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The Other Banana

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A generation of impostors brought up on cinema. The Other Banana podcast is primarily Deepauk M(@complicateur), Aditya(@gradwolf), Anantha(@anantha), and Ashoka(@ABVan). We discuss films – mostly Indian – and analyse them in turn, roughly on a bi-weekly basis.


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A generation of impostors brought up on cinema. The Other Banana podcast is primarily Deepauk M(@complicateur), Aditya(@gradwolf), Anantha(@anantha), and Ashoka(@ABVan). We discuss films – mostly Indian – and analyse them in turn, roughly on a bi-weekly basis.




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A deep dive into Lokesh Kanagaraj's Leo

And we are back with an episode on one of the films of the year- Lokesh Kanagaraj's Leo. If you haven't yet heard of the film, crawl out of that rock and here we go- starring Vijay, Trisha, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Sanjay Dutt, Arjun etc, the film, after Vikram and the introduction of Lokesh Cinematic Universe, was THE Tamil film if not Indian film that a huge fan base was looking out for. Now that it's out and we can have a spoilers filled discussion, we got Deepauk, Anantha and one of our returning guests Equanimus to talk about it. There is a lot of crap out there in the name of engaging with this polarizing film that's perfectly good for the most part but if we may say so ourselves, nothing beats this one. Listen on. Participants: Anantha Deepauk Equanimus


On Making Sapta Saagaradaache Ello - Side A with Hemanth M. Rao

We return after a long long time. Various commitments kept us busy but we are back with a new season and we couldn't have picked up a better film to start. Hemanth M. Rao's Sapta Saagaradaache Ello - Side A released on September 1st and later on Amazon Prime, and at least for me it is one of the best films of the year from India. A romantic tragedy starring Rakshit Shetty, Rukmini Vasanth, Pavitra Lokesh, Achyutha Kumar among others, the film boasts of compelling writing by Rao and Gundu Shetty and excellent filmmaking from Rao, and shot by Advaitha Gurumurthy. Side A is also first of a two part film. The story of Manu (Shetty) and Priya (Vasanth) isn't over and we will see their journey continue in Side B that releases on October 27th. Director Hemanth M. Rao joined us for the episode and we talk about everything from workshopping with actors, some writing decisions, characters and the ideas behind the film and shotmaking. Aditya is also joined by pod regular, journalist Subha Rao Participants: Aditya Hemanth M. Rao Subha Rao Link to Subha's interview of Hemanth:


On Vinayak Chandrasekaran's Good Night

The year for Tamil cinema hasn't been all that great so far but then comes along a film like Vinayak Chandrasekaran's Good Night. A superb character study and exploration of dynamics, the film-also written by Vinayak-stars Manikandan, Ramesh Thilak, Meetha Raghunath, Balaji Sakthivel, Raichel Rebecca among others. It also stars stand up comedian, actor, writer Jagan Krishnan who joined us for this episode to talk about the experience of auditioning, working in the film and what he thought about the various character dynamics in the film. He also shared some anecdotes while at it. Listen on. You can find links to Jagan's work and information and tickets for his tour that's coming up here. The Malayalam film referenced in the episode is Vadakkunokkiyantram. Participants: Deepauk Anantha Jagan Edited by Deepauk.


On Jeyamohan with Translators Priyamvada & Suchitra

We are back with an episode on literature. On this episode writers and translators Priyamvada and Suchitra join Deepauk and Aditya to talk about Tamil author and screenplay writer Jeyamohan, and their translations of his works. Priyamvada's translation of Aram titled Stories of the True was published last year. Suchitra's translation of Ezhaam Ulagam titled The Abyss came out couple of months ago. We talk to them about their journey through Tamil literature from readers to translators, Jeyamohan's influence, his place in the larger canon of Tamil literature, his politics and their experience translating two of his important works. Jeyamohan's Blog: Link to Stories of the True: Link to The Abyss: Link to Jeyamohan's interview on Scroll by Suchitra and Priyamvada: Suchitra and Priyamvada's initiative Mozhi to bring together literature from different Indian languages: Participants: Priyamvada Suchitra Deepauk Aditya Edited by Anantha


Krithika Nelson, Kundavai & Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan

