Dec 30, 2006

Before Sunrise

There cant be a more appropriate time than now to write the review of one of my all-time favorite movies - when a largely forgettable year of 2006 ends and a potentially bright and exciting 2007 arrives. This movie and the next one that I would be writing a review shortly on, have a very special place in my heart.. the movies that are never boring how manyever times I watch and so beautifully visualized and made. A close friend recommended me to watch it and I am very glad I did. Thanks, Buddy!! I know this is a 1995 movie and I am 11 years late in writing a review but what the heck.. better late than never, rite? (Optimist, optimist..)

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are two strangers on a Eurail. They start talking and soon strike a wonderful chord. Jesse, an American, has to get down at Vienna to catch his flight the next day and Celine, a French, is on her way to Paris. In Vienna, Jesse proposes Celine that she gets down the train and give him company in spending his day before his flight, to which she agrees. They keep talking all day, while visiting some of the most beautiful places in Vienna. How are they gonna bid adieu to each other when his time to leave comes the next day?

'Before Sunrise' is by far the best romantic Hollywood movie I have ever seen. We have two very simple, down-to-earth people, who have their own views, experiences, and observations of their lives thus far. Most love stories are based either on love-at-first-sight or one falling for the other's extraordinary ability like singing, dancing, etc. or physical attraction or some other weird reason. The best way to know a person is by talking and thats the central plot of this movie, in a very believable, intelligent and soothing manner. True there is the admiration of their beauty as well, but that only adds extra romance to their conversations. Thanks to Youtube, I can post some of my favorite moments of the movie.. plz. watch them to know what I mean.

Jesse's unique way of asking for Celine's company

Jesse is a handsome, sensitive, romantic, witty, caring guy and so is Celine. Her French accent adds further beauty to their interactions. The chemistry between them is just perfect. Most of their converstions are based on their childhood experiences, love, philosophy, God, birth, death and relationships. Despite talking non-stop, they dont get tired of each other, so didnt me, listening to them. It is as if the director/scriptwriter wanted to convey all his thoughts and ideas to the world and he has used the couple for that. Thank god, there was no blogging those days.. ;) Each and every one of those conversations tells us something the intricacies of the thinking process of men and women, and their views on diverse subjects.

There is one scene (of conversation, what else..) on a tram, which is a single shot of 6 long minutes.. Wow.. that was amazing.. Many of the conversations are very funny and evoke hearty laughter. And if you think there is only dialogue between them, hold on.. The romantic moments are so cute and lovely. Have a look at the following bit to get a feel of their liking towards each other. Each try to outperform the other.. superb scene..

And, oh yeah.. the best scene of the movie.. Oh my god.. I havent seen a more innovative and beautiful 'telephonic' conversation in any other movie. No heaps of praise would be enough for this one.. Plz. watch:

I can go on and on about 'Before sunset', but I have to stop.. so, I leave you with another small clip on the wonderful concept of love and life.

The climax is very unique.. quite surprising, actually.. Leaves the viewer with a lot of questions and guesses. That is, of course, if you dont watch the sequel. See.. I still cant stop raving about it.. I have to mention some other fav moments..

a) In the tram, her hair falls on her face, and Jesse wants to move it aside.. so he brings his hands near her face and hesitates bcos he still isnt that friendly with her.

b) He talks about 'quaker wedding' in which the couple just stare at each other's eyes before being declared married. Then, he starts looking into her eyes.. she grins a lil and breaks the eye contact.

c) The 'milkshake' poem penned by the streetside homeless guy

d)The concept of 'early goodbye'

e) Logic of reincarnation

Last, but certainly not the least...
f) Jesse says, if he and she were together always, she would be sick of his mannerisms, his telling the same-old stories, etc. And, Celine says later that she feels that she would feel the opposite. She thinks she can really fall in love when she knows everything about someone; thats when she would know she's really in love.

The last-mentioned moment, IMHO, is based on the solid foundation of love. Imagine a love that keeps growing day-by-day, till the end.. I would wish to be part of such a love. Amazing.. 'Before sunrise' is like a mini-guide on love and relationship. There are dozens of such beautiful scenes throughout the movie..

In short, it is a MUST-WATCH MOVIE, esp. if you are a romantic-movie lover. I have already watched it thrice in the past 3 months and this would soon be 'my most-watched movie ever.' After writing the review I realized that I have never written one for an english movie, this shows how irrestible the movie cud be.

Have a Very Happy, Prosperous, Memorable, Fun-filled, Successful New Year 2007 !! May most of your ventures lead to fruition and most of your dreams come true!!

Dec 21, 2006

Sachin's unwanted/unintentional influence

I still remember reading an article written 8 years ago in India today's cover story "Zen and the Art of Sachin" in Dec, 1998 issue. In that article, the author wrote about the Sachin as a person and pointed out how Sachin is so 'un-middle-class-like' despite being born and raised in a middle class environment. One of the points he mentioned was about his age difference with his wife, Anjali.
Recently, I was reading somewhere about Abhishek-Aish courtship and Bachhan's family's approval to it. Apparently Amitabh, when someone asked him about Aish being >5 years elder to Abhishek, points to Sachin-Anjali's case and said "they are a very happy and successful couple.. so it really doesnt matter if the gal is older". Even in the movie 'Vallavan', Simbu gives the example of Gandhi-Kasturba and Sachin-Anjali and justifies his dating Nayan.
I have heard similar opinions from some of my friends too.. Sachin being an idol for most of India's youth, all what he does are followed quite keenly by both media and public alike. He is one of the true 'role models' for us, but it better stops with his on-field performance and public life. I am not saying that it is wrong for guys to marry someone older.. it is very common in the Western world but for India, I feel that the ageold-practised system is the best.
When parents fix the marriage, seldom they choose an elder gal, rite? Such things happen only in love marriages. IMHO, a girl can be upto a year elder to the guy but beyond that, it would add only further complications to the already complicated marriage life. I dont wanna dwelve upon what they are, but, just to point a few, ego clashes, decision making, and even normal family crisis take an ugly turn when the new dimension of the woman thinking her hubby being younger to her and possibly less experienced/mature arises. Well.. it all depends on the attitude of the individuals, but, if the thought of the -ve age diff. keeps lingering in the minds of the couple, it aint gonna be a smooth life.
The usually conventionally thinking Indian male would hesitate a lot before falling in love with an older girl but, to convince himself, that girl and also the parents, he can simply point his fingers at Sachin and ask "if he can, why not me?". This, to me, is the only negative influence Sachin has had/would have on we Indians.
PS: The poll 'Best of 2006' would continue to be the second post from the top, until early Jan, 2007. My other recent posts will be below that one (e.g. Godavari).

