May 25, 2005

Spirit of Anniyan

(Pic adopted from Indiainfo)

Anniyan's storyline is based on how a lawyer wants to effect changes that would help India become like the western nations. Those of us who have visited the developed countries in Europe and North America would be wondering why India cant become like one of those. Me and my friends have had several discussions on the parasites of Indian society in different parts of the country that plague our progress. Several of them are highly linked with each other.. Here is my list:

(Since I have been living in US for over a year, comparison with the system over here is inevitable.)

1) Politicians:

Biggest problem.

(a) Almost all politicians have money in their mind, not the will to serve the people they voted. They need money for (i) Future, since their political career may come to an abrupt end due to various reasons, (ii) Elections, since most have to pay lumpsum amount during and before campaining, (iii) Paying the party workers during some function at their home, meetings, etc., and (iv) Political trading. For money, those who rule misuse their power, dont make schemes successful and impede growth.

(b) Opposition party politicians have their only policy as (i) trying to come to power in the next election (ii) try to topple the government if some means are available (iii) Keep protesting and criticizing all the decisions of the government and (iv) do the dirty politics of agendaless coalition formation, trying to split parties, etc.

So, in short, politicians in power try to make best use of their 5 years to secure their personal and political future. No worrying about people. On the other hand, in US, whichever party comes to power, they dont anyway change the policy of people service.. They work to make sure the life of citizen goes smoothly.. They dont have 'festival-like' election time for need of money. They are far less corrupt, since they have to be accountable.

Some political parties stick to some agenda which seriously affect the people in a bad way. e.g., the strong communism has prevented industries being setup in W. Bengal and Kerala.. So, most of their cities and towns look the same for several years.. no improvement, no infrastructure improvement. We all know how post-Godhra could have been avoided.

(2) Government employees

Many of them misuse their power to make money. They take a 'laid-back' approach once they get their job, since they are not going to be fired. Many would have got their jobs by paying huge money to politicians and/or higher officials so they also want to make quick and dirty money. Files get clogged and they spend a lot of time in thinking how and where to make house/buy car, etc. than focus on their job. Going for bandh, strike, etc. are just unacceptable. Just ask the question: Do I deserve what I am asking for?

(a) Police: Money from law-violators who erode the society, political bias, underperformance.

(b) Tax officials: Money from tax-evaders, political bias, misusing their power to avenge those who dont comply with them

(c) Administration: money from all who benefit with their 'signatures', political bias, under-performance.

(d) PWD: Nexus with the contractors leading to underservice. c's things apply too.

(e) Teachers and doctors: Under-performance, letharginess, not realizing the seriousness of their impact on the society, concentrating on getting money from their private service (tuition and clinic).

3) People

Most of the people have no awareness on (a) cleanliness (b) maintanance of provided service (c) education and (d) population control and (e) money management. The collective mindset has to change. They have to make sure that their home, office and all they deal with aren't dirtied by them. Get just one child, no matter you are rich or poor, no matter it is a boy or girl. People cant afford to BOOZE as they wish.. esp. the low wage workers.. if they spend 25-50 % on their earnings to drink, how will their quality of life improve?

4) Diversity

India being so diverse is great.. but when the diversity affects the people adversely? Cauvery water issue being a vote-luring one, highly politicized and prestige issue. Clashes between people in the name of religion, region, language and caste. In US too, African-Americans were underprivileged till few decades ago.. I dont think they got any quota system or something to come up in life and society.. No discrimination - one law and thats it.. they joined the mainstream by themselves.. by working hard and making use of the available opportunities. Importantly, the whites accepted them within a very short duration of time.

We have to do something that urgently with the caste system.. The current quota system that exists in states like Tamilnadu will not bring any long-term solution.. The higher caste people have to accept that all are equal. Caste system has to be abolished totally. People need to be educated seriously about it.. Unfortunately, the things are going in exactly the opposite way in this matter.. with caste-based politics getting into almost all states.

5) Unemployment and child labour

With a large chunk of population in the 20-30 age group, unemployment is a plaguing problem.. Government should strictly enforce the law against child labour and punish the offenders.

In short, everyone has to give their near 100% in whatever they do. I think it is enough of funda.

Most of these have been touched upon in different movies. Let us see how shankar approches differently in Anniyan.

May 23, 2005

Anniyan - June 10 (At Last)

After a series of postponements and confusion of release date, 'Oscar' Ravichandran has put an end to all speculations and announced that it would be released on June 10. With its trailer already a big hit and having raised the expectation level from the audience, the director and actor, whose previous films didnt fare too well, keep their fingers crossed and hope that it would be a monsterous hit. Why not... I always believed that Shankar's social-issue-related movies were much better than his lighter storied movies. All the best to Shankar, Vikram, Harris and Ravichandran!!