As part of The Other Banana's efforts to bring in more technicians to the forefront, we have a special episode with a special guest now that Ponniyin Selvan Part 2 is out and the saga is complete. An effort that's achieved great success and more importantly, provided immense satisfaction and joy to experience on screen. Starring Karthi, Aishwarya Rai, Vikram, Trisha, Jayam Ravi, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarath Kumar, Parthiban, Prakash Raj, Rahman and Sobhita among others, the film has music by AR Rahman, cinematography by Ravi Varman, editing by Sreekar Prasad and art direction by Thota Tharani. In this episode, we have the multi hyphenate Krithika Nelson - musician, lyricist, creative producer and director, dubbin artist, associate director, and more. She dubbed for Trisha's Kundavai in the Ponniyin Selvan films, wrote the lyrics of Sol in Part 1 and was also an associate director to Mani Ratnam. She also wrote the lyrics for the soundtrack of the recent film Nitham Oru Vaanam. We spoke to Krithika about her dubbing career, the skill and techniques that it involves, what happens inside and outside the recording studio, and her experience as a dubbing artist for the past several years. We also talk about the production of Ponniyin Selvan films, her work as an associate director to Mani Ratnam, the films' grand scale and what it took to make these two films with the biggest of actors and technicians. Krithika shared with us some great anecdotes from the time of filming, what she looks for in an actor's performance when she dubs for them, how dubbing can be different with different directors. And of course, we also talk about Trisha! Earlier, when Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 released, we had done an episode with sound engineer Anand Krishnamoorthi on his work in the film and also the job of sound engineers, designers and mixers in general. You can check it out here. Participants: Krithika Nelson Aditya Anantha Here's Krithika Nelson's latest independent single Nee Mattum. She wrote the lyrics, composed and sang the song in addition to directing the music video: Aditya's review of Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 and Ponniyin Selvan Part 2. Intro audio from JFW Awards 2023, a recreation of PS 1 scene between Nandini and Kundavai on stage by their respective dubbing artists Deepa Venkat and Krithika Nelson.


The Stars Align for Sita Ramam

We return with a Telugu film, a massive hit from 2022. Just when we thought only male star driven, machismo action films could do well in theatres, we had films based on romance with author backed pairs work their charm at the box office. One was Thiruchitrambalam. The other was Sita Ramam directed by Hani Raghavapudi. Sita Ramam stars Dulquer Salmaan and Mrunal Thakur, two stars made to glisten the screen. In this episode Aditya joins Sal of Salandthebadpun on Twitter and our returning guest Amrita to talk about the film, how the romance works with the help of the actors' charm and great looks, the set and costume design, the casting of Rashmika and the way her character is written. We also talk about the fragmented politics of the film, muted but always grating in the background. Participants: Aditya Sal Amrita Edited by Anantha.


The Office Drama that is Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi

One of our listeners think it would be a good idea for us to talk about the 2006 Chimbu Deven's historic-fiction "Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi". We too think this is a great idea. 23am Pulikesi is one of the best comedies of Tamil cinema in the last 20 years featuring Vadivelu, Nassar, Ilavarasu, Sriman, Thambi Ramaiah, Manobala and many others. We have Anantha, Ashoka and Rajiv touch upon the film, its comedy, the performances, the homage it pays to its predecessor: Uthama Puthiran, how it could be a modern office-drama masquerading as a period-piece and several other things. ps: Rajiv has his own crime-fiction podcast on Spotify named "Detective Mathimaran". You can listen to it here.


Lijo Jose Pellissery's Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam

Almost everybody agrees Lijo Jose Pellissery's Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam that released mid January of 2023 and on Netflix at the end of February is going to be the Indian film of the year? Why? We thought we'll dig in. Aditya watched it twice in theatres. Deepauk watched it a day before recording of this podcast. And our special guest critic, programmer, author Srikanth Srinivasan watched it thrice in theatres and a couple of more times on Netflix. With a screenplay by S Hareesh and directed by Pellissery, the film stars Mammootty, Ramya Pandian, Ashokan, Ramya Suvi, Poo Ramu among others. The three of them gather to discuss what makes this film so interesting, the seamless Tamil-Malayalam intermingling, the filmmaking ideas and cinematography, the almost exclusive Tamil cinema soundtrack throughout the film, and the film's philosophical interventions. Listen on. Participants: Aditya Srikanth Srinivasan Deepauk Srikanth Srinivasan's writings on the film: A Letter to Lijo Jose Pellissery: Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam Part 2: If anybody would like to watch Ratha Kanneer, it's on Youtube: Here is a playlist of songs that you hear in the film:


With Don Palathara and Sherin Catherine: Roy Andersson's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Hello, we are back! After a lengthy break, The Other Banana returns with a new season and with a small change in programming for this opening episode. We have two special guests - filmmaker Don Palathara who's made films such as Shavam, Vith, 1956 Central Travancore, Everything is Cinema joined us to talk about Swedish auteur Roy Andersson's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. Palathara's new film Family premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam earlier this month. Aditya's writing on Palathara's cinema and review of Family are linked below in the show notes. The second guest participating in this episode is sociologist Sherin Catherine who also dabbles in writing and acting. She's the co-writer of Everything is Cinema and Family. Roy Andersson's films are unique in their narrative style and shot compositions. They are more anti-narrative with us just following a seemingly disconnected set of characters who are framed in painterly compositions with deep focus with most of the film in master shots. His films are existential in nature probing what it means to be human and sometimes dark and, more often than not, funny. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014) is the third in his Living trilogy following Songs from the Second Floor (2000) and You, the Living (2007). It won the Golden Lion at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. Listen on Participants: Aditya Don Palathara Sherin Some writings on Don Palathara's cinema by Aditya: On Palathara's cinema: Review of Family:


On Phani Ramachandra's Gauri Ganesha

At The Other Banana podcast, we are aware that we haven't been paying attention to our Kannada roster as much as the others. In an attempt to address that, we got together some folks who were excited to talk about one of the finest comedies from Kannada cinema. In this episode, Anantha and Ashoka talk about Gauri Ganesha (1991), a film directed by Phani Ramachandra and starring Anant Nag, Vinaya Prasad, Master Anand et al, with two special guests. Alok Prasanna Kumar, an advocate based in Bengaluru who is also a columnist in various publications, joins the podcast along with filmmaker Suneel Raghavendra. Suneel is the director of the film Puta Tirugisi Nodi. Listen on. Participants: Anantha Ashoka Alok Prasanna Kumar Suneel Raghavendra Edited by Ashoka.


The Joys of Thiruchitrambalam

Among all the epic star vehicles and action extravaganzas like Pushpa: The Rise, RRR, KGF and Vikram, we had a seemingly little film that became a box office hit. It's not a little film by any means. It has Dhanush, Nithya Menen, Prakash Raj, Bharathiraja in the lead and directed by Mithran Jawahar. The film, Thiruchitrambalam, is just more grounded and subtle, the opposite of what people have come to expect from theatrical films. And yet, this romantic comedy, a genre that's hard to come by in Tamil cinema, is not just a wonderful film but also found its audience. To talk about the film, we have Aditya and Anantha. And joining them is writer, journalist and film critic Subha Rao who makes a return to the podcast. She had earlier joined us for the episode on stars and promising directors. Participants: Aditya Anantha Subha Rao Edited by Ashoka


The Sound of Ponniyin Selvan - With Anand Krishnamoorthi

Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 released a little over a week ago and has taken the box office by storm. A critical and commercial success, the film has attracted a wide demographic to the theatres. Largely due to its source - Kalki R. Krishnamurthy's serialized novel Ponniyin Selvan published in the 1950s, a historical fiction based on the Cholas and the conflicts within and outside the kingdom for the throne. The film, like most Mani Ratnam films, is also an example of technical mastery which is one of the attractions for widespread theatre viewing with almost no one choosing to wait for the streaming release like it is the norm of late. The film is star studded - Karthi, Aishwarya Rai, Vikram, Trisha, Jayam Ravi, Jayaram, Sobhita Dhulipala, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarath Kumar, Parthiban, Prabhu, Lal, Prakash Raj and more. There are stars behind the camera as well apart from the director and writing team (Mani Ratnam, Jeyamohan and Elango Kumaravel). It is edited by Sreekar Prasad, art direction by Thotta Tharani with cinematography by Ravi Varman. Music is by A.R Rahman and sound design by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Foley Artist is Prathap and re-recording mix by Craig Mann. In this episode, we talk about one aspect of the technical mastery - sound design. Sound Designer/Engineer/Editor Anand Krishnamoorthi joins Aditya and Ashoka to talk about the sound of Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 and the nuances in the art of sound design. We talk about sound design in general in cinema as well as the work that has gone into Ponniyin Selvan. Anand gives both eli5 explanations for some aspects of his work and also some nerdy and deeply technical things that go into a film's sound. Listen on. Definitions of a few technical terms that will help in enjoying the conversation better Recce Foley Sync Sound ADR Participants: Anand Krishnamoorthi Aditya Ashoka Edited by Ashoka.


