Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Kumbalangi Nights: Empowering men to step away from the masquerade of masculinity

Amidst the cries of #MeToo and debates on ambiguous forms of feminism, Kumbalangi Nights comes as a breath of fresh air that deals with the other side of the coin. It comes at a pertinent time in Kerala society, quashing patriarchal perceptions of masculinity.
The aarkum vendatha four brothers – Saji (Soubin Shahir), Bonny (Sreenath Bhasi), Bobby (Shane Nigam), and Frankie (Mathew Thomas) – cast away in a “shit-lined” island of Kumbalangi, are projected to be everything that an ideal man befitting today’s civilisation, should not be. Enmeshed in public drunken brawls, giving careless respect to their deceased father, harbouring scant regard for each other as siblings, being the unemployed village loafers, and living off another’s honest efforts – the film portrays all the evils of the contemporary community plaguing certain sections of men. That’s where the parallel is drawn with the “Complete Man” – Shammi (Fahad Fazil) – the adarsha purushan who stands for everything that is perceived to make a respectful gentleman in society – an obsession bordering on OCD to be well-groomed, possessing a respectable regular job, and being the patriarchal head of an all-women family comprising his wife Simi (Grace Antony), her younger sister Baby (Anna Ben), and their mother (Ambika Rao) – whom he feels dutiful towards to take care of and be responsible for.
Saji’s helplessness in being unable to release his emotions at the unexpected death of his companion Murugan, and eventual catharsis at the visit to the doctor is one of the most poignant moments of the film. It holds up a mirror to the ‘Malayali man’ who is encumbered by societal and familial pressures to be an emotionless figure of manhood.
The character of Bobby is perhaps the most common figure that many a youth of today will find resonance with. His self-awareness of being an unemployed youth, unfit to be a match for his lover Baby, shows the maturity of a youngster perceived to be aimless. It also, perhaps, scores a point over the blind “true love” of Baby’s, who overlooks his position in the social order and loves him for the person he is, one with a “nalla manasu” – as she points out twice in the film. When she mentions it the first time to her sister, the audience also laughs along with Simi, at the naivete of Baby, who seems to bring back the old-fashioned romance which is blind and impractical – when girls from privileged families fell for ‘autorickshaw drivers’ and the like. It is only at the end of the film that the audience realises the enormous importance of that one essential quality that is enough to love and accept someone – “nalla manasu”.

Shammi’s denouncing of his wife’s uncle’s cooking reeks of toxic masculinity. His veiled effort of calling the family together during meal-time, while slyly sliding his chair towards the head of the table, with clever camera-work that shows him overshadowing the erstwhile male head of the family, is symbolic of the power structure that virulent masculinity upholds within the family structure. The bursting of Shammi’s bubble – “Shammi hero aada, hero” – at the climax is another moment that raises a mirror to our respectable, genteel society, which carries the ‘Complete Man’ on its head.

However, the film does reinforce certain gender norms – such as a house becoming a home only when there is a female presence in it. And that it takes a woman to reform a man. But the film is heartening in its portrayal of empowered women and shows how they are the enabler for the men in their lives. Sumeesha’s love for Prasanth runs parallel to Baby’s for Bobby – two independent working women falling for unemployed youths. Sumeesha’s acceptance of Prasanth is an instance of crushing perceived notions where it is thought that it is difficult for a man who is not that good-looking, to get a girl – something that even takes Prasanth’s own buddy Bobby by surprise, prompting him to remark upon Sumeesha that her love transcends physical appearance, to which she gives a fitting, refreshing response that not only slaps Bobby awake, but the audience as well.
Murugan’s wife’s acceptance of the security provided by Saji and his brothers speaks as much about the young widow’s pragmatism and disregard for society, as Saji’s empty heart and home that seek to be fulfilled. Baby’s outspokenness and rebelliousness towards her “older brother” figure of her brother-in-law cuts a dent into Shammi’s construct of the image of a patriarchal head of the family. But his wife’s firm-footed stepping up against her husband, in support of her sister, just while everyone was thinking of her as lapsing into the ‘obedient wifely’ figure under the male-dominated makeup, wins loud applause from all quarters, signalling the shaking up of the power architecture in patriarchal domestic set-ups.
The second most important point that the film throws light upon is the dignity of labour. While young men today increasingly fall under the burden of finding ‘respectable, dignified’ jobs, with qualifications that allow them to sit at par with the ‘Complete Men’ that society upholds; Kumbalangi Nights lays bare the painful reality of casting away one’s passion and natural calling. It brings home the truth that being a son of the waters, it is futile to close a blind eye to the natural fisherman one is, and seek false hopes in other shores. After all, it is the fishing net that helps them save their enablers and net the monster lurking within the household.
In the end, the door-less, forsaken structure of a house in the abandoned corner of Kumbalangi, wins over society as it gets enclosed by the love and understanding of the women and men who inhabit it and turn it into a home, and turning the very men who were the bane of society into the real heroes.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Trees in My Life

