Mar 30, 2006

Tag of 'favorites'

Got tagged by Golden Princess, adhaanga… Ponnarasi. When mind is occupied with zillion things to be done in the next 2-3 weeks, it is good to have a tag hanging on, so that a post is born without much ado.

Movies I would watch over and over again:

  1. Anjali

  2. Nayagan

  3. MMKR

  4. LOTR-Fellowship and Return

  5. Spiderman
TV shows I love to watch:

  1. Cash Cab

  2. Seinfeld

  3. Friends
My favorite foods:

  1. Puliyotharai

  2. Original Udupi rasam

  3. Baigan Bartha

  4. Mango payasam
My greatest victories:

  1. Getting a state rank in SSLC exam

  2. Selection into IISc

  3. JACS paper

  4. My twin ‘Best seminar’ awards

  5. ‘Best thesis’ award
Things that I hate:

  1. Back-talkers

  2. Those who brood over small matters
Great personalities I would like to dine with

  1. Sachin Tendulkar

  2. Kamal Haasan

  3. AR Rahman

  4. APJ Abdul Kalam

  5. Shankar
Things I dream often

  1. India’s world cup victory

  2. Widespread recognition of my work
I would like to tag


Mar 23, 2006

Tamil vs Hindi cinema: 2. Great actors

After looking at how they 'look', it is now on how they 'perform'.

Well, we have got a good bunch of highly talented actors, whose passion in acting is more from heart than for the sake of money or being the #1.

Kamalhaasan: He continues to lead and he is like the 'Sachin Tendulkar' of Tamil cinema for over a quarter century now.. Having won three national awards and given equally strong performances in movies like 'Rajaparvai', 'Pesum Padam', 'Thevar Magan', 'Mahanadhi', 'Kurudhipunal' and 'Virumandi', Kamal is hailed by most as the best actor India has seen for long time.

Rajinikanth: Acts well. He has got the pressure of pleasing his fans, which IMHO is a reason his movies are in a different league.. Entertaining nevertheless.

Vikram: He is all set to take the mantle from Kamal. One national award already and another in pipeline?

Surya: Though he started off as a typical indifferent masala hero, post-'Nandha', he continues to surprise in each movie. He is the only one who can challenge his good buddy Vikram in acting in the years to come..

Madhavan: A Manirathnam find and favorite has got to be good. Though a bit unlucky with box-offlice of late, he excels whenever given a chance to show his skills. I was amazed by his recent performance in 'Thambi'.

Dhanush: Everyone took notice of his acting in 'Kadhal kondaen'.. He was brilliant. Subsequent directors failed to bring the best out of him (except Balu). I hope we can see Dhanush at his recent best in 'Pudhupettai'.

Ajith and Vijay's aura surrounding them doesnt help their acting talents. Both had got some good roles in their early years when they were romancing heroines and longing for them. ('Aasai', 'Vaali' and 'Unnidathil ennai koduthen' for Ajith and 'Poove Unakkaga', 'Kadhalukku mariyathai' and 'Thullatha manamum thullum' for Vijay).

Apart from them, there are some talented young guns like Jeeva (Raam and Dishyum) and Simbhu (Manmathan and the first half of 'Thotti Jaya'), and Rajkiran (for character roles).

Khans: Aamir Khan is the most versatile actors among the Khans. His performance in the last 5 years has been good with movies like Lagaan, DCH, Mangal Pandey and RDB. Shah Rukh, the hottest star in Hindi, comes next. He is a good actor but not great, since he tends to get monotonous. His best performances came in Swades, Kal ho na ho, Devdas and Dil Se. Other 'Khans' like Saif, Salman, and Fardeen are just OK. It is ironic that among them, they have won only one national award (Saif), that too a highly controversial one.

Big A's: Amitabh is still the big fish in Bollywood. At times, he is the main hero of the movie as well ('Ek Ajnabee' was a recent example). He is a good actor, charismatic but gets only a rare movie once in a while (like 'Black') which shows his full acting talent. Abhishek is a cool actor; his best so far was in 'Yuva'. Ajay Devgan had a high in the early 2000's with successive national awards (for 'Zakhm' and 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh') but has failed to ride on the high. Akshay Kumar and Akshay Khanna do have talents but while the former has become a full-time masala actor, the latter is hardly seen nowadays.

Then there is Hrithik Roshan, who delivered a mind-blowing performance in 'Koi mil gaya' and he was good in 'Lakshya' too. The low frequency of his movies recently and his tendency to overact at times are his minuses.