Dec 18, 2006


It has been a long time since I watched a Telugu movie and I was tempted to watch Godavari after reading some positive comment on it in 'Arasu Badhilgal' of Kumudam. I am glad I did, bcos movies such as this are very rare. I can say with assurance that this is one of the best movies I have seen in recent years, and the best love story after 'Kaadhal'.
Sriram (Sumanth), an MS from the US, is an idologist. He wants to join politics and serve the country. He has crush on his cousin, Raji (Neetu) who is his childhood sweetheart. Raji likes him too and her dad would have got her married to him only if he had secured a good job in accordance with his education and proved himself. Raji gets engaged to an IPS recruit and the wedding is slated to take place in Badrachalam. Seetha (Kamalinee) runs a boutique and is ambitious. Her business is dull and her family wants her to get married soon. Sriram and Seetha meet each other on a boat travel to Badrachalam, across the river Godavari. The movie is about how the lives of the three people converge during the boat trip.
Storywise, it is a very simple triangular love story, and we get to see how friendship blooms into love through a series of events. The most unique feature is that almost everything happens on the boat. It also throws in 4 youngsters, each of whom is very different from the other in personalities. The calming influence of the river is reflected in the way the things unfold. The movie is sprinkled throughout with sweet romantic encounters. My fav scenes are the treasure hunt, the first encounter between them, the climax and her interactions with his granny.
Sumanth is OK but my star of the movie was undoubtedly Kamalinee. After a disappointingly brief but charming appearnce in VV, I was looking forward to a full-length role by her, and, Oh boy, it cant probably get better than this. She is an epitome of the modern career-oriented, struggling 21st century woman who is a very difficult puzzle to understand but, nevertheless, a very interesting one to solve. She does full justice to the role and her big, expression-filled eyes are a treat to watch. Neetu is beautiful and plays her role well.
The music is great. I loved the title song and the background score. The cinematography beautifully catches the breathtaking Godavari river and various natural colors of the sky during the different times of the day. Oh, I forgot to mention the boat.. which is like a character in the movie. Its spellbounding beauty in the nights and its various 'attachments' (like the small hut) have made me such a huge fan of the boat that I have decided that the boat trip across Godavari would be atop my list of favorite things to do during my next visit to India. Anyway, that apart, despite my limited knowledge of Telugu, I could enjoy this movie totally.. I strongly recommend this movie to you all. A must watch for romantic movie lovers.

Dec 12, 2006

Best of 2006

Little over a fortnight to go before bidding adieu to this year, and it is time to look back at the events of the year that would be remembered after a long long time.. Similar to the last year, I have created a series of polls to decide the best of 2006 in tamil film industry. Barring a handful, rest of the movies disappointed big time. It appears as if the quality is declining each year.. This year has been dominated by movies based on Underworld, and I really hope that the trend is over.

Please cast ur valuable vote to the deserving candidate(s) under each category (Do I sound like a politician? ;) ) Some of the entries might spring a surprise, but that pretty much sums up the story.. it is hard to think of genuinely 'best' ones.. Anyway, here we go..

Best Film
Chithiram Pesudhadi
Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi
Em magan
Vettaiyadu Vilayadu

Best Actor
Kamal Hassan (VV)
Vadivelu (Imsai Arasan)
Bharath (En Magan, Pattiyal)
Jeeva (Dishyum, E)

Best Actress
Sneha (Pudhupettai)
Sangeetha (Uyir)
Reema Sen (Vallavan)
Jyothika (VV, SOK)

Best Director
Mishkin (Chithiram Pesudhadi)
Gautham (VV)
K Bhagyaraj (Paarijatham)
Simbudevan (Imsai Arasan)

Best Music Director
AR Rahman (SOK)
Yuvan (Pudhupettai, Pattiyal, Azhagai Irukkirai...)
Harris Jayaraj (VV)
Devi Sri Prasad (Something something..)

PS: For Non-tamil friends, a couple of polls concerning only the best Hindi movie:

Best Hindi Film
Rang De Basanti
Lage Raho Munnabhai

I was surprised that 2006 was a better year for Bollywood than Kollywood.. I had to exclude movies like Krrish, Corporate, Fanaa and Dhoom 2, which were pretty good as well..

I hope and wish that 2007 is better for Tamil cine industry.. Eagerly waiting for Dasavatharam and Sivaji..

Dec 6, 2006

The advantage(s) of watching movies

Aruna had commented in my last post that, nowadays, I am writing too many posts on movies.. mm.. true.. what to do.. that is one subject which is seldom a dull one to discuss.. And at times, there are some practical applications too.. One incident that happened a few weeks ago immediately comes to my mind..
I was leaving to gym from home and had changed to gym suit. I was carrying the gym bag and it was pretty cold outside.. Only after coming out did I realize that my key bunch didnt have the house key, since I had removed it sometime ago for making a duplicate. I was too lazy to get in, remove my shoes, search for the key and wear the shoe back.. Since it was already dark and my neighborhood is reputed to be gud, I thought I dont have to lock the house for an hour and half, and I left.
After I returned, I turned the knob to try to open the door, and, the door was locked!! I was shocked at first but then got myself composed and thought of the various possibilities.. 1) A thief is inside; he has locked the door from inside and would barge out anytime after collecting his loot.. 2) My home-owner might have come to talk to me for something, and while pushing the knob, the door could have opened; and since he is 'THE OWNER', he might have locked it using his copy of the key; 3) It somehow got locked by itself, may be due to the force with which I slam the door.
Now, the first possibility is deadly.. the easiest way to get a ticket 'upstairs' is to stand in front of the possibly-armed thief rushing out with his collection. So, I went around the house searching for any tiny light which the thief might be using to see inside.. there wasnt anything.. and after listening for sometime, I didnt hear any sound either. So, I jumped to the second possibility.. but, my house-owner wasnt there in the house and God knows when he would return, and it was getting pretty late at night. I was thinking of reasons to tell him why I left the house unlocked and sometime passed.
what if it is #3? How to open the door? To call 911 and let the cops do it.. why to unnecessarily create a commotion with NYPD? That s'd be my last option.. Then, I remembered a scene from one of the recently watched Hollywood movie in which the hero enters into someone else's house using, simply, a plastic card such as a credit card. I thought of applying the same trick with my doorlock, took out the Gym membership card and started swiping it along the edge.. Voila, it worked!! The door opened and luckily there was no one inside. I thanked the movie for infusing me with such an idea, but alongwith that, struck the thought about how vulnerable such locks are.. Our own 'Dindugul poottu' grew up so high in esteem in my mind...

Nov 30, 2006

Enakku oru ummai therinjaaganum...

There are some tamil song lyrics which are quite difficult to understand at times. I am not talking about dubakoor second grade songs, but some top-class songs written in 'good tamil'. If you can throw some light on these, I will rest in peace.. :)
1) 'KanAkANum kAlangaL' (7G RC):
NadaipAthai kadaiyil un peyar padithAl
NenjukkuL EnO mayakkangaL piRakkum
What is the relationship b/w platform shop and her lover's name?
2) 'VeNNilavE' (VV):

VaNNangaL vaNNangaLatra vazhiyil vazhiyil silar nadakkiRAr nadakkiRAr
ManjaLum pachaiyum koNdu peyyuthu peyyuthu mazhai nanaikirAr nanaikiRar
In the first line, does he mean a life that is not colorful? And, in the second, what is the yellow-and-green rain? Rain falling at the backdrop of colored lights? And, what is the link b/w the two lines? Engeyo udhaikkira madhiri irukkey..
3) 'KaNNukkuL nooRu nilavA' (Vedam puthithu):

Aanin thavippu adangividum

pennin thavippu thodarndhuvidum
When I heard this song for the first time ages ago, it appeared as if Vairamuthu talks about something sensual, so I left it like that... Recently, I was discussing about this song with a friend and for sometime, when I think about the lyrics, it means nothing obviuos. Considering the next line (Ullam enbadhu uLLavaraikkum inbam thunbam ellamey iruvarukkum), the above dont sound like anything sexual. What is she trying to convey by such a statement? What 'thavippu' (or quest) does she talk about which is different for men and women?