On Khalid Rahman's Fascinating Thallumaala

Thallumaala is one of a kind cinema to come out of India this year. A complex screenplay (or storyboard?) structure, a filmmaking style that takes giant leaps of faith and a great rhythmic sense to the narrative coupled with its music make it an immense watch. You watch it and you want to watch it again all over again. The film is written by Muhsin Parari and Ashraf Hamza and stars Tovino Thomas, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Shine Tom Chacko, Lukman, Swathi Das Prabhu who all form a part of a whole winning ensemble. To talk about Thallumaala we have special guest Uday Bhatia, writer and film critic at Mint Lounge. Joining him are Aditya and Deepauk. You should also check out Uday's book Bullets Over Bombay: Satya and the Hindi Film Gangster, on the story behind the making of Ram Gopal Verma's Satya and its effects on Hindi cinema that lasted more than two decades. Participants: Aditya Deepauk Uday Bhatia Edited by Ashoka


A Deep Dive into Visu's Samsaram Adhu Minsaram

The podcast returns to Tamil cinema with one of the classics of the 1980s. Produced by AVM and written and directed by Visu, Samsaram Adhu Minsaram, released in 1986, remains one of the most memorable and talked about family dramedies. Starring Lakshmi, Manorama, Raghuvaran, Kishmu, Chandrashekar, Visu, Kamala Kamesh, Delhi Ganesh, Ilavarasi and others, the film is remembered for its great lines and great performance of the ensemble. To discuss the film we have one of our regular guests, Balajee Ge aka Localteaparty who recently co-wrote the Sony LIV Tamil web series Meme Boys. Joining him is someone we've been looking to get on to our podcast for long and finally the stars aligned. Rajiv Rajaram who wears many hats, the most recent as the creator of Meme Boys. Rajiv joins Anantha and Balajee to discuss all things Samsaram Adhu Minsaram. Listen on. Participants: Anantha Balajee Ge Rajiv Rajaram Edited by Ashoka.


Ilaiyaraaja : A Musical Movement (9)

In this episode we dive into Raaja’s most ambitious album - Thiruvasagam in Symphony. We discuss the historical origins and similarities between the 2 schools of music that Raaja consciously combines, breakdown elements in each of the songs, and address the need for humility when engaging in the critique of such attempts. Topics Covered: Initial listening experience and how it has evolved over time What is an oratorio and how did the form evolve? What is the form of the Thevaram tradition and what does it bring to the album? How Raaja combines the two forms as part of the album Bouquets, brickbats, and the hollowness of both when it comes to TiS Participants: Mahesh Deepauk Bala Chidambaram Musical References: St.Matthew's Passion Raaja talks about the forms laid out for us by his predecessors and his intent of creating TiS a clip of Hariprasad Chaurasia Handel's Messiah Pannum pathamezhum Thalaye nee vanagaai Insert part about criticisms from Raaja Putril Vaazh


30 Years of AR Rahman

Today is August 15th and on this day in 1992 Mani Ratnam's Roja released. Along with the film arrived a new sound that awed one and all throughout the country. In the next thirty years, this music will unite India the way only cricket often does. Today marks 30 years since AR Rahman broke out. His growth was tremendous and quick, he transcended borders within India first and then made a mark internationally as well earning two Academy awards in the process. We at The Other Banana thought that this calls for a special episode on growing up with AR Rahman. We have two special guests joining us for the episode. Arjun Nair is a music producer, music director, voice artist and part of the A Cappella group Voctronica. Their most popular cover, among others, was a medley of Rahman songs titled Evolution of AR Rahman. You can listen to it here. Meher Manda is a writer, educator and culture critic based in the USA. The episode was originally her idea and we almost instantly decided to record it and she brought Arjun on board. Listen on. Participants: Aditya who also edited the pod Arjun Nair Meher


