNdum sinthanai sellAdhozhiya - you rule my heart and nothing can move my thoughts away from you vaana mugattil saRRu manam vanthu nOkkinum un mona mugam vanthu thONudhE - in the nook of my heart, at a moments thought, your beautiful moon like face appears theLi vaana thaNNeer thadaththil en sinthanai maaRinum un siriththa mugam vanthu kaaNudhE saRRu - i see your beautiful smilling reflection in the clear pool of water gaanak kuyil kuralil karuththu amainthidinum angum un gaanak kuzhal Osai mayakkudhE - even as the birds sing, the beautiful sound of your flute, mesmerises me karutta kuzhalodu niRutta mayiliRag-iRukki amaitta tiRattilE - with a flute, and a peacock feather in your hair, gAna mayilADum mOnakkuyil pADum nIla nadiyOdum vanattilE - in a forest filled with dancing peacocks, singing birds, by the blue river kuzhal mudal ezhilisai kuzhaiya varum isaiyil kuzhlodu miLir iLang-karattilE - there in the midst of the forest music, your beautiful flute mesmerises us kadirum madiyum ena nayana vizhigal iru naLinamAna salanattilE - and your eyes dance to the tune of your music, as we stand mesmerised by the haunting music and your expressive eyes kaLinga sirattilE kaditta padittilE en manattai iruttik - There you are standing thriumphly on Kalingan's head, holding my breath and soul with it kanavu ninaivinodu piRavi piRavi tORum kaninduruga varam taruga param karuNai - i wish to be reborn in every birth with all these thoughts in my mind, oh please grant me this wish, oh kind benevolent one Ah what beautiful lyrics. Didn't post the song to translate this but as i was listening to it felt a need to translate the gem that it is. Btw there is an appropriate age for a dancer to do each Krishna. I find it very disconcerting to see a child dance and express radhes passionate love for Krishna. (yes it happens)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Good luck LCW, no matter what we MALAYSIANS are behind you

Tonight the world will witness one of the most celebrated rivalry in the history of badminton.
Lee Chong Wei vs Lin Dan
Our very own Lee Chong Wei or as we fondly refer to as LCW, is ranked no 1 worldwide while Lin Dan stands at third.
Yet there is a very interesting chemistry between both and what we Malaysians call the most nerve wrecking game.
If you watched LCW quarter finals game, you'll realise he is cool as a cucumber on the court. Yet its like theres a mental block everytime he meets Lin Dan who has won most of the games they have played against in.
Every single time they get together, it is so nerve wrecking, I am refusing to watch tonights game as I don't think I can take the pressure.
But I want Lee Chong Wei to win this game, and I am going to sit somewhere and read tweets and hope he wins.
I want Lee Chong Wei to retire with an Olympic gold medal. And that was why I like many other Malaysian was rooting for Indias Srikanth when he met Lin Dan in the QF.
This is his and Lin Dan's last Olympic. This game is one of those semi finals that are greater that the finals. one of those semi final meets that we hope were Finals but alas fate often doesn't give us what we want.
Lee Chong Wei is a hero for every Malaysian. Regardless of the outcome tonight, he has our hearts. He has throughout his career been an absolute inspiration.
I met him a few years ago during a Merdeka parade. He was a quiet, humble man who obliged every fan who rushed to take a photo with him. And that is why I hope he gets his Olympic gold. He more than deserves it.
Good luck LCW, no matter what we MALAYSIANS are behind you.

V-Eyez Imagery
My photography blog
V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Malaysians you guys rock

Dear Berita Harian and Kosmo, or whoever else who has decided to write a negative post on our awesome Olympic heroes chan peng soon and goh liu ying silver medal win - THANKS.

Coz if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have woken up to Malaysians of all races and walks of life, standing UNITED to thrash you guys.

So thank you for that cheap publicity attempt, you have just proven what I've always said - despite everything MALAYSIANS are amazing beautiful people who will stand up for their fellow MALAYSIANS when it matters.

Malaysians you guys rock. Stand united always, don't let words break us, instead stand together, remember we are brothers and sisters regardless of race, colour or gender.

V-Eyez Imagery
My photography blog
V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

So tell me Malaysians, are you FANS or SPECTATORS?

It was the 1998 commonwealth games.

‪#‎Malaysia‬ played host to the games that year which coincidentally took place very near to where i lived.

While all the euphoria was happening. One of the greatest achievements of our Malaysian athletes was unfolding before us. Our mens hockey team was advancing ahead.

On 17 September 1998, Malaysia beat Canada 2-1 to top Pool B and head into the quarter finals. Malaysians started flooding every single game thereafter and it was entirely impossible to get tickets.

We had been trying to get tickets but couldn't get a single one.

And then on 19 September, Malaysia beat one of the top favourites that year India 1-0, in the Semi Finals to advance to the Finals. the country erupted with euphoria.

And somehow we finally got tickets to the final match on Sunday, 20th September 1998 where Malaysia was to meet Australia. And we were a big group of Indians, friends of friends, i think about 20 of us.

All of us were carrying the Malaysian flag and were one boisterous bunch. Somehow we ended up sitting right behind the Australian teams side bench and there we were waving our Malaysian flag and chanting Malaysia, Malaysia, Malaysia non stop!!!

We were so loud, the Australian team kept looking at us on and off while waiting for the game to start, and we sheepishly smiled and waved back.

The stadium was flooded with hysterical fans, with groups sporting the kompang* and playing their hearts out, riling us fans even further. We were there to support our team, our Malaysians who had done the unimaginable to reach the finals of the coveted Commenwealth games. The whole stadium was filled with Malaysians that day.

Alas the gold was not ours to be. We actually got thrashed by Australia 4 - 0.