May 20, 2005

Kana Kandaen - Review

(Pic adopted from BehindWoods)

Kana Kandaen, a romantic thriller, comes as a refreshing change to most of the movies released this year so far. It is good to see a famous cinematographer like KV Anand choosing a different and solid story for his debut movie.

The movie starts with Srikanth visiting a village to attend his childhood friend, Gopika’s marriage. The night before marriage, Gopika is forced to leave the village to Chennai with her trusted friend because she finds that her husband is a rogue. While staying with each other, they come to realize their unexpressed love for each other. Sri, in the meanwhile, completes his Ph.D. – his work is on “Desalination of sea water” – his dream project since childhood to help our water-scarce country solve its water problem. He is frustrated and clueless when he sees no one willing to help him and that’s when Gopika meets her college mate Prithviraj. In the meanwhile, Gopika and Sri get married to each other.

Prithvi is a rich and famous guy who works as a ‘business consultant’ to reputed companies. Gopika feels that he can be of help and persuades Sri to seek Prithvi’s help for realizing his dream. Sri doesn’t want to sell his idea to any company – he would much rather give it to the government so that people can be directly benefited. Prithvi suggests he can give Sri loan to setup a pilot plant and lends him money. The construction for the plan starts and with it, troubles for Sri and Gopika. Prithvi has a huge tag attached to everything he has done and the couple gradually fall into the trap setup by him. Using forgery, cunningness, man power, influence and lots of brain, Prithvi literally ties them down into what seems as an inescapable bondage.

Prithvi gets gently cruel with each passing scene so much that Gopika is forced to abort her child for the fear of sufferings at the hands of Prithvi. Sri somehow manages to complete his plant and the final deal of Prithvi comes wrangling down Sri’s neck. The climax is on who comes out as the winner.

All the three main characters have performed so well that there seems to be a competition among them. Prithviraj comes first in this race with a terrific performance. Here is a villain who, in the first half, appears so well-mannered, gentle and soft (dances well too!!), while the hero is pretty much like one of us, without any aura of heroism around him. And the female lead is down-to-earth, homely, vulnerable and quite the girl-nextdoor. The transition from friendship to love for the lead pair is so soft and nice and after that.. their love has no inhibitions... the love of so many years bursts out in the form of sexy romance.. a different one in Tamil cinema.. Vivek, in his usual self, raises a few laughs but the family audience who love him so much will start hating him if he continues with vulgar jokes and ‘double-meaning’ dialogues. The lady who plays the role of Sri’s research supervisor is interesting.. but I have never seen anyone quite like her in my 8-9 years of research life. She comes as a welcome difference to bespectacled, bossy and cynical supervisors some movies have shown.

Kudos to Suba, the script writers of short suspense novels fame, and the director for keeping the audience on the edge of the seat for much of the second part. Their years of expertise in writing has helped in some fine twists, encounters and human behavior. Watch out the scene where Sri talks over phone with Prithvi after kidnapping the child. Anand has shown how a good story can be portrayed into a fast-paced movie with little glitches. Among the loopholes, the reason behind Gopika’s marriage cancellation and the “Quantum ChromoDynamics” for desalination (with photons, electrons and quarks being discussed) were quite silly. There could have been better substitutions to both. The cinematography by Sounderrajan is quite good, especially in the romantic songs and stunts. Vidyasagar’s songs remind some AR Rahman’s songs (e.g., ‘chinna chinna’ resembles ‘Thanga thamarai magale’ initially and ‘Thai sollum’ resembles the old song ‘poravale poravale ponnurangam’). But, the picturizations of the romantic songs, esp. ‘Kaalai arumbi’ was great.

Kana Kandaen – Nalla Kanavu.

Grade: B+ for the story, Prithviraj and screenplay.

PS: I have read the novel (5-6 years ago, I think) and it affected me greatly. I was thinking about it for a few weeks.. esp. the Madan character.. How a well-mannered soft-speaking man turns into a devil. SuBa had used one scene to show his gentleness: When Madan and Archana have a coffee the first time they meet, Archana adores his style and manner on how he places the order and how he says "Thank you" to the waiter. After reading that, I used to observe people in the restaurants how they talk to the waiters!!!
One more.. when he first shows his evil face, the scene in the movie didnt come as shocking as I had expected. In the story, Madan lists his service charge beginning the day he had coffee with Archana.. and fuel for the car rides.. Man, that was something.. It could have been used in the movie too.