Nov 21, 2006

One 'quick' idea

One is driving and suddenly sees red and blue light flashing behind.. cops pull over the car and accuse the driver of overspeeding. In countries like US, they have a 'radar scan' to support their claim, but what about in developing countries? I am not aware of such hi-tech monitoring systems. Moreover, one often encounters speeding vehicles in the absence of any cop car. Assuming that speed kills and is dangerous, I thought of an accessory. On the week when a 'fast movie' (Dhoom 2) is released, I think the timing of this post is appropriate..
The device is electronically attached to the speedometer and has a 'short term memory' of about 30 minutes. What it does is, it memorizes the speed of the vehicle for the past 30 minutes. Suppose you notice a dangerously speeding vehicle running scot-free.. all you need is to call the cops, and give them some useful descriptions about it.. (like the road, vehicle's color/make, number, whichever helps identify that better). The cop patrolling nearby would be able to trace the vehicle. Most cars slow down upon seeing a cop car; even the culprit might have.. but then the cop pull the car over and then clicks a button, my device (call it, say 'speed-monitor') plots the speed of the vehicle for the latest 30 mins, and the driver gets a ticket. How cool is it?
There could be some complications, like, e.g., speed limits vary on a single road; they obviously vary depending on the type of the road; but, still, if the plot shows a speed of 85 or above in any road, it is an offense, rite? I have a feeling that it shouldnt be too difficult to design such a gadget.. and it can be made tamper-free/fool-proof as well.. Like how it is mandatory to get insurance/registration, and in some cases, inspection done from time-to-time, having this device could be made mandatory by a State/Federal law. I am sure it would keep the 'fast people' on check and reduce accidents.

Nov 10, 2006


V #1: VattAram
Story: Dada kadhaidhan. How a henchman thrives for the throne and goes about his mission.
What I liked: The second half. Though this is the 'n'th Dada movie of '06, some scenes stood out. The daredevil attitude of Arya is interesting. He has more than usual greyness in his character, similar to 'Thiruttu payale'. The heroine Kirat looks pretty but not much scope for acting. Something unique about the voice of the girl who acts as the heroine's friend. It is raw but attractive.
What I didnt like: The first half. Was too slow, and far less than convincing. Nasser was wasted. Arya's voice sucks for a gangster. Seems to be sleeptalking. The love angle b/w the pair is quite weak.
V#2: Vallavan
Story: Boy falls love at first sight with a girl; woos her in an inferior disguise; but there are two KBalachander-ish obstacles. But, u know who the hero is, and u know what will happen.
What I liked: Both the issues are handled pretty fresh; but IMHO, it was too much for one movie. He could have handled one of it in an elaborate manner. Nevertheless, there was maturity in his direction/story-telling beyond his age. Heard/saw 'Loosu penney' for the first penney and it was catchy. Simbhu showed glimpses of his acting prowess. Needs a good director to keep him in control.
What I didnt like: Simbhu, whenever he thinks himself as the superstar. Ellarum punch dialogue solla arambichuttangappa.. thaanga mudiyale. And, what did he want to convey in the climax, when he meets Reema Sen? Anniyan hang-over huh?
(All pics were adopted from nowrunning)
V#3: VaralAru
Story: Blend of Deiva mahan, Kudiyirundha koyil and aalavandhan. Actually quite complicated, so I would rather not reveal it.
What I liked: Fast screenplay. And some songs of ARR..
What I didnt like: Too many double-entendre jokes in the first half; some of the tactics of the 'other' Ajith were too cinematic. The way the sexual abuse was handled and justified was pathetic. And, totally damp meaning for the word 'Godfather'.. this wasnt the story I expected for a movie with this title.
PS: Upon 'popular demand', I have classified over 80% of my posts into various sub-sections and listed them on the sidebar.. Newly/recently visiting friends can hopefully find posts that are of interest to them.. Have a good weekend !!!

Nov 9, 2006

Why random walk?

I know that many of you would have got the question why I have chosen 'Random walk' as the title for my blog. Only once I was asked that question; I was thinking of writing about it for quite sometime.. Anyway, here is why my blog is named so..
* The obvious guess is, it talks about the randomness of the topics of my posts. That is the primary reason.
*In addition, there ia a strong scientific reasoning as well.. in my area of polymer science, the theory of 'random walk model' is used to calculate the average end-to-end distance/length of a long chain of polymer. In this model, the 'random walk' is taken by a 'drunkard' ;) (equivalent to an active growing polymer chain-end).
* Since it is strongly based on probability, the 'next move' in a random walk is totally unpredictable, and no direction gets a preference over the other. I try to do the same by not writing on the same topic for 2-3 consecutive posts.
* Wiki cites some interesting applications of the theory of 'random walk' in other areas, such as..
#In psychology, random walks explain accurately the relation between the time needed to make a decision and the probability that a certain decision will be made. (How is itt??)
# In vision science, fixational eye movements are well described by a random walk.
# Random walk is used to model gambling. (how about making some moolah, guys?)
# During World War II a random walk was used to model the distance that an escaped prisoner of war would travel in a given time. (ada paavigalaa...)

Nov 8, 2006

New York Nagaram - Some Insight

I was thinking aloud about this song for sometime and realized "whats the real great deal even if it is not shot in NYC".. In the movie, Jo starts reading Surya's diary and all she sees is the lyrics.. She hasnt visited NYC, so she could only imagine some Western city. Since tamil movie songs have been mostly shot in Europe, she would have imagined something similar to what she had seen. And, she has seen Surya dancing only at home, so his dancing in the song isnt great. He is always happy; she hasn't seen him at any emotional moment probably.. so thats why his expressions suck in the song.

Lastly, the relationship b/w the two was at its lowest just before she read that diary, so the chemistry b/w them was in the song too.. Moreover, I think it had a director's touch as well.. Lemme explain.. By showing some other city in place of NY, the director probably gives us a hint of what is coming. Those who have watched the movie know how bad her imagination is (her imagination/dreaming of the interaction between Surya and Bhumika in the climax). One more thing... Jo is seen shown as doing some job.. may be it had something to do with preparing powerpoint presentations.. Thats why this song also runs more as a PPP.. (Thanks, KK, for helping me choose the 'right' word). Good direction, no? OK folks.. take it easy.. Enjoy the song.

Nov 7, 2006

Happy B'day, Kamal !!