I remember the first time Australia scored, we were all still hopeful, cheering the team on. We were thinking its ok just one goal. When the second goal went in, some of us were still hopeful. But by the time the third goal entered, the stadium was eerie and we were slumped in our chairs. most of the spectators started leaving. Our group continued to stay on. By the time the fourth goal went in, most spectators had left. we decided to stay on and cheer them on during the medal giveaway.

Our boys had come far, they were not even on our list of hopeful medal tallys. How could we abandon them now just for losing the final game? THEY still won us the SILVER!!!!

But of course spectators will be just that. We on the other hand were fans.

When the Malaysia team took the podium to receive the silver medal. We loudly cheered them on, standing on our feet and clapping as hard as possible as we were the few remaining people in the stadium. And our voices reached them and all the teams turned to look back at us.

Of course there's always one crazy guy in the group. That was when one guy decided to scream at the top of his lungs - "I love you (a players name, can't remember who) can I have your shirt, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

We practically scrambled to sit down at that point from embarrassment. Anyway to the 1998 Commenwealth games Malaysian Hockey Team - that was us.

The reason I'm writing this today is coz this morning we woke up to the amazing news that our Mixed badminton doubles team just advanced to the Olympics finals after Chan Peng Soon - Goh Yiu Ling beat the team from China.

They will face Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir in Wednesdays final.

This is a historic moment for us as they have already won us a confirmed first medal in the mixed doubles category in badminton. To me THEY are already winners and we can only get further from here. All you need to do is give them your undying support no matter what happens on Wednesday.

Whether Malaysian wins its first ever Olympic gold doesn't matter, what we as MALAYSIANS do matters.

Don't walk away, don't boo them, don't put them down with words anywhere. Give them your support. Stand up and clap, raise the Jalur Gemilang and wave it proudly.

Regardless of what happens, Chan Peng Soon - Goh Yiu Ling are already our winning heroes.

I have no doubt we will celebrate this together somewhere, in a mamak or at wherever they show this game. But i need you to not leave the arena, no matter what happens.


So tell me Malaysians, are you FANS or SPECTATORS?

kompang - malay drum

V-Eyez Imagery
My photography blog
V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The wonders of Seven

The wonders of Seven
Where do I begin? Should I start by waxing lyricals on the amazing music or that the dance was so divine, the mother goddess herself decided to dance for us?

Sapthashree presented by the talented dancers of Suvarna Fine Arts and its founder Ajith Bhaskar Dass was an evening of enthralling music and exhilarating dance.

I first watched Suvarna in 2010 during Raghava Yadha as part of the dance reviews I was writing for Asiadancechannel and have since been a fan of the stories that Ajith brings in his dance productions.
This year’s exhilarating combination of dance and music brought me back to the memories of another Suvarna production, the haunting music of Vishmaya Vriksha in 2011 by G.S. Rajan, T.S. Lazar & Achutyan Shashidaran Nair or Bhumi Pranam by Achutyan Shashidaran Nair in 2012.

There is no dance without music for it is only with music than the dancers efforts shine as the music stirs your soul and the dance awakens your imagination.

This year Ajith took to the team of 7 or saptha and presented 4 dance numbers in a continuous programme. This is something I’ve always found interesting with Suvarna productions. That he takes one core unit and weaves different stories and experiences into a production. The number has numerous references in the Indian mythology right down to the fact that Triputha thala is a set of 7 beats – takita takadhmi.

Divine Music

Soul wrenching.

That was what the music was. The music composers K. Venkateshwaran (who was also the vocalist for the production) and Dr S Vasudevan have done such an amazing job with the music. Every point or expression they wanted to emphasis through their music was clearly encapsulated in the tunes and lyrics. They seemed to have pandered to every creative request of the dance director, the music dances on its own, vibrating through the soul. Both the Saptha Shakthi and Saptha Tarangini are stunning original compositions, so beautifully rich and so emotionally stirring. K. Venkateshwaran brought out the musics beautiful essence in his soulful rendition of his creation.  At some points of the performance, I wasn’t sure of whom to watch, the musicians or the dancers. Both were equally dazzling.

He was amply supported by the brilliant nattuvangist Sajilal Narayanan who added even more drama to the performance. Achyuthan Sashidaran Nair on the violin was as brilliant as usual. Any performance with him on the musician list, is always a delight to the years. I was surprised at Theban Arumugams mirdangam playing. He was excellent this time as compared to when I heard him years ago in a similar setting. Matching the dancers rhythmic adavus with his crisp beats on the mirdangam that were a story on its own.

The weakest link to me was the Veena playing by Jayalakshmi Premkumar in the opening. In a very crucial part of the opening mayamalava gowla piece, she was playing off thala and that threw of the dancers briefly in that section. But she more than made up for that in the beautiful thanam she played in Saptha Tarangini. I was so engrossed in the moody thanam that, the emcees announcement came at such an unfortunate moment. Perhaps for that piece alone, they should not have the emcee reciting her script as it breaks the beautiful silence that was in that Thanam.

Though not as prominent as I would have hoped for a Kanjira sound, Kuhanathan Nanthakumar added his presence wherever was necessary in the music.

The emcee Meena Kumaree who was also the producer of the show, has been an integral voice to the introductions of Suvarna’s performances. So unless for that one moment, her voice and explanation is often a welcome addition to the production. Offering just the right amount of information prelude to each dance segment.

Saptha Dwani
The evening began with Saptha Dwani as 7 maidens appeared on the raised dias to represent the 7 swarangal (music notes) of Carnatic music. And so Shadjam, Rishabam, Gandharam, Madhyamam, Panchamam, Dhaivatham and Nishadam were artistically portrayed as the musicians sang in the raga Mayamalava gowla in adhi thalam.