Jamun Tree

I was suddenly jolted by the memory of it 23 years and four cities later. My mind raced back to the seven-year-old me, as I frantically scrambled for vestiges of the remnants – of the Jamun tree and my memories of it. It was a huge, tall tree, with a magnificent canopy. It rained its lush, purple berries on to the untarred road from time to time, whenever it was in season. It strikes me now, as I do a frenetic search on the internet to remind myself of how it looks – the tree and its leaves, that Delhi is not a tropical region, as my internet research tells me of the geographical regions where it grows. 

The first memories that rush forth are of purple stained tongues and the violet juice trickling down the corners of the mouth of my friends and mine. The taste was sometimes bitter, but that’s of the unripe ones, my mother would point out. Bigger than other berries and fleshier than them, the ripe ones that fell on to the ground fell splashing their fleshy goodness, creating a small wet, purple patch around it, like some exotic bird had splattered its exotic purple droppings.

Some of the years of those seven years of my life were spent most happily under that Jamun tree. Whether playing games – stapoo, Red Letter, pitthoo, badminton; just sitting under it and talking away for hours  (I now wonder what it could have been about, at the age of seven!); or my personal challenge to myself of staring at the setting sun without blinking, until it turned a perfect sphere of orange, wondering why adults said that one should not look at the sun directly lest one risks losing eyesight; the world below the Jamun tree was one of pure bliss, togetherness, fun, and innocence.

Guava Tree

It is at the age of 30 that I realise my deep and long-lost connection with the guava tree, that can be traced back to when I was three years old. There were two of them in the backyard of my childhood home. A small one and a big one. Like my sister and I, my mother used to say. Though I have always hated the fruit, I loved the two trees. The bigger one, particularly, which had a distinctive branch growing from the main trunk, giving it a ‘v’ shape. I learned to climb trees because of this guava tree and found the ‘v’ spot perfect to perch myself upon, for hours together, during those years of my life. It was ‘my’ place. A not-so-comfortable spot where I could sit or recline for hours, indulging in various quotidian activities. From having lunch, being fed by my mother, to reading, studying, daydreaming, birdwatching, catwatching; that spot formed an important component of my daily life, which my mother pruned and smoothened to keep it shining and smooth for me. ‘The guava tree is the residence of the “koku” (ghost) after dusk’, my mother used to try to scare me futilely, in vain attempts of trying to bring me down from the tree after sunset. The sturdy and faithful branch later served as a beam from where my father hanged a thick, light green plastic rope, to form a swing for me. He even got our neighbourhood carpenter to create a wooden seat to attach to the rope-swing.

Forest Red Gum Tree

One of the most daydream inducing trees from my childhood, this tall, sky-high, white-barked tree birthed several philosophical thoughts in my young mind. But I realise now that like a sage, who makes you think, without drawing attention to himself; this tree filled my mind with reflections, but I never once thought about the tree per se. This tree was most striking visually, marked most prominently by the vultures that perched atop it. Early mornings and evenings, the scavengers flew down, and even while to my unsullied mind they were birds of nature just like the other feathered ones, the experienced adult minds introduced the idea of the vicious nature of the birds to me, compelling me to perceive them, like they did, as malicious creatures that fed upon carcasses. The late evenings thus gave the trees an appearance of menacing contours, with the tips of their tops silhouetted against the darkening sky with the hooked beaks of the sinister fowl.