May 18, 2005

Girivalam - Review

(Picture adopted from Mohankumar's)

Girivalam is a very very faithful remake of Akshay Khanna - Bobby Deol - Amisha Patel "Humraaz", directed by Abbas-Mastan. And a very poor one. For those interested in its story: Shaam and Tanu Rai are newly married. Shaam is a aspiring leader of a small dance group who wants to make it big and quick. Richard is a young rich businessman who is looking for a dance group to perform in his ship's star cruise. Shaam kills a guy who is the rival dance group leader in order to get the star cruise contract.

Richard meets Tanu in the ship and falls for her.. He being rich and handsome, Tanu also slowly reciprocates her love (?). Shaam feels sad (!?) for that, but lets Tanu marry Richard. But, there is a hidden plot in this.. It is the plan contrived by Shaam that Tanu should divorce Richard and get a huge compensation. Shaam kills a troup member, Anamika, who gets to know the plan and gets away as with the first murder.

The multi-crore plan slowly starts back-firing when Tanu really starts falling in love (?) with Richard due to his kindness and care and Shaam is gettiing impatient. Richard gets to know all this and he decides to kill his wife for being untruthful.. From this part on, like in the hindi version, the story gets 'inspired' from "The Perfect Murder" and the climax is all messed up and gory.

Firstly, I was left wondering what made the director Shivraj ('Adithadi') to get inspired from a below-average "Humraaz". He must have got a bad hindi translator, since Akshay and Amisha are lovers, not married, in the hindi original (!). This is one movie where no-one gives an impressive performance. All the three lead roles in this movie act as amateurish as one can get.. and with no expressions whatsoever.. Shaam and Richard have good body and thats it.. Less said about Tanu and Anamika, the better.. They dance and roam around in skimpy clothes, which reminds you of 1980's movies.

The supporting cast of Charlie, Ramesh Khanna et al. do a poor job and technically too, there is nothing to write about. 'Isai Brahma' (?!?) Deva makes sure that there is nothing positive in this movie (songs in Hindi were hummable atleast). This move is worth skipping and, believe me, you wont regret it.

Grade: "C-" for unimpressive act and low production values.

May 17, 2005

Kamal's Next Film in Kannada

Kamal is acting in Kannada after a long time.. It is going to be the remake of "Sathi Leelavathy" and he is going to replay the Doctor role. Ramesh Aravind would try his luck in direction with this one. He is joining Balu Mahendra and David Dhawan, who directed the Tamil and Hindi versions resply.

Kamal has said it is his first Kannada movie since Pushpak in 1987!! I think he had some pun intended.. Coming to think of Pushpak, it is a nice blend with its lead stars being Tamil (Kamal, Amala and Pratap), Director and few supporting actors being Andhrites (Singeetham and the unforgettable 'begger' actor), movie being shot in Windsor Manor, Bangalore and some hindi actors too (Tinnu Anand and the captive).

If you watch the movie now, just see the location around Windsor Manor and the traffic of 1987.. Man, what a huuuuuge difference...!!

SuBa's entry into cinema

Got to know KV Anand's directorial debut Kanaa Kandaen has been released. I regard him high in my list of favorite Cinematographers and have seen most of his movies. To my pleasant surprise, it was SuBa's story that Anand has chosen.. wow.. that would be great.. I used to love reading those crime novels by Rajesh Kumar, SuBa (Suresh and Balakrishnan) and Pattukottai Prabhakar (PKP). Though the former's stories were undoubtedly great, I found a nice variety in SuBa's stories, in terms of the 'naughtiness' factor, their 'varnanai', unknotting the plots, the duels between their star pair Naren-Vaijayanthi, supported by Ramdas and John Sundar.. I have seen PKP and Devibala's stories being made into teleserials.. And when I used to see some so called 'thriller' movies in Tamil, I was found wishing how it would be if SuBa pen a script for a Tamil thriller... So, looks like my wish has been fulfilled.. Cant wait to watch Anand's Kana.

Star Wars

No, this is not about the forthcoming sequel.. It is about the war-of-words between some of our tamil heroes… Vijay-Ajit and Dhanush-Simbhu duels are well documented. When I think about it, this is what I get: In the case of latter pair, people have ascribed it to Aish marrying Dhanush. There were once rumors on Dhanush-Aish relationship, since they both studied in the same school and also kids of cine personalities. Some dialogues in Manmathan, even I felt, seemed to be attacking Dhanush and Aish. Even though both parties deny it, I think that’s the reason.