And what better way to pay tribute to the 7 swaras, than to dance to Saint Thyagaraja’s SHobilu Saptaswara set to ragam Jaganmohini, Rupakam thalam.

The Thygaraja kriti is sung in praise of the 7 divine notes of music that glows to the core of the human body, shining through the vedas and holds the heart of humans and the divine celestials.  

The dancers weaved and danced to the notes of raga Jaganmohini and blazed the stage away. I especially loved when they weaved the gayathri manthra into the phrase “vara gayathri” that comes in the Charanam.

Saptha Shakti
I had read with interest that they eventually composed this piece from scratch as they weren’t able to find one song that captured what they wanted to showcase. And what a delight the song was. Set to thala misra chapu, the ragamalika started in Brindavani and travelled through raga Bibhaas, Kedar, Durga, Basant, Megh Malhar, Surya and finally ending in the electrifying verses of Revathi. On stage as the music flowed we saw 7 devis emerge on stage – Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Maahendri, Kaumari, Varahi and Chamundi.   

This was my favourite piece of the evening as I have barely seen Ajith explored the Devi theme in his dance. Ganga ma yes but I am so used to seeing him doing different versions of the Yadhava prince that this was such a delight to watch.

Each of the dancers were given an opportunity to shine as a Devi. Each doing the role they were given extremely well. But that is what Ajith seems to bring out in his dancers, a need to excel and the confidence that is needed to hold such roles.

However the moment the young dancer Haridivya Muralitharan stood on stage, it was Kaumari herself that I saw – the one who blesses her devotees with power and confidence. Three devi’s showed us their presence that night, to dance in the the dancers who took their form, and this was the first of the three moments I experienced that evening.

And then Chamundi emerges on stage as the singers electrified the room with the raga revathi. Devi Chamundi had merged within the young dancer and it was she we saw dance on stage. The goddess that is at once fearsome and compassionate and protective of her devotees. As she crossed over and leaped over the dancers, her eyes gleamed in magnetism that made you gasp in shock.

The dancer Logeshwari Durairaj was new to me as I had not seen her in the senior line up of Suvarna dancers before. I am told she and Haridivya, have both been part of the productions for many years but usually in the ensemble section.

This is what I have always loved in Suvarna’s productions. Despite being an excellent dancer who could do the whole production by himself, he has continued to include his dancers and students into every production, giving each one ample opportunity to shine, and often taking the stepping into the shadows and giving them the main spot. We will not have been able to witness such talent and divine presence if it was not for the trust and encouragement only a Guru such as Ajith could do.

Costumes in a Suvarna production is always excellent. From hair to fan to the colours of the costumes, everything is often looked into. Similarly in this piece the dancers are wearing beige costumes with red and green checker pleats. But what was visually stunning was when they turned, the back of the pleats was a bright red pleat that stood out in the excellent lighting design by KRSS. Lighting is so important in any dance performance and sometimes not given enough emphasis. So it is extremely delightful to see the light shine on its own in the different pieces. In this for example there was a lot of shadow light play to emphasise the devis. That created stunning visuals for the audience.

Saptha Rasayati
After that exquisite dramatic performance, Ajith took us on a light hearted journey of a theme I have seen in many of his productions – love and the yadhava prince. But what is interesting is that despite it being a theme at every production, no one performance or choreography has been the same.

Saptha Rasayati was set to chatusra jathi Atta talam, in the ragas Nagaswaravali, Chandrajyothi, Vasantha, Vaasanti and Reeti goula.

Ajith emerges on stage as the playful cupid and shoots his arrows into Krishna and Radha – the stage of love awakening was beautifully portrayed by Parthiben Sethu and again Logeshwari Durairaj.
Now I noticed Parthiben Sethu as an addition to the senior Suvarna dancers line up a few productions back. He is a dancer to be watched. There is a sense of innocence, genuine emotions in his expressions. And their pairing for this segment was a perfect one as both were young and were able to beautifully portray the awakening of love and what follows, the teasing period of new love – kadal udalgal.

One of the beautiful parts of the lighting was the appearance of the moon on the blue screen. It was a perfect addition as Radha and Krishna danced to the tune of the beautiful music.

This was then followed by Krishna flirting with the gopikas much to the chagrin of Radha, and then Radha erupts in anger and leaves Krishna. A remorseful Krishna searches for Radha as she recupriates and eventually forgives Krisha as their love is reawakened in their unification.

Each stage of these emotions is portrayed by different pairs of Krishna and Radha. With all 4 male dancers taking turns to play a different kind of Krishna. It was a delight to see these different stages of Krishna expertly played by the Suvarna dancers.

I loved that they included the classic Krishna tune “Chinna kannan azhaikiran” in the final verse which is set to Reethi Gowlai.

I have not written much about the senior line up of Suvarna nor on Ajiths performance simply because they have always been talented dancers and shined in each role that was given to them. As I said before, the Suvarna productions are performances I truly look forward to watching as it has always been dazzling full blown dance and music showcases.

Sapta Tarangini
The final piece of the evening was a tribute to the 7 holy rivers of India. The original composition was set as a Talamallika in the raagam Sindhubhairavi in lyrics of the 7 rivers location.

Saraswathi ....Jampa..sanskrit
Yamuna.....Tripuda..braj baasha

Again the music composition excelled here. As I had already mentioned the opening Veena thanam set such a beautiful tone to the song. You could feel the rivers course flow through the music according to their attributes. Similarly the dance was choreographed to match the intensity of each river.

Loved how Ajith had weaved the rivers flow into the formation for Narmadha or how they referenced the invisible river Saraswathi in the choreography as there’s a lightness to the dance in this segment.