But during afternoons, the gum trees were completely different. Gleaming in the bright white heat of the searing sun of Delhi’s summer, the tall, slender trees, with their peeling white barks and the smattering of light green on their sparse leaves at the top, presented a relieving sight against the light blue sky. The vultures vanished somewhere during the daytime to escape the heat, and in their weightless absence, the meagre branches of the trees danced with abandon, seeming to fan themselves in the arid breeze.

Chir Pine Tree

I have had the fortune of coming in contact with these trees only very briefly during my life, during early childhood. The numbered mornings when I have woken up early and accompanied my father for his early morning jogs, took me through paths that were lined with them. And my only pastime was collecting the pine cones. I took them back home as prized souvenirs, as rewards of having woken up early. I painted some, and kept them as decorative pieces around the house, only to realise that they look better in their natural state. I am happy that my young mind was amazed by the wonder of the cones and their mesmerizing patterns.

Purple Jacaranda

I thank my fourth standard class teacher, who introduced us to this beauty that was right before our eyes in school but we had never bothered to take note of. The Purple Jacaranda is as regal as it sounds. A tall, heavy tree with small, delicate purple flowers, it casts a glorious beauty. Capable of turning our class expedition within the school premise into a ‘nature walk’, the tree has surely left its trail of memories in me; though I forget if it has a fragrant trail as well.

Ashoka Tree
Another specie I was introduced to in school, this ‘Christmas tree-like-tree’ was grown all along the perimeter of my school grounds.  Their conical, tapering shape stamped their beauty in my mind and I took note of them wherever I spotted them around Delhi. They seem to be the ‘model’ trees, that are planted in manicured gardens and official spaces, owing to the neatness and sense of propriety that they lend with their naturally well-groomed look.

Peepal Tree

My only connect with the people tree is the each and every single day I have stood beneath it for 14 years of my life, awaiting my school bus in the mornings. From being a shade to a play area till the time the bus arrived; the Peepal tree was an inconspicuous entity in my life. Sometimes, I collected its leaves and placed them in between the pages of books to obtain its skeletal state after several weeks. That it’s called ‘Fig’ in English, is something I learned yet another decade later.

Mango Tree

It struck me little that it is a mango tree during all those years that I lived in that last house in President’s Estate. And that’s because it was right outside the window of the bedroom next to the kitchen. The window itself was beautiful – a French window with wooden frame painted in green. Everything about the view from that window was beautiful – a green view from a green frame. The window opened to the thick torso of the mango tree and my garden beyond it. The ground below the mango tree was always fragrant with the mango blossoms. And it was also full of life – with squirrels and birds pecking around all the time. And thus, it was also always dark from that window, as the thick mango tree blocked most of the sunlight, except very early in the mornings, which I almost always missed. But whenever I did have a chance, the image of the golden sunlight forming patterns through the latticed foliage of the mango tree has remained in my mind. Strange, that I perhaps I had seen the body of the mango tree the most, rather than its leaves or even its fruits.

Chinese Orange

Like a small neighbor to a big mansion, the Chinese Orange tree grew below the towering mango tree, providing an alternative view from the same green French window. With small leaves, separated by sharp, long thorns, I have never really physically touched the tree much. But why it remains indelibly etched in my memory is for a beautiful winged visitor that it played host to. It is a visual wonder to watch the Green Barbet perch delicately between the acute thorns of the Chinese Orange, and swallow down the luscious miniature orange globules that grow on the tree. The fruit is poisonous for human beings, but the way the emerald fowl gulps it down tempts even a fruit-hater like me. The bird and the tree seem to be made for each other; little wonder then, that the colours of the bird are similar to that of the tree – verdant plumage with a tangerine beak!

Crepe Jasmine

The Crepe Jasmine’s presence in those years of my life was like a web of dreams with stars spangled across it. Stars, literally, because its white flowers with yellow centres appear exactly so. And like stars in a green sky, they littered all over my garden. Many an afternoon have I spent sprawling under its floral canopy, stretched out with a book – either a pleasure read or academic literature – lying over a bedsheet. From late mornings to early evenings in Winter, until the warmth of the sun lasted, the Crepe Jasmine was the fount of many a creative prosody that spurted forth from me. It also almost always served as a picturesque backdrop for the innumerable photographs that were taken during our stay in that house.