Very many happy returns of the day to one-and-only Kamal Hassan!!
As an actor, singer, dancer, script-writer, director, producer and role-model, his contribution to the Tamil cinema is unparalleled.. The journey he started at the age of 6 is going strong, 8 short of 60 now.. He is one artist who has adapted quite well to his age and played such characters which suit him reasonably well. On this day, my top 6-fav movies of his.. a tough list to make, but nevertheless, chronologically..
1) Moondram pirai - 'THE' movie that made me his die-hard fan forever. No one had such an impact on me as he did in this climax.. For the first time, I started thinking a lot about a movie after coming out of the theater and tried to imagine how the climax could have been if....
2) Nayakan - Need I say more? Those minute details such as the cut he had on his eyebrow, that crying scene, pan-chewing oldman get-up, change in body language as the story passes through different phases of his life.. all these made me sit and take gud notice of him. The first movie I saw 5 times.. each time, I had something new to rave about Kamal.
3) Aboorva sahodharargal - I think it was the first movie which was advertised on TV.. I vaguely remember watching the promos and counting days to watch the movie. It was worth the wait. How he pulled off 'Appu' is still mysterious.. so much debate on how he managed to do it so easily.
4) Thevar Magan - It created a huge rage bcos of the 'first ever Kamal-Sivaji' movie and it lived upto its expectation frame-by-frame.. The father-son interaction scene was the best of all.. very simple dialogues but the expressions were out-of-the-world..
5) Mahanadhi - I would rate this as his BEST performance so far.. more than his national-award winning ones. No weird make-ups, not anything unusual, pretty much a man-next-door Kamal, but mind-blowing performance. Many critics said he deliberately targetted the audience's eye glands, but I wouldnt say so.
6) Indian - Another big combo of Kamal-Shankar. This one didnt disappoint one bit either. It was quite difficult to show emotions behind such a heavy make-up, but his eyes spoke it all. I was proud to be a Kamal fan when my mom, after watching the movie said "what an act by Kamal".. bcos she is usually indifferent to actors' performances.
A special note: MMKR - Out-'n-Out laugh riot. Can watch it any number of times, and still LOL each time.. Look at 'Raju-Kamal's expression when Madan tells him "Catch my point" and he says "adhu ellam thaana varum, ille?".. sooo cute..
So, I wish, on this day, that Kamal continues to enthrall millions of his fans in the years to come.

Nov 2, 2006

Tamil vs Hindi Cinema: 6. Music Directors

After more than 3 months, back to this thread. Music is an integral part of Indian cinema; hardly are there movies without songs. Since this is a vast subject, I will not touch upon the old movies/music and the verdict would be solely based on the current state of quality.

Tamil film music directors(MD):
The unarguable leader is AR Rahman. His growth was phenomenal, but fortunately/coincidentally happened during the time when Ilayaraja's music started to sound less and less interesting. From 1992-2000, much of his attention was in Tamil cinema but ever since then, he first became a 'National music director' and then 'International MD'. I would still include him under 'Tamil' category.
Following closely on his footsteps are extremely talented and promising MDs like Yuvan Shankar Raja and Harris Jayaraj. One can always expect something different and exciting from these two. They are ready to take the mantle from Rahman, in case he decides to score most of his music outside Tamil. Next level includes Vidyasagar, and Bharadwaj. Others are, IMHO, good enough for a good surprise number here or there. Since most of the viewers of this blog are Tamils, I dont think I need to write more about the achievements of the aforementioned MDs.
Hindi film MDs:
Until Rahman's 'Rangeela', Hindi film music was rather mostly predictable. MDs like Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji and even RD Burman (1942 A Love Story was a glorious exception) liked to use 'Violin-based music' a lot, which made most of the songs and tunes monotonous. After Rahman's entry, they realized that they need to change their music-making style in order to survive in the industry. Unlike in Tamil, music companies (such as Tips and Venus) had a much bigger say in the movie matters, so their constant pressure resulted in a forced form of Hindi music in the late 90's. Some survived to give good numbers, whereas some faded into the background. That was the time when the 'remixes' and Indi-pop albums made unwelcome entry into the mainstream music. Needless to mention, the quality of film music largely sucked then. I would touch upon some recent music directors and their prowess.
Right now, they are undoubtedly #1 in Hindi. They started off slowly with 'Mission Kashmir', 'Dil Chahta hai', and 'Armaan' as noteworthy albums in their first 3 years; but with 'Kal ho naa ho', their ascent to the present position has been very steady. They have Rahman-touch in their music, but they cleverly mix and blend Western and Indian music to give us some mesmerizing numbers. Their recent hits include 'Bunty aur Babli', 'KANK' and now, 'Don'. If famous and young directors like Farhan and Karan continue to stick to them, they are sure to sustain their position for quite sometime now.
Though they gave a super-hit 'Jo jeeta wohi Sikandar' early in their career, the turning-point in their career was 'DDLJ' and there was no looking back for them since then. Well, almost.. they were the #1 choice for big banner movies, (KKHH, Mohabbattein, etc.) but they had a rough patch in the late 90's-early 2000's, when only Rahman and remixes ruled. This duo is famous for having rendered music to some of the most melodious, soft and romantic Hindi songs. Their recent hits include 'Hum tum' and 'Fanaa', esp. the latter. I strongly recommend the music of Fanaa, for those who havent listened to it. Mind-blowing..
Anu Malik:
If I had to list the Hindi MDs for their number of albums, Anu Malik would have certainly at the top of the list, but that is his problem too. He is almost like our 'Deva'.. too many movies at a time, and sometimes all of their music suck. He has had a successful collaboration with the masala directors Abbas-Mastan, but a decline in the quality of their movies of late affected his fortunes too. After memorable music in late 90's like Virasat, Border, Ishq, Kareeb and Soldier in the late 90's, he was sort of pushed back later by others. Like 'Deva', he was also labelled 'copycat' for so obvious and shameless 'inspirations' from outside Hindi. His recent hit albums that I liked were 'Murder' and, to some extent, 'Mein hoo na'.
They were once very exciting and promising duo, after the success of 'Aashiqui' in early 90's.. Their music became a rage, with a string of hits like 'Dil hai ki maanta nahin', and 'Hum hai rahi pyar ke'. Later, they were riding very high with the success of music of 'Barsaat', 'Raja Hindustani', and 'Pardes' when tragedy struck. Nadeem was accused in the murder of Gulshan Kumar and he had to live in UK for a few years. So, the frequency of their movies decreased but still they managed to give hits like 'Dhadkan', 'Raaz', and 'Andaaz'. 'Pari pari' from 'Hungama' is a sweet number. Things might have been very different for them if not for that major glitch during a crucial time.
There are others like Uttam Singh (Dil to Pagal Hai, Gadar), Himesh Reshammiya (MD of Kamal's 'Dasaavataram'; his Hindi memorables are Tere naam and Aashiq banaya apne; I dont like him as a singer and with that cap..), and Ismail Darbar (Hum dil de chuke sanam, Devdas, Kisna) who give some hit numbers once a while. But, if you do a head-to-head comparison, in terms of the versatility, creativity, novelty and quality, Tamil music directors edge past their Hindi counterparts.
So, the lead for Tamil is 3-1.
Previous posts in this thread:

Oct 31, 2006

Modern temples

Having been born and brought up in a religious family, I used to be fed with innumerable stories about the temples that I visited. I was always excited to visit new temples, since I have read a lot about them. Before I was 15, I had pretty much been to all the famous temples in TN, except a few in the Northern region, such as Thiruvannamalai and Thiruthani. I was curious to know how old each temple was, which king/dynasty built it, etc.
When I was in Chennai in '95, my cousin took me to the famous Nanganallur Anjaneyar Temple. Though it was nice with a tall Anjaneya statue, marble floors, and modern looks, I somehow didnt get the kind of feeling I usually get while in a new temple. Then, I moved to Bangalore and there were very few such historic temples (or hardly). When I went to ISKCON, Bangalore after its inauguration in '97, my initial amusement was more due to the glassy architecture and the Dwaraka-like main hall. The fact that this temple was built 'just like that' didnt go well with the conventional history-seeker in me.
ISKCON was the only one I would often visit, because of its proximity to IISc. It was more a case of 'something is better than nothing'. Added to that, the presence of too many stalls/booths selling all sorts of things was an irritating factor. Then I consoled myself that even in the temples of TN, people dont leave a chance to advertise/show-off anywhere.. e.g., some tiny fluorescent lamps with "Ubayam: X and family". Kashta kaalam..
Now, in US, kekkavey venam.. Most of the temples are of the "All gods under one roof" type in Florida. The temples in Tampa and Orlando were reasonably good. When my friend said he would drive all the way to Alabama for the 'Kumbabhishekam' of the newly built Puri Jagannatha temple, I was taken aback at his enthu. For him, it was an opportunity to visit his Oriya friends too. When I heard from cousin that there are about 40 temples around the Edison region of New Jersey, I was truly surprised. There are 'specialiazed' temples like Sri Ranganathar, Durga, Ram, Venkateswara and Shiva.
So, my experience of the past few years makes me believe that temple is a place to go and seek peace/blessings from God. Doesn't matter whether God really liked that place or not, or, for that matter, he choses to be there to listen to ur prayers, or not. It is little more holier than your home's pooja room; and, as I heard in a recent movie, temple is a place where the minds of hundreds of people converge at a given time.