The “Vijay-Ajit” stuff also seems to be along the same line. Vijay and Shalini gave a blockbuster “Kadhalukku mariyathai” and they joined again for “Kannukkul Nilavu”. Looks to me that Vijay fell for Shalini… both were Christians too.. I cant say about the response and reciprocation of Shalini but she married Ajit after “Amarkkalam”. The hungama started only after that, with Vijay being the first one to vent out his anger against Ajit, and, Ajit too gave it back to him.. It goes on till now.. Vijay married Sangeetha and is living happily but, I have the feeling that he cant forget Shalini.. my evidence is “Sachein”, where the girl he craves for answers to the name “Shalini”!!!! In several of his dialogues with her, I felt that he talked from the heart.. and I have never seen him at this much romantic best in any of his movies. He says "Shalini" moochukku munnooru thadavai.. His only motto in the whole movie is to make "Shalini" say "I luv u" to him.. Poor man, he has his own version of love story deep in his heart and may be ruing his missed chances to convey his feelings to Shalini,, thinking that, with successes galore and a great position in the industry, how happy he would have been if……

May 13, 2005

New Singers Galore

For the past few weeks, I have been listening to three albums - Yuvan's "Arindhum Ariyadhadhum" and "Daas" and Harris's "Anniyan"... Can't help noticing so many new singers being used by leading music directors nowadays.. A refreshing change from the old time of "Mano and Chitra" and "SPB and Janaki" announcements in radio. But, too many spices spoil the taste of food, right? Nowadays, it is hard to differentiate between the singers' voices. It is almost impossible for me to differentiate between Kavita Krishnamoorthy and Mahalakshmi Iyer.
Apart from the few well-established ones like Hariharan and Shankar Mahadevan, there are some 'irregulars' like Karthik, Srinivas or Tippu. It is a huge list in the case of female singers in the last 3 years or so. For the music directors, it not only bring fresh voice and variety but also they can be paid quite cheap.. so economical too!! But, in this flood of fresh blood, most are washed off after a handful of songs while only a few stay. Is it good or bad?

May 12, 2005

Defending Kamal Haasan

Came across this post in Balaji's website:
This accuses Kamal of acting as a 'arivujeevi' despite of stealing the stories of his movies from Hollywood flicks.. I dont agree to it completely. The main discussion is on Virumandi.
Virumandi was in the making for a real long time.. under the name Sandiyar.. 3 Deewarein was released on first week of august, 2003. (
Kamal is one who likes to give interviews.. he does it frequently.. and he reveals the inspirations, if any, during some interview or the other.. everyone knew that Avvai Shanmughi was going to be indianized Mrs. Doubtfire.. Even Magalir Mattum, Kamal said, was inspiration from a Hollywood movie.. I remember that well.. not all can see/listen to all of Kamal's interviews.. so it is not his mistake and responsibility to answer everyone.
Kamal, we all know, is from Paramakudi, a Thevar-dominated area.. He has told that he, and R.C.Shakthi, a Thevar, used to spend lot of time in each other's house.. so, the impact of the other community can be seen their movies.. RC Shakthi's Sirai is a classic take on Brahmins... and Kamal likes to take on Thevars..
Being born and brought up in urban society of Madras, hard to know whats going on in villages in south tamilnadu.. Life in villages is different: the "Pangali" fight among Thevar community can sometime be really cruel.. Kamal has portrayed that wonederfully in Thevar Magan and to some extent, in Virumandi. So, comparing Thevar Magan to Godfather is unacceptable. True.. Kamal has always heaped praise on Marlon Brando, and said that his Nayakan act has been influenced by him.. but I dont think so about Thevar Magan. By now, you would have realized that I am a big time Kamal fan.. but that doesnt mean I would defend him for all he does.
I didnt like the hoopla around his "Doctorate" ... The 'honarary doctorate' has become a joke of late.. (do i need to tell about the politicians?) we all know it too well... Though Kamal has achieved more than some of those who have received it (that too multiple times, from different universities...!!!), I think it is not necessary for Kamal to put a Dr. in front of his name.. Looks cheap to me..

Hope I didnt hurt anyone..

Great to be here

I have created this blog as my WebDiary... to go along with my other passion, cricket..
Here I am planning to post my own music and movie (Tamil and Hindi) reviews, some fundas out of deep thoughts on some other subjects (like Chemistry, life, Politics and stuff). Since I am quite a surfer, I myself read reviews a lot from other websites.. but hopefully the ones I post would be unique and straight out of what I feel. I am not a great reader (yet).. I dont read novels and stuff.. I would rather spend my spare time on the net to catch up with the latest news on Cricket, Movies and Politics. Hope there are people to read it.. (I have to spread the word)..