Coconut Tree

In the third decade of my existence, I have come to recognise the symbol that binds me to my native land of Kerala. If there is anything that reminds me of home, it is the image of the striped patch of blue sky visible from between the green strips of the leaves of a coconut tree.  Whether a rectangular patch visible from the balcony of a Mumbai house, or a square bit peeking from the bathroom window of the rented accommodation in Chennai; that sight of the blue sky streaked with green lends an instant sense of comfort and familiarity.  If I get to see the bunch of coconuts, even better!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ee.Ma.Yau Unravels The Stark Realities Surrounding Death

Death is an experience that is fathomable only to those who experience it in close quarters. Films across the world have portrayed the end of life in various forms, but only very few may have actually projected what happens in the moments after it.

For those who have not seen death closely, Ee.Ma.Yau is an eye opener. It lays bare the naked realities of those who are left to deal with its aftermath. The film breaks down the immediate moments after demise in the most unabashed and bold manner. After the sudden passing away of Vavachan, the story revolves around his family –wife (Pennamma), daughter (Agnes aka Nisa), son (Eeshi), daughter-in-law (Elisabeth aka Sabeth) and the several other characters of a little fishing village where it is set.

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery strips the veil of solemnity that is associated with death and uncovers the hypocrisy and unguarded realities of people when confronted with another’s death through the medium of black comedy. He dares to make the viewer laugh amid a sober situation.   

Pennamma’s need to display her loss to the villagers, Sabeth’s concern to look appropriate before visitors for the funeral, Nesa’s lover’s sly attempt at groping her while consoling her, are just some of the incidences where the thought of the dead is secondary. While the family members and villagers weep over the dead body, Eeshi’s lack of emotion throughout tugs at the audience’s sense of decorum.
The film spans the duration of a single night, from Vavachan’s death to his funeral the next morning. Pellissery bravely prods the conscience when he shows how the need to honour the dead for the sake of societal propriety takes precedence over honest grief. Even before he could take stock of his father’s parting, Eeshi is propelled into beginning preparation for the funeral rites. The film captures Eeshi’s efforts at giving his father a grand, fitting funeral that they were discussing just minutes before his passing. Despite being penniless, Eeshi is determined to buy a grand coffin, to adhere to his word that he gave his father. His lack of judgement at this critical time is aptly pointed out by his close friend Ayyappan.

Speculation about the cause of death, with the numerous tales that are spun by the thrill-seeking villagers, holds up a mirror to society when Lazar admits that he is doing it for “oru rasam”. The nurse, doctor, and SI’s apathy towards the death, their swift conclusions built upon flying rumours, heeded to by the local vicar as well, expose the indifference of humanity and its delight in base pleasures. Ayyappan is the only pragmatic character who goes beyond himself to help out his friend Eeshi at his time of need.

It is only in the climactic moment that Eeshi experiences catharsis in letting go of all the put up constructs of society, and delivers to his deceased father all that is required towards the dead – a heartfelt funeral replete with pure emotions.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Glass Box

It’s big, it’s shiny
It’s made of glass
Embellished with wood,
Stone and brass.

It was built to be the shiniest,
Biggest, loudest, costliest.
So grand in show,
The talk of the town
Glossy and gleaming
Cream and brown.

Shiny fat balls roll inside the box
They roll and rumble
Mumble and grumble.
And all fall over one another, in a tumble.

They clash and collide,
Move close and grow wide
Ruckus they make
Care they fake.

The glass box shakes
With tension and pressure
Threatening to explode
Beyond repairable measure.

The sheen of the glass box is slowly fading
As is the colour of the balls inside
Scratch marks are left on the glass walls
And cracks are growing deep and wide.

It is all there is to the glass box –
Standing in pride
Delusional of its own delicacy
A shining symbol of hypocrisy.

A madhouse of rusted balls
Running helter-skelter
The glass box is now a source of misery
Instead of being a shelter.

It’s big, it’s shiny
It’s made of glass

Who knows how long it’s going to last.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Monsters in the house

 In the recent incident where a woman was molested by a man during a flight journey (watch the video), the said man in the incident is a 60+, well-educated, well-earning man who has a daughter. What would have that daughter gone through, when she saw this video of her father on her Facebook feed? My poem seeks to explore this breed of males, who think that they can hide behind a façade that they create, an image of the educated family man and successful professional who is leading a perfect and respectable life. My poem is an attempt at voicing the reaction of his daughter. 