What’s interesting is I have seen Ajith do the theme of rivers before and the fact that he manages to do a totally different choreography for the theme is pretty brilliant.

Ajit does a beautiful solo in the Sindhu nadhi segment of the dance and the music at this point is absolutely stunning.

And then Ganga ma herself descends from heaven to sweep us into her embrace just as she does every devotee that chants jai ganga ma before dipping into the holy river Ganga in Varanasi. She is at once strong, yet she holds you in the flow of her waters, comforting her devotees as only the hug of a mother can.

The dance coordination and formations at this point were just superb and then Ajith took us to the next stage as he transported the audience to Varanasi for one of the most beautiful sights one will experience in Varanasi – the evening Ganga Arathi. So there I sat, once again rocking gently on a boat on the pitch dark river as the 7 dancers gently paid tribute to Ganga ma with their arathis as the bell tolled from the orchestra. What a moment that was.

And with that, the evening ended with a gasp of flashback to Varanasi that I am sure anyone who has been there would have experienced. Thank you for transporting us back for that brief moment – for the greatest achievement of a dancer or musician is the ability to make us feel or experience an emotion and that was what the evening of Sapthashree was to me.

As I’m typing this I’m sitting and wondering when will I hear the exhilarating music from that production again?

Let me ask Suvarna the same thing I asked MPO recently, could you please make it available for us to purchase the DVD of the music or production as I find it frustrating that all I have is bits and pieces of memories of these amazing shows and no way to relive them. I grew up to be a fan of the music of Queens simply by listening to music of his live shows something that the indian classical music fraternity refuses to embrace. Every single live concert I go for, there’s numerous reminders of please do not record the show but where do we go to relisten to those stunning moments that is only capable to be captured in a live show? How do we rehear these amazing original compositions and arrangements if it is not available to be heard ever again?

Either post it online or make it available for purchase.

All you have to do is post a note on the availability of the DVD to be purchased post show on Facebook and I am sure there a rasikas like me who will be clamouring to buy a copy and you will have enough orders to make copies.

This post will not be possible without the help of Meena Kumaree, who graciously took time to answer my questions and send me all the details on the production. Thank you so much for that.

 ps: photo is not mine

V-Eyez Imagery
My photography blog
V-Eyez Imagery on Facebook

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Detailed Explanation of Kabali Movie

