Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Legend of Prometheus : An Analysis.

NB: Spoiler Alert. Proceed with Caution. 

Who made us ? The question itself is too big to pack into the body of the movie, yet Prometheus answers it fairly definitively if you are looking hard enough.

The theme of Prometheus matches very well with the ancient mythology of Nummos as believed by the Dogon tribe in West Africa. According to these people, who originally migrated from Egypt, the starting point of our creation is from a small star that revolves around the brightest star visible to human eye, Sirius, located almost 8.6 light years away from Earth. They believe that the elements of our creation are present in that small yet heavy star, which was officially discovered by our astronomers in 1862 by the name Sirius B. Studies on this African tribe were documented in a book by two French anthropologists, ‘‘Conversations with Ogotemmeli’’ published in 1947. Ogotemelli was the tribe’s oral historian, so was his father. In his words, we were created by beings who engineered our DNA. Also, our DNA was manipulated three times due to failed experiments and interestingly three versions of humans were designed. Ancient mythologies mentions the existence of these alien races called Nummos and another race of aliens called Annunaki, in Egypt approximately 5000 years ago. This could probably justify Ridley Scott’s opinion regarding the planet shown in the opening scene. He suggests it could be a planet anywhere and the Engineer is just a gardener in space.

Though the movie opens with an Engineer seeding life in a primordial planet dismissing the concepts mentioned in the book of genesis, the movie still connects strangely but not necessarily with some verses in the Bible. Let us take into account the moon in the movie LV223, where the ship Prometheus lands, as well as the planet LV426, mentioned in the 1979 Ridley Scott movie ‘‘Alien’’. Considering the religious and philosophical views of characters like Elizabeth Shaw in the movie, the planet LV223 might be in reference to a verse in the third book of Bible. Leviticus 22:3 states ‘‘For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the LORD, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD.’’ This could very well refer to the creation of humans and how they became unclean. Interestingly the planet LV426 might be in reference to Leviticus 4:26 which state ‘‘He shall burn all the fat on the altar as he burned the fat of the fellowship offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for the man's sin, and he will be forgiven.’’ What if this actually answers the question which Prometheus leaves behind in the end. The answer to why Engineers setting the destruction of unclean humans could be some kind of sacrifice for forgiveness. But there is a lot of guess work involved like the missing link between LV223 in Prometheus and LV426 in Alien.

Ridley Scott may or may not have come across this passage somewhere in the development of the movie. There is one more strange connection with the Bible which might not make any sense with the storyline. Elizabeth Shaw shares some common threads with the Elizabeth in Bible. Both of them are incapable of having babies and god works out the magic. The movie connects more religiously in matters of faith as Elizabeth Shaw being the only true believer on board and hence become the only survivor in the entire movie. This could be that rare movie which challenges its viewers in matters of science, religious philosophies and spirituality at an intellectual level.

Speaking of creation, there is an interesting conversation in the movie between Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and David (Michael Fassbender/Android) regarding the purpose of creating humans.

David: Why do you think your people made me ?
Charlie: We made you because we could.
David: Can you imagine how disappointing it would be for you to hear the same thing from your creator ?

It could even be possible that the engineers created humans simply because they could and not for any profound reason.

There are still numerous questions in my mind such as, why would someone leave cave paintings on Earth, giving evidence of their location, if they are actually planning to destroy us ? Or has something happened with Engineers decision making in between these long thousands of years ? Or could it be not the Engineers who left the location maps at Earth ? Why should the Engineers sacrifice themselves for the creation of life, or was it an accidental mutation rather than a purposefully designed creation of life ? Was the opening scene, a punishment by the God Zeus since he was angry at Prometheus for creating and favoring humans ?

Is Jesus Christ, conceived by the holy spirit in virgin Mary, an Engineer sent by God ??? This is one of my favorites as this opens an entirely new equation for the movie with Christian beliefs. And it could even support the storyline of this mysterious movie, as Jesus, one of the engineers, was crucified by humans, eventually prompting the Gods to destroy humanity.

Prometheus, in a nutshell asks some huge questions on life, influence of aliens in our life, mysteries regarding where we come from as a species and what happens when we die. It all seems to be too much of an education or rather some kind of an intellectual awakening from a movie, thanks to Damon Lindelof, the writer and Ridley Scott, the Director.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Pride of Malayalee; Avial.