 While the countless rapes and molestation cases that come to the fore in the daily news show that the perpetrators are mostly uneducated or little-educated, coming from rural backgrounds; the fact that such behavior exists and goes unnoticed in “normal” families is a case in point. While in the so-called more ‘cultured’ families, the more educated men from honourable professions may not go as far as attempting a rape; there is no doubt that they definitely indulge in inappropriate behavior, even if in minor degrees. 

 We think that such acts happen to others and in other families, and we choose to keep our eyes and mouths shut when we see such acts by men within our families, men who could be our own brother or father. For the sake of not creating a stir in the family, or not letting relatives and neighbours know, members of such families silently bear such acts perpetrated by the male member, or ignore it simply because they need to face and interact with that person for the rest of their life. It is time the Indian family wakes out of its conservative mould at the cost of its daughters and sisters.  
My poem is inspired from Sylvia Plath’s poem 'Daddy'.

To count numbers in petals,
And see colours in an eye,
You taught me the letters,
And shapes in the sky.

My first teacher,
My partner in debate,
There was never a day in school,
When I reached late.

From caroms and chess,
To basketball;
Teammate, cheerleader –
You were all.

I was the little girl,
The apple of your eye,
It didn’t take long,
For the truth to dawn by.

But even as a child
I sensed something amiss
As I noted your hands
Touching that and this.

Of course who would suspect
When a man approaches a child
And gently squeezes her bum
As he pulls her beside.

Or when he sits in a car
In the front seat
And caresses the bare legs
Of a little kid – his niece.

From kids he moves on
To nieces grown up
He doesn’t know to talk
Without feeling them up.

‘Oh uncle, you’re funny’
He believes, so the niece thinks
But unknown to him
In her eyes he sinks.

‘Oh beti, you’ve lost weight’
Or, ‘become stout’
Are his excuses
To scan their bodies in and out.

He could be related –
A brother, uncle, or father
That makes you wish
You had another.

He opens magazines and glossy newspapers
From the last page
To leer at half-naked women
Less than half his age.

He waits for his family
To leave the hall
To switch on the television channel
That’s playing women’s beach volleyball.

No matter who the person
He will even letch
At his daughter’s friends
He is such a wretch.

Caressing other women with smiles
He cascades sugar-coated words;
While he scowls at his own wife,
Harsh and rude shouts he hurls.

He waits for his wife
To get busy in the kitchen
So he can sneak out and talk
To the neighbourhood women.

Salivating at every woman,
Forgetting his age
He’s oblivious to the fact
That he’s staring at his grave.

Walking on the road
His eyes on anything that’s female
A little child, a young girl, or woman
He targets without fail.

With squinted eyes
He scans her head to feet
And flashes a lascivious smile
Through yellowed teeth.

Breasts and buttocks,
Buttocks and breasts.
Are the only places
Where his eye rests.

Such men, oh Daddy,
Are everywhere.
Just to walk on the road,
Is a nightmare.

To walk alone peacefully,
A woman can’t afford;
Daddy, Daddy, you bastard,
You’re that man on the road.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


ഈ ചുവന്ന മണ്ണിൽ അലിയുന്ന പച്ചപ്പ്‌,

ഒരു  അൽപം  കരി  കലരും

ആകാശത്തു  നിന്ന്  ചോർന്,  മണ്ണിൽ  വിരിയും

ഈ  പുഴയിൽ  ഒഴുകി  പോകുന്നു  ഞാൻ

നമ്മുടെ  കേര നാട്ടിൽ

ഓർമകളുടെ തീരത്തു നിന്ന്,

എൻറെ  ഹൃദയത്തിന്റെ  വാതിൽ .

മനസ്സിനെ  അലട്ടുന്നു  ജീവിതത്തിന്റെ  പോക്ക്,

ആശിക്കുന്നു  സ്നേഹമുള്ള  ഒരു  വാക്ക്, നോക്ക്.

ഓർമകളുടെ  നിലവറയിൽ  കെട്ടിപ്പൊതിഞ്ഞു

സൂക്ഷിച്ചു  വെയ്ക്കാം  നേരത്തിന്റെ  ചെപ്പിൽ

വിലപ്പെട്ടത്  തന്നെയാണ്  എല്ലാം

ഈ  സന്തോഷം, സ്നേഹം, സൗഹൃദം.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Early Morning Musings...

