When ‘Minnal Murali‘ made it to an engineering examination

A question paper on Mechanics of Fluids from a Kothamangalam engineering college has as many as 15 questions involving the Malayalam superhero.

How often does one come across a question paper with a disclaimer that the story, names, characters, and incidents are all fictitious? And that too one set for engineering students.

The second-year mechanical engineering students of Mar Athanasius College of Engineering (MACE), Kothamangalam, who took their third-semester exam on Mechanics of Fluids on Tuesday came across one such. If that wasn’t surprising enough, there was more in store as the questions were weaved around stories and characters drawn liberally from the film universe of the director Basil Joseph, including his latest global OTT superhero blockbuster Minnal Murali.

Sample this one: Kurukanmoola is located at sea level and Minnal Murali was trying to boil water to take a hot bath. That is when Josemon, nephew of Minnal Murali, said that it is possible to boil water at a temperature below 100 °C….Please explain if it is possible or not to Minnal Murali? So goes all the 15 questions invoking characters, names, and plots also from Mr. Basil’s two previous other films Kunjiramayanam and Godha.

Having set that quirky question paper, the faculty member Kurian John never foresaw the overwhelming response it evoked after it went viral on social media especially after Mr. Joseph, an engineering graduate himself, shared it. “In fact, he rang me up the same evening and shared the happiness of his films inspiring an academic initiative. The response from students, faculty members, and alumni were mostly positive though there was the rare negative feedback as well,” said Mr. John who incidentally loved the other two films more than Minnal Murali.

As it turned out, setting innovative question papers has been his forte since he joined MACE in 2016. In his very first year in service, he set a question paper that featured all his 65 students as characters. Two years later, he had set another one drawn on the theme of the deluge.

“The University regulations regarding setting question papers are strictly complied with and the improvisation is limited only to the way the questions are framed and that too subject to the approval of the stream coordinator and the head of the department. The idea is to bring an element of fun to an otherwise tedious exam and also prick the curiosity of the students to motive them to learn the concepts,” said Mr. John.

He adopted the idea of improvising question papers from his guide C. Rajendran while doing his research at IIT Madras. Mr. Rajendran used to pepper question papers with funny or sarcastic one-liners and his disciple, it seemed, took it the whole hog and brought in entire filmi story boards.

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