Oct 26, 2006

Kamal's first wife syndrome

While talking about Kamal, my friend stated “In many of Kamal’s movies, the first wife/lover dies.. donno why he has to choose it that way”. We started counting such movies and it was really surprising to find quite a lot of them. Then I remarked that, his so-so relationship with his first wife in real life had something to do with it. Look at the list below.. quite unusual number of movies..

Wife/first love dies:

1) Ullasa paravaigal
2) Ilama oonjaladugiradhu
3) Sattam en kaiyil
4) Sigappu Rojakkal
5) Japanil Kalyanaraman
6) Oru kadhiyin diary
7) Vikram
8) Punnagai Mannan
9) Nayakan
10) Vetri Vizha
11) Mahanadhi
12) Paasa valai (Subha sankalpam)
13) Hey Ram
14) Virumandi
15) Vettaiyadu Vilayadu

Lover dies:

1) Ninaithaley inikkum
2) Chanakyan (Malayalam)
3) Guna
4) Maro charitra/Ek duje keliye

I cant think of any other actor who has such a ‘dubious’ record.. If I had missed any other Kamal movie, or if you feel about someone else having some such unique trend, shoot..
PS: Oru douttu: Indha madhiri reserach panna oru 'B.Phil.' degree-yachum yaravadhu koduppangala? :)

Oct 25, 2006

Meendum Billa?

The following discussion came along when I was talking to my friend: Now that Shahrukh has reenacted Amitabh in his latest 'Don', who will step into the shoes of Rajini's 'Billa' in tamil, in case it is remade? Vijay will be the first one to raise his hand.. but does he have the charisma that Rajini possessed in 'Billa'?

Oct 22, 2006

6 Weirds - Wired by tagging

Ponnarasi tagged me (again!!) 6 weird qns. thrown at me.. and here are my quick, but not necessarily short, answers..
1) Psycho in me: Me??? Psycho?? neyyyy...... hey, wait.. (Psycho music playing) Well.. i am not gonna chase you with a knife in my hand. I do some crazy stuff... Almost everytime I cross a road, i get this feeling that an ultrafast vehicle is gonna hit me.. doesnt scare me or something, but gets me philosophical at times.
2) Thinni pandaram: Ullen aiya!! Suuuuper saappadu kidaicha kannu pidhungura varaikkum saappidama endhirikka maatten. My PhD guide said I 'eat well', so usually no need to worry about 'excessive ordering' during our dining-outs.. Once I declared shamelessly that I live to eat.. :)
3) Kids: I sometimes feel they are angels, bcos when God sends then to this world, he stays with them for a few years to make them feel secure. I luv kids and they luv me too. Firstly, my height attracts them and, may be most jovial kids feel special if I approach them. I dont mind doing kiddish stuff to keep them glued to me, and after that, they never forget me.
4) Dreams: I dont remember whether I mentioned about them earlier, but my favorite weird childhood dreamm was a fox sitting in our house's 'oonjal' stylishly, and not allowing me to play in the oonjal. Then, there was another one where I would be atop a slope and i jump... I dont touch the ground at all.. i keep flying in the air for a looong time.. This dream keeps appearing even now. Another irritating dream: If my work doesnt progress well and I get tense, I dream that I am gonna face an exam (mostly English, or sometimes maths) in my college, or at times, school and I am totally under-prepared. My agony during those few hours of of doing badly in the exam is undescribable. The irony is that, I scored first class in all my subjects in college.. just that I have forgotten what I studied for the English language in my second year. Duh.. what a punishment for that..
5) No weird: ????
6) Bore factor: If I hear some stuff from the same person second time, I immediately feel it is a waste of time and get bored. Bored with people who dont talk much. And I feel bored when think of the household chores waiting for the weekend. Bored if my co-passengers during a long journey just keep sleeping.
Thank god.. done with it.. I am not gonna tag anyone bcos I feel that getting tagged is a pain.. it adds pressure to the already pressurized minds of ours.. It is like a stone pressing us all the time until we write it.. It is soo dumb bcos one has to write only on the 6 given subjects.. It is a waste of a post bcos you have to write abut YOU, YOU and things dealing only with YOU. but, but, but, it is fun tagging someone after writing it... ;) so I merrily tag Ram, Sanjay, Aparna, Mitr, Aruna and Visithra. :) hehehe.... cf. the weird point #1.

Oct 21, 2006

Deepavali Wishes

Some 'Deepavali' malarum ninaivugal:

* Deepavali was understandably the most eagerly awaited festival for me - for the firecrackers. Months before Deepavali, I would start counting the exact hours left for that.. ;) The timeline is the 6 PM on the day before, i.e., the 'Naraga chaturdasi'. The excitement on those two days, was, unfortunately followed by the sudden low when I wake up the next day.. but then the 'Karthigai' festival always acted as a cushion to relieve the depression. Thanks Muruga!!

* Until my age 12, I always celebrated it with my parents; so when I had to be away bcos of my studies on the 13th year, I was really very sad.. c'd never really enjoy it. That was when I decided that I would never be out of my home during Deepavali, no matter what. I could keep that wish for 11 Diwalis after that, but for the 25th, I was stuck in Bangalore, despite my best efforts. And it so happened that, since then, I could never be with my parents.. :( Kaadhalukkaga thyagam!

* During my teenage, most often we would be celebrating it at our uncles/aunt's home. A very happy reunion time and with more people, it was always fun. Super samaiyal from Amma, cameraderie with cousins, smelling the smoke of 'saattai' and firing rockets towards the sky.. Each and every small thing was soo exciting.

* The hyper-enthu for the firecrackers continued until the mid-90's.. That was the sole purpose of Diwali almost.. The special programs on TV acted just as a breather in the middle of some real loud burstings. Most eagerly awaited program was 'Pudhupadal', showing a masterpiece Ilayaraja song from that year's Deepavali release. Some of the unforgettable songs include "Kanmani anbodu..", "Rakkamma kaiya thattu..", and "Sundari neeyum..".

* With the intrusion of Sun TV and its "Special-Live-from-Manila" programs, the sitting time in front of the idiot box slowly increased.. In '97 and '98, I really wished we turned the TV off and focussed only on the most important stuff.. but that was not the case to be.

* The past 2 years have been total bore here in the US.. no fireworks, no holiday, no nothing.. This year, even worse.. my other half will be celebrating it with her family and wishing me thr phone, while I will be sulking here alone.. Luckily, I got hold of a second-degree-cousin to spend the Diwali weekend.. so, hopefully, I will get a nice 'vaazhai ilai saappadu' and lots of fun with them and their friends.