'' Across hills and vales, the horizon is but only a mirage begging to make sense '' - Avial (Ettam Pattu)

It all started during one of those summer holidays, thanks to the Rosebowl channel. Rosebowl stood out in featuring music in a way that anyone would slip and fall in love with the world of musical notes. And my remote used to end up right there with that manual overdrive instead of wasting time finding random happiness with the idiot box. The hybrid alternative rock infused with the spicy pinch of Malayalam folk did the trick. They delivered it with style. And i became an immediate hardcore Avial fan. The classic western bass strings of Rex Vijayan blended well with raw vocals of Tony John and Anand Raj Benjamin Paul. Sadly i miss the touch-wood jaguar style Anand Raj Benjamin Paul signature vocals of the good old Avial.

The debut album, with those legendary eight tracks never fails to give me goosebumps. Avial framed a new identity for south Indian rock culture by their intelligent integration of acoustic guitar, bass bases, rhythmic instrumental jamming tied with rich vocals and passionate meaningful malayalam lyrics. The state of Kerala, which attracted the world with its spices trade and cultural heritage has once again invented a potential art form, which we proudly call, '' The Alternative Malayalam Rock Band ''. 

To me, Avial is like the Linkin Park of Indian Rock music. The right blend of southern masala dosa with the western coke, the satisfaction you feel while quenching your thirst with the cool Sambaaram on a hot summer day in Kerala just before the monsoon season. Most of their tracks brings me that nostalgic fresh fragrance of soil when the first drops of monsoon rain hits the earth. Moving on to the commercial industry of movies, the band stood out and reached more crowd with the ''Aanakallan'' track for the film ''Salt and Pepper''. It was their prime time as a band. The unique trend setting T-shirts with malayalam one liners and the top notch cinematography of the song made the music lovers crave for more. Followed by Chappa Kurish, 22 Female Kottayam and Second Show, the band was shining. The Times of India South cover disappointed me a bit with the Suprabhathakali, though it was a different approach.

The trendsetting media works by Papaya and Malfunction for Avial is definitely noteworthy. Avial has delivered something unique that i could match them right next with the footsteps of A R Rahman and Linkin Park, as far as my music cravings are concerned. No wonder, the guys walked in style bagging six awards at the Jack Daniels Annual Rock Awards 08-09, for Song of the Year, Album of the year and Band of the year in both popular choice and critics categories. Avial was the only band to be selected from India, to represent the country in the Sakifo (Reunion) World Music Festival, held at Mauritius, that brought 40 rock bands from across the world. The band had their first International collaboration with an Italian band called ''A67'' featuring a track called '' Chi me sape'' in 2008. Another one is with a Singapore based singer Naomi Stafford. Avial did a Malayalam Cantonese (Chinese) rock song with Naomi for the world peace called ''Shie Jie Pattu''. Unfortunately, i haven't got a chance to have a glimpse of this song. However ''Chi me sape'' is legendary and is shockingly underrated. 

Following is the Album Credits for their Debut Album with the same title, Avial.

1. Nada Nada 
     Composed by John P Varkey, 
     Written by Engandiyur Chandrashekaran, 
     Arranged by Avial.

2. Chekele 

    Original folk song, 
    Arranged by Avial. 

3. Njan Aara 

    Composed & Arranged by John P Varkey & Avial, 
    Written by P. B. Girish. 

4. Arikuruka 

   Original folk song, 
   Lyrics improvised by Engandiyur Chandrashekaran, 
   Arranged by John P Varkey & Avial.

5. Aranda 

    Written by P. B. Girish, 
    Composed by Riyaz Mohammed, 
     Arranged by Avial.

6. Karukara 

    Written & Composed by Kavalam Narayana Panicker, 
    Arranged by Avial.

    Guest Artist - Aparnashree on Vocals.  

7. Aadu Pambe 

    Written by Sudhi Velamanoor, 
    Composed & Arranged by Avial.

8. Ettam Pattu 

    Written by Sudhi Velamanoor, 
    Composed & Arranged by Avial.

The track ''Chi me sapo'' happened when the popular Italian band ''A67'' saw Avial's songs in the social networking site, MySpace. Impressed with their performance, the Italian rock band approached them to be part of their forthcoming album titled ''Suburb''.  ''Chi me sapo'' means Who Knows We Know. Checkout the Official Video below.