If you want to understand Kabali from a Malaysian Indian perspective, read this. I am a Malaysian Indian.
Note 1 If you are from India and don’t know anything about Malaysians, read this before you watch the movie. 2 If you know somewhat of Malaysian culture, read this after the movie and then go watch again. 3 If you are a Malaysian, watch the movie and then read this. Introduction First of all these last few generations of Malaysian Indians are not Indian migrants. We were born in Malaysia. We look Indian but we are Malaysians who identify with the Indian culture through religion and ancestral link. I am a 5th generation Malaysian, my family (from Tamilnadu) has been here since the 18th century. Kabali is our story. The story of indian Malaysians and not indian imigrants who now come to work in Malaysia or NRIs. We are not same. I realised a lot of reviews are being written based on indian cultural experience rather than the actual Malaysian culture and issues. Pa Ranjith has created a brilliant movie which is very much a gift to the people of Malaysia (which appears in the credits). The movie is a realistic fiction that takes into account historical issues as well as current issues and put so many things into one movie, while staying commercial, and politically safe. Yes the movie is very much politically safe as it mainly focuses on only one side of our problems – commercial side. This was a brilliant move as if he hadn’t the movie would have been banned in Malaysia. The movie spans different incidents and parts that took place in the last 70 years or so. Pa Ranjith has taken bits and pieces of actual history and incorporated them into his characters and story. I am going to try an explain how Pa Ranjith took 100 years of Indian Malaysian history and made it into a 152 minute movie. Language Our Tamil is different from whats spoken in Tamilnadu. The script in Kabali actually uses our Tamil slangs and words. Furthermore, we actually speak a more purer Tamil than in Chennai as our Tamil is stuck to about 100 years or so when the British brought Indians to work in Plantations as labourers. We say gaadi – you say carru for example (which means car). There are more English words in Tamilnadu Tamil than in Malaysian Tamil which has different categories. A very pure Tamil is spoken on Minnal FM(our local tamil radio station), basically no english words are used. Then there is the one that average indians speak and a very street one which the movie refers too. Kabali link – There is even a moment in the movie where Kabali lightly laughs off the confusion in the meaning of saruku in the movie. In Malaysia – saruku refers to women. In Tamilnadu it means alcohol. Kabali link – A lot of the language down to pronunciation is accurately Malaysian Indian. For once someone got the lah mostly right. Some other Malaysian Tamil slang words in the movie Saavadi – super Terukva – moosama Kosong kosong – zero zero (kabali’s gang name is 00) Gaadi – car katthai - gun Poona azhagu – very beautiful Semmai – awesome Nasi – rice Tea-tanni – tea/ caya Pasiyariyacha – have you eaten breakfast (this is an old tamil word) Kampong – village Teh tarik – tea that has been pulled Amava – is it Adala kozhikari – theres a treat today. Sadaiyan – chinese Paiykirathu – use panrathu (another old tamil word) Maathirai – drugs Kuuthali – friends KL town – Kuala lumpur city Ktown – kajang town Masuk – intro or enter into a moment scene. Caste Most Indian Malaysians are from south India – tamilnadu, Andhra, kerala, Punjab and a small community of north Indians. There are also Pakistanis, srilankan tamils. We are all categorised as Malaysian Indian. The movie refers to the south Indian Malaysians who all speak tamil regardless of their mother tongue. In Malaysia, not being able to speak in Tamil is considered a weakness. Also not all estate workers were lower caste (as historians like to write) but jobs were segregated by caste and village hieraki. The mandurs (head of estates) were usually head of villages or the rich in india. If you drive down to Kuala Selangor, most of the indian plantation workers there are kaunders. With families having moved as villages to Malaysia. Farmers in Cameron highlands till today are mostly kaunders as well. Caste inter marriages have been happening from as far as my great grandparents time though it was opposed then. Opposition often was of a tamil marrying a telugu, or even say a kaunder marrying a chettiar, and so forth even before reaching the lower caste part. By the 70s it was much more common though it was still opposed, and also saw fewer families asking for dowry and instead the culture of sharing the cost of weddings began. Today inter caste marriages, inter race marriages are common and is now practiced by most. Kabali link - For example in Kabali, there is no reference to what caste kabali is. Only that her family opposed as they were vereh jathi. So it could mean that kabalis wife was not from tamilnadu or a different caste in tamilnadu. And not necessarily means Kabali is a dalit. Another separate issue is that historically the Sri Lankan Tamil (Ceylonese) who were mostly brought in by british as clerks as opposed to most south indians (not all share the same story though) arriving as plantation labourers (estate workers), have a history of thinking they are a higher class than the south Indians due to social status (classism) and skin colour. However while caste is not openly discussed today, it is still held on to by some and is brought up during marriage or in arguments. Inter religion might be a bigger problem now than inter caste at this point. KABALI link - At the climax of Kabali, Veerasekaran insults kabali not only from a caste angle but also from a class angle (kabali was a poor estate worker before moving to KL Town). Earlier Tamilnesan’s (former 00 leader) son insults kabali (who was now 00 leader) as “unehlam vithuku ulla vithuruka kudathu.” In the olden days (50s), other castes mainly lower castes were not allowed into homes. Kabali flashback Kabali rises to fame for uprising a movement asking for equal wages for indian workers to be the same as chinese workers. History of Malaysians Indians before the 18th century Indian or to be exact Kalinga’s (Orissa, Andhra Pradesh) have been trading with South East Asians for centuries. You can see these details in Orissa Musuem. Some merchants remained and married with the locals. They were referred to as kalingans’s which eventually became the derogatory term for Malaysian Indians – Keling. Kabali link – Keling is mentioned and censored in the climax scene in Malaysia. History of Malaysian Indians (circa late 18th century, ww2) Historically the Indians who were brought here by the british to work in plantations in the early 19th century were given set wages and lived in homes that were not theirs. Later the British brought chinese labourers to work in the plantations who earned higher wages and were free to move around and build settlements. So the Indians continued to be contracted at low wages and faced eviction if they left. Durring ww2, the Japanese forced a high number of Malaysians (Indians and Malays) to work at the death railways in Thailand. They were the highest casualty of the death railway (42k out of estimated 90k). Interesting point while at one point there were 4 million Indians in Malaysia (prior to independence), death, war and mass return to india (happens a few times in our history), by 1957 (Malaysia’s year of independence) the Indian population numbered only 820, 270 of which 62.1% was local born. Also while the majority of south Indians arrived as labourers not all share the same history. At the height of British occupation and economic advancement in Malaysian in the 18th century, merchants began arriving on invites or tempted by news that reach back about – “pon villayum bumi, malainadu.” - the rich, mountainous land. They arrived in malaysia with families and built parts of kl, penang, perak there are big chetiar communities in different parts of the country. The main big temples in the city are historically linked to different castes but none of these is mentioned or portrayed in the movie. Indian muslims also arrived as traders, mostly starting food restaurants – nasi kandar. http://www.newmandala.org/aliens-in-the-land-indian-migrant-workers-in-malaysia/ http://www.newmandala.org/aliens-in-the-land-indian-migrant-workers-in-malaysia-part-2/ After ww2, the british returned to find more outspoken Indians (ignited by the INA led by Subhash Chandra Bose) began demanding for better rights, wages and nationality That’s when the All Malayan Rubber Workers Council (AMRWC) led by SVK Moorthi (the President of the Selangor Estate Workers Trade Union) who were fighting for higher wages for estate workers organised a nationwide strike on august 25, 1947. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2475&context=etd history of daily wages after 1968 http://www.indianmalaysian.com/plantation_workers.htm Another point – The 1968 Employment Restrictions Act, which required Malaysian employers to get work permits for non-citizen workers, resulted in thousands of Indian and Chinese plantation workers being forced to leave the country. What is not portrayed in the movie but theres a silent reference as Amir describes changes in kl to the prison returned Kabali – the fact that as commodity prices dropped, estates were sold and many bonded indian estate workers not only lost jobs but also homes. They eventually ended up in slums and lower cost flats in the city with very little education as education of estate children was not a british priority. Also nothing refers to MIC – the indian political party https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_Indian_Congress KABALI link - Nassers character and that gathering where he addresses a big crowd (at dataran merdeka) seems to pay homage to SVK Moorthi and the fight for higher wages. In the movie Kabali was inspired by Tamilnesan and organised the uprising in his own estate before joining him in the city and eventually taking over. Please note AMRWC were not gangsters but a union that fought for the rights of plantation workers. Also the fight for wages in the lowest income group continues till today under different ppl. Arul from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is one such leader today. Gangsters leading the change and fighting for rights which is the basis of kabali is a fictional element to create continuity in the story.
However timeline for this homage is not historical. As there is a photo of Malaysia’s first prime minister (Tunku) moment of independence declaration behind Nasser or Rajni (can’t remember who). So that dates that point in the movie to post independence. kabali link - Also in the movie Kabali says a line that is similar to a quote by then labour activist Y.K. Menon “We are Indians and slaves to nobody.” Jeeva’s mother references the historical mass return to India when she explains to kabali about Jeevas fathers whearebouts during the cemetery scene. Temple demolitions This is an ongoing issue faced by Malaysian Indians and is one of the few reference to the political issues the community has with the government that is slipped into the movie. Kabali link - In kabali flashback, theres a scene where kabali stops a temple demolition. Whats brilliant is Pa ranjith places it in the flashback part in order to not get the movie banned. Gangsterism, Drugs in Malaysia Drugs Opium has been recorded to have been smoked by chinese labourers from way back in the 19th century and was brought in by the british itself. Drugs were actually legal in the early 19 century. But during the Vietnam war, American soldiers used to rest and do drugs in Malaysia which influenced locals and led to Malaysia becoming a trafficking spot. This despite Malaysia having a death penalty for drug trafficking. http://www.adk.gov.my/html/pdf/jurnal/2007/1-1.pdf Gangsterism I cant give you an exact history of when it started. But it was chinese led at first before Indians joined in and they formed this various gangs, some taking over or starting their own. Each area has a gang that dominates it. But it is a serious problem amongst the indian youth especially as recruitment starts from school. 71% of gang members in Malaysia are Indians. http://cilisos.my/dei-why-are-so-many-malaysian-gang-members-indian/ Kabali link – in the movie Kabali’s gang is refered to as kosong kosong (00). This is actually referencing an actual indian gang in Malaysia – 08 or 04. While Tony lee’s 43 is similar to the 36 gang which has an elaborate logo. 08 and 36 have been around for decades, I can safely say since at least the 60s. both are historically rival gangs and often kill each other. In Kabali gangs are headed by one big don – ang lee. I don’t think this is true. I don’t know to be honest. But what I do know is the head of don’s now are educated and actually are well dressed, like any other professional like how kabala and tony lee dress up. But they are way up the gang hierarki and are not known by most in the gangs. Local area gangs are headed by dons that look like veerasekaran, sampath. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2013/08/30/police-reveal-gang-logos/ Kabali link – Are petshops façade for gangs? any business can be a façade for illegal business. I recently bumped into a grocery store being the façade for Myanmar gangsters while on a photowalk in KL. So there is a possibility. Gang meetings often happen at small chinese coffee shops restaurants. The term is – table talk variya (or lets talk over drinks at the coffee shop). Chinese coffee shops are choosen as they serve alcohol while indian restaurants and mamaks do not serve alcohol. Kabali link – this is shown in the scene where veerasekaran meets jeeva alone. There are only two of them talking but the moment Jeeva holds Tony lees collar, his men come out and chase after him and a gun fight ensues. When the director focuses on jeeva and veerasekaran, you will notice there are indian men sitting in a group at the background. That is no coincidence. Those were veerasekarans men. That is how actual table talks between gangs happen. And any gang fight happens outside the shop, rarely inside. Kabali link – There are no known gangsters that are doing good for the people like kabali. That is a FICTIONAL portrayal. And I believe Pa ranjith had to do that to create a commercial mass rajni movie while highlighting all the issues of the past and current segment of Malaysian Indians. However gangsters have always been linked to indian leaders in Malaysia and the political scene. Mostly to keep rival politicians controlled in the party itself. There are also cases of gangsters standing for elections in the recent election. They are evolving. Kabali link – When seeni dies, there is an elaborate funeral procession. That isn’t fiction. It actually does happen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzLADvoaj3I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE7Y9ann1Dk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sb7-K5WpZk Kabali link – the “poojai” kudukanum scene where veerasekaran goes to a temple to give sacrifice actually happens here with gang dons here being religious but practising the traditional sacrificial methods. This is also prevalent in small temples (not necessarily gang related) around the estates till today. None of the big temples in the urban area allow this traditional practice. Kabali link – the kali temple shown in the scene, there are many scattered around rawang, kuala Selangor. And bali kuduthal (animal sacrifice) still happens till today. Current Malaysian Indian issues After independence schools were built in estates and more Indians got education but not all did due to economical issues. Also higher education wasn’t that easy to achieve due to economic status. So most would work right after A levels or drop out of school even earlier to work to support the families. Jobs and earning capacity for these segment got lesser and lesser due to many reasons. Indians are a minority in Malaysia, we make up 7 % of the population but 71% of gang members in Malaysia are Indians. How did that happen? The poorer segment of the community continue to earn very little and there’s a