Here is me wishing you all a very happy and joyous Deepavali 2006!! Burst away crackers on my behalf, and eat well too!! ;)

Oct 14, 2006

Loyal Cars

Have you ever wondered why the cars/jeeps in tamil movies commit suicide by flying several metres high in the air and crashing down, if its driver is shot? Viswasam, eh? ;)

PS: I was watching 'Narasimha' of our Gabdon, after a 'strong recommendation' from a friend.. Sema comedy within the first 20 mins of the movie itself.. I am celebrating my weekend with our blue-eyed, current-resistant, self-nail-plucking, ice-bathing 'Dravidan' saar.. ;)

Oct 10, 2006

X-Y coordinates

Recently, I couldnt help but literally do a 'ROTFL' act when I heard this incident from my friend.. only that instead of floor, it was my bed, since I was talking while lying down. "X-machi, Y-machi" song is being played on TV and, you know, the deadly 90-thara is scaring the hell out of us.. My friend's grandma gets up slowly from the sofa and asks "yaar adhu.. Mumtaj-a iva, ivlo gundayitta?" (Is it Mumtaj? She has put on so much weight) and the people around started laughing like anything.. Oh boy.. how I wished I was there !! Enna nilaimai.. :)


1) Lage raho Munnabhai: A brilliant concept.. Blending Gandhian thoughts with those of an underworld don.. Despite having a good share of lumped-throat moments, it is an enjoyable movie, bcos the LOL moments were always around the corner, thanks to the courtesy of Arshad Warsi. Sanjay Dutt is more of Gandhian and less of a dada here.. The romance of the old couple, and the take on 'Manglik' dhosham were the surprise packages. A must-watch movie.

2) Perarasu: There is this diro Perarasu directing 'Dravidan' (dont confuse with the movie 'Dravidan' starring Satyaraj) Vijayakanth for 'Dharmapuri' in Dharmapuri, but this 'Perarasu' was not directed by that 'Perarasu' but by a debutant 'Udhayan' (No no , not 'Udayan' - the rehabilitation home of Kolkata, which Steve Waugh is associated with). mmm.. something happened to me after I watched not one but two Vijayakanths.... First half was OK.. second half was the usual boring stuff.. Anandaraj kalakkittar.

2 actresses, 2 coordinates, 2 friends, 2 Munnabhai's, 2 Vijayakanths and hence 2 tiny reviews.. 2 busy also.. ;)

Oct 4, 2006

Second heart

Wanted to write on this after watching 'Kabhie Alvida naa Kehna'.. ya.. about the 'second love' concept. Now, what is the thing with 'first love' or 'second love'? I think, Indians tend to give a lot of importance to the 'first love'. Many a times, without proper dating mechanism, two people get attracted to each other, get into the bond of love, and by the time they realize that things dont look all that rosy between them, quite some time would have passed. Not many have the guts to tell their partner that they better end the relationship which doesnt seem to be working. As a result, they somehow get married, with the sole intention of saving their first love.

The sole reason of the marriage being that, the differences cant be hidden under the carpet. They keep cropping up from time to time, and the marriage becomes a disaster. And now, the marriage is the one that is to be saved. Unable to sort out the differences, frustrations start to develop, and, when it goes beyond the threshold point, the marriage snaps away. Differences do arise between almost all the couples - love-married or arranged. But, in case of the former, the problems pre-marriage seep into the married life. There is hardly anything new to look forward to, and the bitterness is too much to digest. In that case, the people getting arranged-marriage start from a neutral , or some positive scale, if they interact nicely before the wedding; whereas the compromising love couples start from a negative scale.

Whether male or female, any break in relationship hurts a lot. The wound takes some time to heal. The healing time depends on so many factors.. for some, it is a slow, aerobic healing process - i.e., only time will do that. For some, there might be a medicine available luckily. What should one do? It makes sense that the wound is allowed to heal fast and quick, doesnt it? Simply bcos life is too short; past is past; and there is a certain time frame by which certain things are better done. That medicine is what the next love is.. if available in pure form, it must be accepted and the wound has to be treated.

Then, the thing about remembering the first love afterwards. mmm.. mind is like a monkey, it tends to jump from one tree to another but for one's own good, the monkey has to be taken off the back. No point in thinking 'what if's and 'but's about the first love, bcos it carries with it the danger of affecting the second love. As long as the second love doesnt become the sole reason for the break-up of first love, the relationship would remain healthy. IMHO, those who underwent a split of any sort better learn from the fiasco and act wiser the next time around after a relationship is forged. Love sincerely, express all your good feelings on ur partner, and let love be the best shield for tackling any crisis.

Oct 1, 2006

Weekend melodies: Unakku 2; Enakku 1.

Missing you so much this weekend... so some songs dedicated to our memories..

1) Kanmani...
Though this song as a whole is classic, my favorite moments lie in the first minute.. As the saying "Well begun is half done" goes, it lives upto the expectations generated by those lil moments..

* First, a chuckle before the song begins.. and another small one as Kamal asks her to write..

* Oru 'kadaikkaN pArvai' as Kamal says 'Kanmani'.. and as he says 'kadhalan', another glance and a smile after nodding 'aan'..

* When he says 'naan', she too whispers 'naan', and when he says 'padi', a deep but short look at him as she starts singing.. Her head nods were soo cute and natural. Where did you go, Roshini???

An unforgettable song..

2) Kannaley..
What to say of this one? I started liking it from the very first time I heard it in 1992.. and it wont be an understatement to say that I went to watch the movie especially for this song. Didnt get disappointment with the picturization.. White angels.. Sensuously sung by Yesudoss and Janaki.. beautiful camera work by Madhu Ambat. I lovvvvvvvve singing the song everyday.. :)

Now, my choice.. ;)

3) Vennilave...
How can I leave out my all-time favorite song? I can go on and on about this one, but I better shut up and let you see and enjoy the magic of full moon.. :)

Sep 25, 2006

MoM - Moral of the movies

(Pic adopted from

Moral of the stories (is there a plural word for moral?) of some recent movies I saw:

1) Sillunu oru kaadhal: Dont keep your 'classified' matter in such an obvious place like your home paran.

2) Thimiru: Aan dadas-ai vida penn dada-kooda modhuradhu rommmba danger..

3) Emttan mahan: Try to become Emttan Jr., dont become Mr. Bayanthankolli.

4) Lage raho Munnabhai: Dont lose sleep (literally) over love, studies or anything in between.. (hehe.. reason for the Vidya Balan pic)

5) Aahaa: Samartha irundha mattum pathaadhu.. smart-avum irukkanum..

6) Something something unakkum enakkum: NRI singles, beware of Indian beauties in weddings!!

7) Vettaiyadu vilayadu: Stay away from Raghavan! :)

8) KANK: Kalyanamana Aandavan Nammalai Kaivitturuvan.. ada.. idhu koooda KANK.. ! ;)

Sep 19, 2006

I am back, back, back !!!

Back to frequent blogging (hopefully), back to US and back to work. Now u know why 3 backs..

Few travel musings on this India trip..