Thus, in the category of heroes with terrific acting skills, Tamil heroes are ahead of their Hindi counterparts. They win this round and the score is levelled at 1-1.

Have a great weekend, y'all!! Next few days, will be pretty busy in Atlanta; I will try my best to read your comments and reply..

Mar 21, 2006

Tamil vs Hindi cinema: 1. Handsome heroes

As someone who has been watching as many Hindi movies as Tamil movies of late, esp. for the past 6 years or so, I keep getting the doubt about who is better than who, from both sides. If you talk to some middle-aged or old man from North and ask him about his favorite music, he would invariably say 'Old hindi songs'. Rarely have I heard such things from Tamils.. Though the era of MSV, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy and KVM gave us some great songs, the aura around the Hindi music that time was at a different level. In a series of posts, I am planning to look at the present crop of people involved in both industries.

In the male-dominated movie industry, the 'hero' is the selling factor for the movies. The men tend to search for what they want to be in them, and the women look at them with admiration. Looks do matter. A lot.

A critical look at each of the 'selling heroes'..
Rajini: Plus-Style, charm. Minus- Old, bald.
Kamal : Plus-Fair, well-built and still adorable. Minus-Old, and looks older; plump.
Vijay : Similar to Rajini but has got limitations. Face alone wont make any head turn.
Ajit : Plus - Fair, good face. Minus - either too fat or too thin nowadays.
Vikram: Plus-Tall, wheatish, well-built and handsome. Minus-Those ~10 years at the wilderness have cost him.. Vikram of 'Meera' looked certainly better.
Surya: Plus - Cute, well-built and handsome. Among the current crop of promising heroes, he looks the best. Minus - not all kinds of costumes suit him.

The second rung of actors, such as, Dhanush, Simbhu and Captain dont qualify. Others like Madhavan (needs to shed some weight), Arya (has to stop sleep-talking), Bharath, Srikanth, Prasanna,and Vishal are just OK.

'Khans' rule.. Shah-rukh, Aamir, Saif, and Salman are all aging and it shows. Still, the first two look great even now. Throw in others like Hrithik, Abhishek (he has suddenly got real hot), Akshay, and Shahid.. you have got a good bunch of tall, and well-toned heroes, who look like heroes.

The first round is won by Hindi heroes. They lead Tamil 1-0.

Mar 17, 2006

Hot to cold

This is going to be one of those 'funda' posts.. do bear with my fundas.. :-)

FoP (Funda of the Post): Taking bath in cold water is better for our health than in hot water.
When it is cold, most of us take bath in hot water. The most important thing is the 'first contact' of water on our skin. On a cold day, it feels good when the water is warm. So, those of you who use shower: just slowly turn the knob for the hot water @ few mm per 10 sec.. and you will realize, that in about a minute or two, the temperature of the water would have dropped off almost to room temperature but you wouldnt have noticed the change, since it was gradual.
For those who use bucket, let the initial water be warm, but then let a thin trickle of cold water fall into the water, so each mug of water you pour onto you would be colder by few fractions of a degree and again the gradual change would ensure that you wont jump when it has become cold water.
Now, the extreme cases: for those who cant bathe without warm water - time for a change; for those who manage to take bath in cold water even in winter - kudos to you!!! Share your secret.

Mar 15, 2006

வேட்டையாடு விளையாடு - பாடல்கள்

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1) நெருப்பே - சௌம்யா ராவ் & சாய்

பாடலின் ஆரம்பம் 'ஐயோ பத்திக்கிச்சு' போல இருக்கிறது. 'தூது வருமா' போன்ற க்ளப் பாடலாக இருக்கலாம்.. ஆனால் சௌம்யாவின் நளினமான குரலும் ('களுக்' சிரிப்பு அட அட அட..) சாயின் கெட்டியான, கார்த்திக்-போன்ற குரலும் (நடுவில் வரும் ஊளை வித்தியாசமான முயற்சி..) இதை ஒரு அருமையான பாடலாக மாற்றுகின்றன. 2:45 முதல் 3:24 வரை வரும் ஜுகல்பந்தி பாடலின் ஹைலைட்.

80% மதிப்பெண்.