reoccurring cycle that happens. Young men who started working by 15 some heading into gangsters but mostly low wage jobs, start having gfs by 17, may marry or leave the gfs once they are pregnant and have kids. Kids (are not taken away as shown in the movie) grow poor, if lucky get placed in orphanages, at 15 single mothers tend to take the kid back (legally parents have rights on the children according to Malaysian laws no matter if they can afford to look after them) to make the kids work for the family and the cycle continues. Most turn to becoming gangsters not just for more money (it’s a fallacy that lower rung gangsters earn well but that is the common perception.) but for respect. If you are labelled a gangster, you will earn respect more out of fear than you would as a poor person. (the Malaysian movie jagat portrays this story of the gang cycle). Kabali link: the girl meena’s (who calls kabali appa) story is this or the early part of the cycle. Jeeva and his mom is a perfect example of the later part of the cycle. She being a lower rung drug pusher despite having an education (after the husband leaves), he being drawn to the gangster life and refuses to study as he sees his mom having an education but not a good life. Their life conditions are portrayed through the glimpse of their home at her death scene. Small, dark, in a shoddy flats. These are the Indians mostly portrayed in the movie. But you also see characters like Amir, fathima, kumaran (tamilnesans grandson) who are professionals and live in better conditions. Compare Jeeva’s home to amirs beautiful white lit home. That is the perfect portrayal of two vastly different economical situations of Malaysian Indians. Kabali link - Maarkandayan represents the richer Malaysian indian who will do anything to earn money. These are the rich scammers who are not necessarily gang linked but are able to scam people for a lot of things, like houses and more. The indian vs chinese In the movie the Chinese are shown to be pulling down the Indians who try to rise above them and not under them like seeni, veerasekaran. Indians now (please note im trying to be detailed but not as detailed as this is getting too long) In the last two decades there is a growing problem that affects both the poorer and middle class segment of Malaysian Indians. Government wise – the National Economic Plan (NEP) led to less representation of Indians in the government sector. It is harder to become a cop, government servant, or work for a GLC if you are not Malay. Until the 1970s, a lot of government or government linked companies and the police sector had loads of Indians in them. That is why till today, KL Mariamman temple Navarathri festival is represented by different business and govt groups. TNB (electrical board) people, Railway people (railway employees) and more. All of these groups will be mentioned annually. https://www.facebook.com/Kortumalai-Ganesar-Temple-357848150965743/photos The chinese in the city were mostly merchants, business owners even from back then and not really known as government workers (I might be wrong on this one). However after 1970s, hiring of non Malays got very hard. So was getting a placement in the local universities. No matter how high your grades, coveted spots in the medical seats, engineering seats were very hard to get. You could still get in, but not to your choice of education course. That led to the rise of expensive private education that is not within the reach of everyone. So if you can’t get placed in the government, naturally people turned to the private sectors. Now there is where the other discrimination begins. There is actually a “we don’t hire Indians” practice amongst many businesses in the private sector which are mostly owned and led by the chinese companies. The funny thing is the majority of Malays are also affected by this. The NEP does not benefit all Malays. And it goes beyond just jobs, try renting a house in the city if you are indian. Regardless of your professional or financial background, this is a HUGE problem. I recently documented my own road blocks on this situation. Where I was rejected by 15 home owners (all chinese) before I finally got to rent my current place, despite putting in an advance booking fee, even before I got the house. And I am a professional, holding a managerial position. This extends to the financial sector as well. It is much harder for an indian to get a loan/ credit card in a bank. In shopping malls, credit card sales people practically ignore us when we walk pass and target mostly the chinese. In a way its good coz I don’t want to be hounded by sales rep but the racist profiling is very saddening. If you ask the banks they will tell you it is coz theres a higher rate of rejections, however they fail to mention that there are higher restrictions for application criterias for Indians as compared to the Chinese. So no matter if you have an education or not, it is harder for an Indian to get jobs in either the private or government sector. Also most professional Indians seem to earn a lower wage than their other race colleagues as compared even with the same experience, expertise and education. And this is a bigger problem for indian males. They also have to deal with social stigma. Walk into a lift in any building, and the occupants will start clutching their bags tighter and move away from them. Same thing happens if one drives by. Basically the social stereotype is that all male Indians are gangsters or thieves. Now all this doesn’t even take into account the current entitled, lazy, spoilt attitudes of gen y. this is a basic summary of growing issuesin the community. Kabali link – the private sector discrimination (and government discrimination in a way) is what the climax speech by kabali to Tony Lee is probably about but I can’t say for sure as the whole speech was censored in Malaysia. I need to find a copy of it to know more (someone send me the video pls) Kabali link – after the launch of the bakery at the end, a group of youngsters meet Rajni and talk about this issues very briefly. One guy says I don’t think ill pass, at least she will pass. She on the hand says, “pass panna mathum vehlai kadaichirumma” (its not as if I will get a job if I pass). She also says private education is expensive (reference to not getting placements in public univs). That is how brilliantly the director has mentioned all these issues into one moment, without touching further to ruffle political feathers or more so the movie doesn’t get banned. Gangsters and police So if theres so much gangsterism, why isn’t the police doing much? Well as in the movie, the police here have an interesting policy when dealing with gangs. Gangs here often have turf wars. Where like in the movie the kill each other. The police know this is happening and often sit in the background monitoring everything and sometimes taking the credit for the killing to control the message that goes to the public. Kabali link – opening scene, the top cop (the malay man) says we will handle him our way if needed. Same man then opens the bakery in the ending. Kabali link – the indian cop talks about how even he is often treated in suspicion of being a criminal. But do you notice he appears to know Kabali’s whereabouts, getting him out of the country quietly, escorting him up to the plane at the airport (while tony lees ppl attack the banglo in the palm oil forest?), meeting him at the airport. Basically Malaysian cops know the movements of the local gangs and mostly let them be as long as public is not physically harmed occasionally catching the smaller guys in drug and prostitution raids. Kabali link – in the climax, tony lees drugs are seized at the port by cops and vice dens are raided. Killed there are the lower dons and not the top dons who are partying at another event. Which is similar to the hieraki of gangs here. The bigger dons are rarely killed or at the raids as they don’t do the dirty job of running the business. In real life, a turf war between rival gangs often happens. You will suddenly here a news, man gunned down here, at this flat, at the traffic light. The news will last in the news for few weeks before it all quietens down. Basically the cops warn off the gangsters to stop or they kill them and this leads to all turf wars stopping for a while. 