Vivek Athreya's Ante Sundaraniki

Vivek Athreya's Ante Sundaraniki released in June to mixed reviews. Telugu cinema is where romantic comedy is thriving and this film was Vivek Athreya's follow up to the immensely popular, hilarious Brochevarevarura. This also had great leads in Nani and Nazriya. While the film failed to click in the box office its Netflix release renewed the debate and the film was received warmly compared to how it did theatrically. Since we trust Telugu cinema with romcoms in this podcast, we thought let's talk about the film. Our podcast regular Krupa Ge, writer and author (check out her books - Rivers Remember and the more recent What We Know About Her) joined us for this episode along with Aditya and Anantha. They had polar opposite reactions to the film. Listen on. Participants: Aditya Krupa Ge Anantha Edited by Ashoka


J Mahendran's Mullum Malarum

To restore parity after discussing an old Kamal Haasan film we thought we must do a Rajinikanth film. Ok, that's not the reason but we felt this Rajinikanth film must be discussed. This is 1978 and Rajinikanth's early years in Tamil cinema. It's the year he stamped his authority and signaled the coming of a legend of Indian cinema. Mullum Malarum, directed by Mahendran with cinematography by Balu Mahendra and music by Ilaiyaraaja had Rajinikanth, Shoba, Sarath Babu and Jayalaxmi. The film was based on a novel by Uma Chandran. A seminal film in not just the crew's and Rajinikanth's careers but to Tamil cinema itself, the film informed the direction Tamil cinema took from there on and also colored the future characters played by the superstar. To talk about all that and more we invited two of the biggest fans of the film. Shakila Zamboulingame, more popularly known by her account 1916tamilcinema on Instagram which contains some of the most original takes on everything Tamil cinema. Joining her is journalist Kavitha Muralidharan who is participating in our podcast for the third time. Participants: Aditya Anantha Shakila Zamboulingame Kavitha Muralidharan Edited by ABVan


The original that inspired a "sequel" - The 1986 Kamal film Vikram

Lokesh Kanagaraj's Vikram is just a week away and the expectations are immense for the film starring Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil. The furor began in late 2020 when they released a teaser revealing the title accompanied by a sampling of one of the greatest title tracks by Ilaiyaraaja - Vikram from the film of the same name that released in 1986. The 1986 film was a mammoth effort in terms of scripting and production. A screenplay written by Kamal Haasan and writer/novelist Sujatha adapted from the latter's serialized story and directed by Rajashekar the making of Vikram is as much of a lore as its aftermath, influences and the new film it has spawned (though not a sequel). Vikram has Kamal Haasan as an intelligence agent playing the closest James Bond could come to Indian cinema back till that point (and after Jai Shankar in Tamil cinema). It also had Sathyaraj as the villain with Lissy, Dimple Kapadia, Amjad Khan and Charuhasan completing a role call of who's who from different language industries. Guru aka Lazygeek joins us to talk about how Sujatha and Kamal Haasan met, their journey through cinema, their collaboration on Vikram, the production effort,how the film turned out and how it has aged. Joining him are Aditya and Anantha Participants Guru Aditya Anantha Edited by Ashoka


Venkat Prabhu's Chennai 600028

A film like Chennai 600028 needs no introduction but here is an attempt anyway - a small gang of first timers and amateurs, however privileged by their industry backgrounds, came together to make a movie on amateur cricket - street cricket to be precise - and male friendship. Venkat Prabhu bandied together Shiva, Premji, Nithin Sathya, Aravind Akash, Sampath, Jai, Vijay Vasanth, Ajay Raj and of course, Yuvan Shankar Raja to create a film whose infection charm and fun might have been felt during the set but with a few jitters as SP Balasubrahmanyam and his son SPB Charan put their money into it. The film completed fifteen years recently and what opened lukewarm with so many newcomers are all names today we always associate together as a gang and not by individual, went on to become a sleeper cult hit. To celebrate these fifteen years of repeat watches, Aditya, Anantha and Balajee get together to talk about the film and the memories associated with it. Cinema Express Editor in Chief and podcast friend and guest Sudhir Srinivasan interviewed Venkat Prabhu for the same occasion and it came up during our discussion. The interview is linked below Participants: Aditya Anantha (also editor of this episode) Balajee Venkat Prabhu interview with Sudhir Srinivasan -