Most asked question: Ennada Raju, ippadi ilaichu poyitte?? (What Raju, u have become soooo thin!) Well, parents ask so even if I put on weight and visit them, so one would assume this qn. to be a routine one. Not for me, not this time. I had indeed lost, in a happy and planned fashion, over 17 pounds (~ 8 kg) in the 3 months prior to the trip. So, u know, I had a chance to do some own-trumpet-blowing about my gym workout, diet, etc.. That was fun except when my anni's came to fight with me about my preference on a certain kind of diet.. mm.. kaicha marathukkudhaney kalladi vizhum.. ;)

Second most asked qn.: Eppo thirumba varre? (When r u returning?) Answer varied from 'soon' to 'after a few months' to 'around summer' to 'by april'. Reminded me of the qn. during my Ph.D. days -"Eppo mudikka pore?" (When r u gonna complete?). From the way my answers were 'consistent' (2-3 months) for a long period of time, they should know what to make of my answers to this kinda qns.

NRI Syndrome: Tried my best to consciously avoid the 'by-now-infamous' comparisons, showing-off's and complaints but the evil part of me would raise its ugly head at times.. Somehow escaped without much damage, both to my ego and to the body.. ;)

Greener grass: Good to see all the cousins, relatives, nephews and nieces. And, yeah, great to visit IISc and spend those 'Gnabagam varudhey' moments.. Bar the heightened security, not much change there.. Watching 'KANK' and 'VV' in Sathyam was an overwhelming experience.. Cinema-nna adhu..

Nervous moments: First, at the US embassy when I was told that my passport and details have to be sent to D.C. for clarification, and on the week prior to my flight when there was no info from them yet. I laid my hands on the passport just a few hours before the flight.. whew.. Next were those minutes in the auto/taxis on the roads of Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai and Bangalore. Worst on the Delhi street when, the car driver was casually crossing red lights and giving 'gaali' to the honking vehicles coming in the perpendicular direction, saying "No need to follow these lights before sunrise, saab.." ?!?!?


1) Vettaiyadu vilayadu: Good to see Kamal after long time. If the first romance was cute (the proposal scene at the wedding was cooool), the second one was mature and lovely (the dialogues b/w Jo and Kamal at the airport and on the road were too good, aka It was interesting to see several 'Kaakha kaakha' characters in different roles/personalities. One ex. is the guy playing Jo's NRI hubby. Songs were top-notch, typical Gautham stamped.. I think it was a neatly executed movie.

2) KANK: Kabhie Alvidaa Naa Kehna, that is.. Saw it twice within a week. Despite VV and KANK had the NewYork link in common, there was a big difference in the 'colors' in KANK.. talk of production values.. And, on moral values, KANK might leave a lot to debate, but I felt that Karan had handled the subject quite maturely. I had misty eyes and lumped throat for much of the second half.. Songs are unforgettable, my favorites now. One of the best Hindi movies I saw in the recent years.

3) Sillendru oru kaadhal: I enjoyed all but the last 10-15 mins of the movie with a smile on the face and occasional bursts of laughter. Looks like the director, Krishna, had thought a lot on how our now-real-pair Jo-Surya would have and would be romancing and brought up with those cute moments.. The saturday night party, dialog on the width of the bed, and, the candid minutes in the train and on the station were sooooo refreshing.. Since I hadnt heard the songs b4, 'New York nagaram' was an 'Inba adhirchi'.. :) And, not to forget the cellfone conversations b/w Surya and Bhumika.. Oh Boy.. too good to watch just once.. ;)
More movies later.. already this post is too long.

Aug 12, 2006

Sathi Leelavathan

I was talking to a friend .. he said he has promised his wife that he would buy for her - hold ur breath - $2000 worth of dresses if one thing happens..

And I heard from another friend that her hubby has promised to buy her a diamond ring if the same thing happens to her.

Any guess what it is? Clue is in the title. Paavam... some guys are driven to desparation.. :)

PS: Sorry guys.. I couldnt blog for the past few weeks since xtremely busy.. I am leaving to India next week so had so many things to do.

PS2: Why did I choose this title?

It reminds one of 'Sathi Leelavathi', doesn't it? The husband-wife relationship in that movie is affected, as per the husband's remarks, by the wife's putting-on-weight after marriage. No justification for his flirts, but he cites that as the reason. So, a fat wife is not the same as a slim one.

Secondly, I think Kamal chose that title for the movie not bcos 'Sathi' means wife. In fact, most of the audience wouldnt have known that it was the meaning. 'Sathi', as per the modern slang, would remind one of 'conspiracy'. Actually, the wife does some good 'sathi' in the latter part of the movie to get her hubby back. So, it was a good double entendre.

When I thought of this title, I had to change it to Leelavathan, though that word doesnt seem to exist, atleast on the web. But, it didnt sound too awkward to me, so I chose it. And, since this kinda promises/rewards were like cute sathi, I felt it was double OK.

Enna, naan romba yosikkireno??

Jul 20, 2006

Tamil vs Hindi Cinema: 5. Comedians

Comedy is an important ingredient to an entertaining movie. I can think of very few movies which didnt have a comedy track but still engrossing.. needless to say that they are action-oriented.. like Kaakha Kaakha, Kadamai Kanniyam Kattupadu, Kurudhipunal, Pulan Visaranai and Captain Prabhakaran. With the advent of mega serials, it is easy to confirm the statement that 'It is easy to make one cry but difficult to make one laugh'. Most of the heroes have tried their luck in humorous role and have had varied success. And then, there is another unique sect of stars- comedians, who, either on a separate comedy track or running along with the main story, evoke laughter and help pull crowd to the theaters.
Since the present discussion deals with current cinema (the last 6 years or so), I wouldnt touch upon greats like NSK, Nagesh, Chandrababu et al. in Tamil and Mehmood, Johnie Walker, et al. in Hindi.
Tamil comedians:
Tamil cinema had a rich tradition of comedians.. but in the recent past, it has largely been either Vivek or Vadivelu. Both are my favorites now, but their modus operandi is pretty different. Vivek has an 'urban touch' to him, so I find that urban audience tend to like him more, whereas Vadivelu has the 'rural touch' or 'Madurai masala', so people from B and C centers correlate him more. By and large, they are 'decent' comedians but at times, they get sucked into 'double entendre' jokes, which is not a great humor.
Vivek: He made his debut in the 1989-release 'Pudhupudhu Arthangal' of KB and made an immediate impact as Rahman's assistant. For almost another decade, he was rather quiet, without any memorable role. Coincidentally, that was the period totally dominated by the Koundamani-Senthil duo, sometimes supported by Vadivelu. The turn of the century has been lucky for him, and his unique style of 'funda humor' was very well received by the audience. He has never looked back since. His most memorable movies are Vaali, Minnale, Run, Dhool, Parthiban Kanavu and Anniyan.
Vadivelu: His first movie was 'En rasavin manasile' (1991). He was lucky to picked up early by Kamalhaasan and got a memorable role in 'Thevar magan'. His methods to evoke laughter are his mannerisms, facial expressions, situations in which he is in the 'receiving end', and dialogue delivery. I am glad that his recent release 'Imsai Arasan' is a huge hit.. My favorite movies of his are Thevar magan, Singaravelan, Winner, Giri, Engal Anna and Chandramukhi.
Hindi comedians:
There is only one actor who is truly qualified as a full-time comedian, and, that, is Johnny Lever. He is more of an one-dimensional artist, unfortunately, and lacks the versatility of the tamil comedians discussed above. He, like Vadivelu, doesnt look so pleasing, but has got a few roles to evoke laughter. He has changed his name to sound like the legendary Johnny Walker but there is a huge difference in quality between them. Some movies in which I have liked his comedy are 'Kuch kuch hota hai', 'Kareeb', 'Yes Boss' 'Dulhan hum le jayenge', 'Baadshah', and 'Awara Paagal Deewana'.
Paresh Rawal has changed his career profile from a villain to a nice comedian. I rate him higher than Johnny, becos Paresh is more spontaneous. He has stuck a great chemistry with Priyadarshan to deliver movies like Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchul, etc. Unlike the tamil comedians, who can stand their own even in a serious/action movie, Paresh, albeit superbly, acts only in comedy movies. His quality is pretty good, but if you consider him , one also has to consider Kamalhaasan in MMKR to Mumbai Xpress.
So, Tamil comedians score over their Hindi counterparts. The score is, tamil leading Hindi 2-1.
Earlier posts of this series:
I recently watched
a) Wimbledon: A feel-good movie. Though predictable to most part, it has some surprises towards the end. I believe that sports-based movies are trickier to make, bcos people have seen a good action of the sport in TV before.. so they have to be convinced that what they are watching in a movie is in par with what they have seen. When you have 'Wimbledon' as the event, for example, the actors have to play tennis as good as, say, a Sharapova or Federer, to win the title. And, tennis is a 'fast' game. While watching it, the games looked real to me and I felt as if I am watching a LIVE match on TV. Good effort.
b) Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind: An amazing movie with a real tough screenplay.. sort of a sci-fi movie.. Totally non-linear screenplay and only in the end, things fall into place. Good performances from Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. One of the unforgettable movies.
c) Good night and good luck: Somehow I didnt like the movie that much. The actors appeared to be stone-faced and the entertaining parts were hardly any. The 'black-and-white' didnt help either. The event around which the entire movie is based might be of significance to the Americans but I found it hardly strong enough to carry the whole script.
d) Memoirs of a Geisha: This is not one of the typical Japanese/Chinese movies that one expects.. Since I hadn't googled for 'Geisha', I had to patiently wait till the halfway of the movie to know what that means.. The visuals were stunning and the performances were top-notch too. I guess you have to either fall in love with it or dislike it to the core.
e) The Chronicles of Narnia: Pretty much a children's movie.. but, as usual, I enjoyed it. The technical aspects/ visual effects were great. Good story-telling.
f) Mississippi masala: Yeah, old movie but got a chance to watch is just now. It was an interesting movie.. the life and love of a girl of Indian origin who has never been to India. Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhary, Roshan Seth and Sharmila Tagore all deliver powerful performances in this movie with a tricky story.