2013 ops cantas http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/08/19/five-shot-dead-in-penang/ Now the 2013 ops cantas (eradicate or shoot at sight) began after Malaysia abolished the ISA in 2012. The ISA not only put away political opponents but also gangsters that police knew of their activities but had no proof to arrest. Under ISA anyone can be arrested without a criminal proceedings if deemed to be a threat to national security. When these old dons came out to find their old turfs taken over, they launched their own turf war. After a few months, the cops launched ops cantas. Kabali link – Kabali was detained under ISA and released around that time after the abolishment of ISA. He comes out and immediately leads a turf war with gang 43. 2014 a cop was shot dead http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-officer-shot-dead 2015 ops cantas http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/03/07/infamous-gangster-meets-violent-end-murder-suspect-shot-dead-after-leading-cops-on-highspeed-car-cha/ the infamous bentong kali https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._Kalimuthu Gang killings on the rise in Klang over drug trade war http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/gang-killings-on-the-rise-in-klang-over-drug-trade-war About Malaysian cops capabilities in dealing with gangs – actual gang shoot outs http://cilisos.my/how-likely-are-you-to-survive-a-shootout-with-pdrm/ Kabali link – when kabali runs down the drug dealer with his car. The news report shows the cops taking credit for the death of loga. That is why everytime one don dies, there are tv reports shown and you see veerasekaran mumbling about the report by the journalist on kabali’s death as no body was found but cops reported Kabali was dead. Kabali link – by the way you can drive to Bangkok from Malaysia but it takes freaking 18 hours to get there. And pretty easy to cross the border. In some parts there are no border gates between both countries and you can easily walk across.
Kabali ending – the same indian cop who was helping kabali throughout the movie, arranges for Tiger to execute kabali. That is how the cops deal with gangs. Which refers back to “we will deal with him our way” (as said by the top cop in the opening scene). Basically no one ultimate power should remain, and the cops still are the ultimate powers. Kabali ending in Malaysia – shows a screen note that kabali surrenders to the police. This is the cops and censorship at its best showing what they want you to see. Sure do a movie about the gangs but remember the cops are in control at the end of the day. Which is actually the truth.
Who is tiger? Tiger represents the current generation of poor Malaysian Indians who no matter what re-education they go through, will opt for the gang life as they don’t see a hope of getting a job or respect by suffering like the rest who try to earn an honest living. He is a jolly angry youngster. Each of his appearance is similar to the story of the average poor indian who are stuck in this cycle. Tiger is there at the end during the gang fight on the rooftop but he is captured by the cops. Why did the cops capture him and not the rest? Coz he can be swayed and broken to do the cops bidding – which is to eliminate kabali.
Does this mean Indian Malaysians are suffering? Yes and no. yes there are a lot of problems and it is a struggle to not be another statistic. And it is kinda getting worse for all classes. To be honest if you are poor, an indian – you are like a third class citizen the worst position on the list. The poor malays fall into these category as well but they still can get government assistance in some ways. There are also poor chinese people but their percentage is very small and they aren’t treated as the scums of the society. There are also criminals, gangsters in all races in all states. http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-believes-gangsters-behind-damansara-perdana-homemade-bombs The professionals or employed middle class can be likened to a second class citizen. The rich are rich no matter where. So if you as a Malaysian indian has never gone through any of this or don’t see this happening – that makes you a privileged Malaysian indian. The most similar global reference to this situation is the blacks in America. The black lives matter campaign talks about similar issues as what the Malaysian Indians face. We are probably a decade or two away from cops shooting down any indian male for just being in an area or for putting their hands in their pockets. No it is not the end of the world here. We don’t live in hate of other races. Not all malays and chinese are racists and discriminatory. We actually live in harmony, mostly. I took a chinese friend to watch Kabali yesterday. Yes we watch each others movies, eat each others food, marry inter races, and have wonderful friends across the races. Most Malaysians share similar sentiments despite a growing number of stereotypes in the country. I also got lucky both at work and friends but even in a professional arena I have had indian stereotypes thrown at me, no matter how long my success and credibility list is. And if I were to go out and look for a job, despite my success it will take a long time for even me to get a job. I have indian friends who have been on a job hunt for the last year or so and have been rejected numerous times. And in the past I have felt the same rejection many times. Years ago circa 2009, a listed chinese property company called me for a telephone interview and she sent me an email with all the details of the interview date and time and requested for my photo for security clearance. So I sent her my photo. Right after I got an email that the interview was cancelled. Turns out I wasn’t the right coloured indian they were willing to hire despite their interest in my capabilities. Kabali link – the dark skin reference is mentioned when kabali says his wife loved his dark skin despite her being fair. That was not a random point. That’s an actual issue here. Do we hate being Malaysians? On contrary i love being a Malaysian despite everything and I only identify myself as a Malaysian. And to be honest similar issues happen worldwide to minorities anywhere. Do I want change? I want people to give chances to downtrodden people who are poor and caught in a vicious cycle. We can’t change politics that easily but we can change how we treat and perceive a fellow Malaysia. So stop stereotyping? Conclusion – what directorial brilliance! So if you made it to this point. You’ll realise how brilliantly Pa Ranjith has weaved actual issues, actual history into the fictional realistic commercial movie that is Kabali. I don’t know how long he took to research our story or how much reading he did. It took me half a day to write this as I wanted to get the history as exact as possible and provide supporting links for further reading. I would so love to ask him a gazillion questions and if someone could tag him on this. I would like to know if he knew all this references as I don’t think even Malaysians will get all the references in the movie as much as I did. I wrote this simply to show how brilliant his script was despite all the negative comments based simply on a lack of understanding. One day in the future this movie and its script will receive its acknowledgement. Most of all THANK YOU Pa Ranjith for writing this script for us Indian Malaysians. Note: if there are historical inaccuracies, apologies. I am making analytical gueses based on my knowledge of Malaysian history. if info is omitted or not explained enough, its coz im trying to keep this as short and detailed as possible. To my other race friends: I hold no grudge on anyone as many know, i am just stating actual issues as it is. Also I believe these challenges only make us stronger, more resilient. I am hoping this will also serve as an educational understanding of the Malaysian indian conundrum.