2) உயிரிலே - மஹாலக்ஷ்மி ஐயர் & ஸ்ரீநிவாஸ்

உயிர் உருவாகும் இதயத்துடிப்போடு ஆரம்பிக்கிறது.. மிகக் குறைவான இசையோடு பாடகர்களின் வருகை. இரவில் தூக்கத்திற்கு முன்பு கேட்கக்கூடிய பாடல். பாடலாசிரியர், பாடியவர்கள் மற்றும் இசையமைப்பாளர் பெருமைப்பட்டுக்கொள்ளக்கூடிய ரகம். சில இடங்களில் 'காதலா காதலா' (அவ்வை சண்முகி) நினைவுக்கு வந்தாலும் அதை விட இன்னும் இனிமையானது.

90% மதிப்பெண்.

3) வெண்ணிலவே/மஞ்சள் வெயில் - ஹரிஹரன்

விஜய்/நகுல் மெதுவாக ஆரம்பித்துவைக்க இசை மற்றும் ஹரிஹரனின் உச்சஸ்தாயி குரலில் உடனே சூடுபிடிக்கிறது. 'என்னைக் கொஞ்சம்' & 'ஒரு மாலை' போல முதல்முதலில் காதல்வயப்பட்ட ஒருவனின் உணர்வுகள் தாமரையின் வரிகளில் உணர்வுபூர்வமாக வெளிப்படுகின்றன.

'உலகத்தின் கடைசிநாள்
இன்றுதானோ என்பதுபோல்
பேசிப்பேசித் தீர்த்தபின்னும்
ஏதொ ஒன்று குறையுதே..' :-)

எனக்கு மிகப் பிடித்த பாடல்.

96% மதிப்பெண்.

4) பார்த்த முதல்நாளே - 'பாம்பே' ஜெயஸ்ரீ & உன்னி மேனன்

கௌதம் "'சுட்டும் விழி' போல ஒரு பாட்டு போட்டுக் கொடுங்க" என்று ஹாரிஸைக் கேட்டிருப்பார் போல.. அந்தப் பாடலை நினைவுபடுத்தினால் கூட இதில் சிறப்பு என்னவென்றால் கணவன் -மனைவி காதலை மிக இனிமையாகச் சொல்லும் அர்த்தம் பொதிந்த கவிதையான பாடல்..

உன்னை மறந்து நீ தூக்கத்தில் சிரிப்பாய்
தூங்காமல் அதைக் கண்டு ரசிப்பேன்..
தூக்கம் மறந்து நான் உனைப் பார்க்கும் காட்சி
கனவாக வந்ததென்று நினைத்தேன்..


95% மதிப்பெண்.

5) கற்க கற்க - தேவன் & திப்பு

கமலுக்குக் கிடைத்த மிகச் சிறந்த அறிமுகப் பாடல். அமெரிக்க சாயலில் 'ராப்' இசையைப் பயன்படுத்துவதில் யுவனை மிஞ்சிவிட்டார் ஹாரிஸ்.. திறமை வாய்ந்த, நேர்மையான ஒரு காவல்துறை அதிகாரியைப் பற்றிப் புகழும் பாடல்.

80% மதிப்பெண்.

மொத்தத்தில் இந்த வருடத்தில் இதுவரை வந்த படங்களில் #1 ஆல்பம். புதுப்புது சத்தங்களை அறிவுபூர்வமாக பயன்படுத்தியுள்ளார் ஹாரிஸ்.ஹாரிஸ்-கௌதம் கூட்டணி இம்முறையும் வெற்றிவாகை சூடியுள்ளது. படமும் வெற்றி பெற வாழ்த்துக்கள்..

Happy Holi to those of you who celebrate it!! (Colors not allowed to be sold in US, so no real holi this time..)

Also, Happy Birthday to Aamir Khan !! How would it be when Aamir 'dances' to the tune of 'Suttum vizhi' for the Hindi version of Ghajini?
(Khoon se holi math khel naa..) :-)

Mar 13, 2006

Entrance Exam Confusion

So, this year again, there is a cloud of uncertainty looming large over the careers of many aspiring students facing the class 12 exams over the admission to engineering colleges. No lessons learnt from last year. The Government should have been prepared well in advance, rather than put more pressure on the students during the arguably most important weeks of their life.

In this context, let me tell you the story of a totally naive guy. From his early school days, he had the dream of becoming an engineer. He did very well in the class 10 and got 14th rank in the state. The problem started in his class 11 and 12, when he changed to English medium from Tamil. Though he had a good knowledge in English as the subject, his vocabulary was not poor, so he struggled a lot. He continued to get 98+ % in Maths, which required least knowledge of English; chemistry was poorer and physics was the worst.