Jul 9, 2006

Eeking result out of rain-affected matches

First, hearty congratulations to our Indian team for the series win in WIndies !! Though WIndies are not a major force any longer, that we could win despite the absence of Sachin, augers well for the team. A sore point, though, was that it could have easily been 3-0, or atleast, 2-0 for sure in our favor. The second test was so badly affected, but still we came just 3 wickets short of a win. If I get a powerful role in ICC, I would implement the rule that, if and when in a test match atleast 30 overs are lost due to rain/bad light, the teams' performance would be computed in terms of % and, if the difference is more than 50%, then the team with higher % wins; otherwise it would be a draw.

Let us take the second test at St. Lucia as a case study. Everyone would agree that, had India got just another session (or 30 overs), we could have taken the remaining 3 WI wickets and won by an innings.. My logistic is based on the following:

a) A team requires 20 wickets to win a match. And, it requires atleast one run more than what the other team got. So, the % of wickets and the % of runs have to be given equal weightage. In a scale of 100 (%), wickets and run share 50% each.
b) The lowest completed innings of a team is that team's 100% effort. Using that, its other innings score and the score(s) of the other team, the batting percentile out of 50 would be calculated.
c) The number of wickets would be divided by 20 and the percentage be taken. If a team declares, that is its problem. It would still be considered to have lost 10 wickets, since that innings is 'complete'.

The scores of the second test were as follows: India 588/8 d; WI 215 and 294/7.
WIndies' completed score of 215 is their 100% effort, though they bettered it in the second innings. Thus, their batting score is (215+245)/215 x 1/2 x 50, which is 59.2 %. They got 10 Indian wickets, which is 50% of wickets, so, wickets' contribution is 50/2 = 25%. Total percentage is 59.2 + 25 = 84.2 %.
India's mammoth score ensured that their batting percentile would be very high.. that is 518/215 x 50, which is 120.5. They got 17 of WIndies wickets, which is 85%, so wickets' contribution is 42.5%. Total is 163 %.
Now, the difference in the performanes between the teams is 79% - higher than the stipulated 50% and so India wins..
The introduction of this new rule doesnt rule out the possibility of draws.. so, a draw is still inevitable if a) less than 30 overs are lost in a match or b) both teams score huge in the first innings, or c) the two teams run close.. like what happened in the first match.. The difference was only 3.5%; and only some 15 odd overs could not be bowled..

MPS (Movie Post-Script):
The movies I saw recently -
1) Mitr, My friend : Thorougly enjoyed watching it. For some reason, I thought this movie was about the male protagonist having a second affair so I didnt wanna watch it. When I eventually did, I was amazed at how close it was to my fiction story. May be Revathy and me think alike.. :-)

2) Troy: A visual treat. Homer's Iliad picturized in such a grand, spectacular manner..

3) Schindler's List: Managed to watch it at last, after over 10 years of wish.. Living in an area rich of Jewish population, the movie touched me more than it would have, had I seen it last year.

4) Hotel Rwanda: Truly an African version of Schindler's list.. How easily racism can convert man into an animal..

5) Thamizhan: Surprised to see that the seeds of 'Anniyan' were long ago sowed in this one.. and add to it the presently publicized 'Right to Information' (RTI) act.. the director deserved kudos.. except for the romantic aspect and the villain of the movie.

6) Fanaa: Could have been a nice romantic flick but the director messed up with the terrorist angle and the cinematic cliches of the second half.. Beautiful locales and nice songs..

Jun 26, 2006


Papa Roshan always has something special for his son. Like their previous two movies, Krrish too is an out-and-out entertainer, which has something in it for everyone.

As many of you are aware, Krrish is a sequel to ‘Koi mil gaya’ and Hrithik plays the first official Indian super-hero. His role and actions remind us of Superman, Spiderman and Batman (even Neo of Matrix and our own 'Anniyan')..The ‘conflict’ of the movie has been inspired from the brilliant and intelligent ideas of ‘Paycheck’ and ‘Minority Report’. Enough for the story…

The screenplay is very tight, racy and nicely woven.. There are some loopholes in the story but then which Indian movie doesn’t? There is humour, love, sentiments, action and heroism blended very well to make it a feel-good masala movie. It isn’t as moving as its original but fares better than what most sequels have managed to do. The story has few twists and they appear quite late in the movie, making the climax a very hurried affair.

Hrithik is back again with a powerful performance.. He looks very handsome with long hair in the three different costumes he uses. That he is maturing well as an actor is exemplified here as well. He carries the movie well on his strong shoulders. Priyanka Chopra does her role of dancing and romancing OK. Naseerudin Shah is as usual reliable. I wish he got more screen time.

Technically very sleak too.. Santosh Thundiyil’s cinematography is excellent.. whether on the beautiful natural locales of Leh or in the amazing Singapore, his camera matches the energy of Hrithik. Rajesh Roshan delivers some nice hummable tunes as usual; and this time he has added some South Indian flavor in a couple of the songs, probably to target the audience in Southern states. Stunts are in grandeur scale too, some of them reminding us of Anniyan.

A great movie-watching experience, that is if you are willing to forgive the crew for their various inspirations.