Shiv Shastri Balboa and a person behind it

This post is more about a person than about the movie. I feel so happy as I write this. Happy for the person and for the movie being such a wonderful watch. It is like I have waited for a long time to write this post.

24-25 years back while working in Bangalore during my visits to Kochi we used to have our drinking sessions with colleagues and he and I worked in the same company.We would ask him to sing and he would sing songs written by him especially the mass favorite ‘Thennale’.

In 1999 January we had a company wide gathering. After a few shots of whiskey I asked him what he wants the most in life and he replied “I want make Dasettan (Singer Yesudas) sing my songs and release a Cassette. That was Ajayan Venugopal, the writer and director of the touching warm new hindi movie ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’.

Later we both moved to US at different times and when I connected with him here I remembered what he had said in 1999. I asked him “What happened to your Dasettan Songs”. He replied “Dasettan did not happen but I released a CD with my songs sung by his son Vijay Yesudas”

Then over the years he moved from song writing to movies and made the amazing web series Akkarakazhchakal which is a cult classic even today and any malayali who watches the episode even today will enjoy it. I am sure you would have seen the Hindi version of it in Metro Park.

I kept in touch with Ajayan on and off talking about movies and the industry and was happy as I saw him enter the mainstream when his scripts and dialogues made its way to movies. I met him in person last in 2014 when there was a shoot in LA where he was the dialogue writer for a Malayalam movie starring none other than Mohanlal. I should say we wanted to meet Mohanlal and he arranged for that.

I remember chatting with him and asking what his future movie plans are and he said ‘need to direct a mainstream movie’. I wished him well and then we again connected a few years back when he had reached very close to directing a hindi movie. I am not sure if it was this same story. For some reason it did not work back then.

Then a few months back I read that he was working on Shiv Shastri Balboa and messaged him and wished him. Yes it was happening.

But my happiest moment came when I watched Shiv Shastri Balboa. And that was because I loved the movie. It is simple, it is beautiful, it has goodness, it has the spirit, it has hope and above all it has a human touch that we all crave for so much in today’s time.

I loved the synergy of Anupam Kher and Neena Gupta but I will give Neena Gupta a few points more. The movie starts with Anupam Kher and is about Shiv Shastri Balboa but when the movie ends you will feel that Shiv Shastri balboa is incomplete without Elsa Zachariah (Neena’s Character) next to him. I love neena Gupta

There is so much warmth in the movie that you will take with you from the theater. Ajaya… my friend this is just the beginning. There is so many more places you will go. Love You !!!

Categories: Movies, Reviews


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