As a nocturnal being, waking up early in the morning can be epiphanic, particularly when you wake up naturally, unplanned, and refreshed. The visual and sensory experiences that greet you are those that elude you during the rest of the day, and night; almost being revelatory.

To begin with, you realise that there is nothing to beat that ever-so-slight early morning cool breeze. No fan or gusts from air-conditioners, or even the much-favoured sea breezes match the poetic quality of the zephyr at dawn. To take it further, early mornings bring you closer to nature, especially when you are living in a bustling city. Firstly, this serene period before the onset of noisy vehicles and traffic affords you the sounds of birds and squirrels that are hardly perceptible otherwise. This is also the time you can catch hold the sight of the dwindling population of sparrows. With not much activity on the streets, my vision is drawn to the trees in the vicinity, and for the first time in my seven-month stay in this apartment, I notice the presence of Coconut trees, Pine, a Mango tree, a Neem tree, and some Golden Shower Trees (Cassia fistula). There is also a tree species which I had seen from the window of my hotel room in Port Blair. I also spy a bird’s nest in the fig (Peepal) tree across the window, and lo! A kingfisher poised on the cable running between my building and the one opposite.

The dusty coconut and Golden Shower Trees that I was blind to!

Being early, you are also granted the spectacular sight of the passing flights of migratory birds. And once they pass, you also become aware of the antics of your not-so-exotic local neighbourhood pigeons, who also present a commendable show of group flight over the tops of buildings.
Yet, one of the fortunate spectacles is being able to catch the first rays of the rising sun, and more importantly, knowing the exact spot it rises from. This gave me a first – the sight of the pristine white building opposite me glowing in the halo of the sun-beams behind it; whereas otherwise I have always had to keep my curtains drawn due to the exorbitant brightness caused by the sun shining directly upon it. Seeing the tops of buildings gilt-edged with the golden hues is also rewarding.

The spotless neighbours, with the Pine and Fig trees

Coming to the more human level, it is interesting to observe the common breed of joggers. But what arouses the interest is the vast difference among them. A couple where only the wife is attired in the proper gear of walking shoes, yoga pants and sweat bands; while the husband trudges along in flip-flops and trousers. The solitary dude rolls smoothly showing off his sculpted biceps and calf-muscles; while another hobbles huffing and panting under the burden he is trying to reduce. A slim-figured belle with her music strapped on, as her high pony-tail swings in pace with her measured trot, looking right out of some commercial for a health drink. The bloke with a dog tugging along in front of him, but is more interested in his phablet; it is hard to understand who is walking the other. The three wise men dressed alike in white t-shirts and black trousers discuss the performance of the yellow and blue jerseys at the IPL match last night; while a squad of tiny footballers in red jerseys troops into the playground and begin their warm-up.

The three wise men, rapt in post-match analysis

Early mornings also reveal the secret elves – who get your work done while magically remaining unseen. So now I know the lanky boy with the roll of newspapers under his arm; the topi-wallah silently dropping milk-sachets from door to door; the car-washer who leaves your automobile sparkling for you; and the faceless sweepers paving the way for the day’s pedestrian rush.
The next to hit the senses are the aromas of freshly-brewed teas from the thele walla chai-wallah that are so full of life and invigorating, as opposed to the sanitised synthetic salubriousness seen in television commercials. Fragrances of cheap sambar-dosa from the chai-wallah’s neighbouring push-cart, and those wafting from the kitchens of flats next door signal the beginning of the day’s grind.
The honking cars, barking dogs, exhaust fumes, and the intensifying sun awaken me from this beautiful early morning stupor, for it is not ‘early’ any more. Who says you forget to blink only while sitting in front of computer screens; ask me as I’ve sat these two hours without batting an eyelid at these early morning discoveries. At the end of it, the personal achievement remains going beyond the mere drawing of curtains as the daybreak enticed me into venturing forth and sitting awhile on the dusty ledge of my window, from where I could drink in these sights and sounds of the early morning bliss.

Kumbalangi Nights: Empowering men to step away from the masquerade of masculinity

Amidst the cries of #MeToo and debates on ambiguous forms of feminism,  Kumbalangi Nights  comes as a breath of fresh air that deals w...