Being a very shy and less-talkative person from the childhood, he had abysmally poor knowledege on the know-how's of getting into professional courses. He knew that there is the 'big entrance test' which is very important; he assumed that the admission to B.E. would depend only on the performance in the entrance test. So, he was concentrating mostly on that. He paid equal attention to all his subjects - for him, the languages were as important as the science subjects. Whereas most of his class were focussing only on phys, chem, maths and/or bio, he spent equal time on languages as well.

One of his close friends from class 10, Subbu, who got 7% less marks in class 10 than him was doing very well. He thought Subbu's success lies in his tuition classes for physics and maths. Came the final exams, and, after writing the chemistry exam, he was chatting with one of his friends, JP, and telling him how his dream of becoming an engineer lies in the next few months, the time preceding the entrance exam. It was then that JP asked him how he thinks it is possible, with insufficient marks expected in the final exams.

Can you imagine how he would have felt.. Had he been told atleast a month earlier, he would have slogged and tried his all best in the exams.. Why should he be told it right after the last significant exam? He was terribly broken; he had given up.. he didnt even apply for the entrance test. Somehow, he recovered and his uncle from Coimbatore told him that he can join some special courses offered in the engg. colleges over there, like, B.Sc. Appl. Sci. and B.Sc. Comp. Tech., which are far better than the average B.Sc.

Bad luck was about to strike him again; for some inexplicable reason, he stayed back at his hometown for a week after the results were announced and went to collect his +2 mark sheets. Then, he made his visits to the desired colleges to file an application, at a time when admission was going on. After a week of hectic trying in Coimbatore and failing to get the top colleges without a donation, he decided to return to Madurai, where he had done the last 5 years of schooling. There again, it was too late. All the top colleges had filled up the seats, and he could get admission in one of the not-so-famous colleges..

To top it all, there was terrible confusion over the entrance exam in that year. In the end, for the first time in several years, the government had decided that the admission to engg. colleges would be made based solely on entrance tests!! Had he not talked to JP after the chem exam, he would have atleast given his best in the entrance exam, for which he was preparing for months.. Those were some of the worst months of his life.. He was terribly depressed.. somehow he recovered and managed to do well in his BSc and join a reputed institution for higher studies.

Recently, he was talking to Subbu and for the first time, opened his heart out on this story, which he had not revealed to any of his +2 classmates thus far.. Subbu said 'Hey, if you had discussed with me about it, I would have told you everything about the procedure.. Thats why we were wondering why you got more marks in the languages than physics'.. It was the case of a big 'IF'. A bit of inferiority complex, that he carried on due to his language-shift had caused him dear.

You all know who the 'he' is.. Though he loves his choosen subject, he cant stop thinking why things turned so wrong in the most crucial phase of his life.. and imagine what would have happened otherwise.. It is like a love-failure nevertheless.. even if one marries somebody else, the mind would tend to think what if the first love was not a failure.. It is not adultery, is it?

Mar 10, 2006


Back-to-back reviews.. ippodhaikku pudhu idea edhuvum agapadalai.. so here I go..

Kodambakkam is the story of an aspiring young assistant director (Nandha)who dreams of making it big in Kodambakkam. He has his love interest (Diya) and his mom (Kalairani) back in his village praying for his success. He gets a rich and typically simple village man (Manivannan) to produce his film. Soon he realizes that his maiden film would be make-or-break for not only him but for several others associated with him.

Unlike some other movies which have projected the members of cine-field as baddies and spun a net around the good vs bad conflicts, Kodambakkam is an honest attempt to portray the obstacles involved in making a movie. It exaggerates the events just a little to create the cinematic cliches but otherwise the director uses several familiar incidents that we have read/heard from the horses' mouths. The climax is kinda predictable but an anti-climax would have shown the director at his pessimistic worst.

Nandha, along with Prasanna and Vishal, is one of the prospective bright faces of Thamizh cinema now. With luck and more emphasis on right emotions, he can achieve second level of stardom. He doesnt disappoint in this movie. Diya raises hopes for a better role in the film after her move to Chennai but it just serves the purpose for a song. Manivannan is so believable as the rich but one of those who are totally unaware of the way cine industry works. His daily updates to his wife appear funny in the beginning but later it helps bring a nice piece of love and emotions.

The support cast of Tejashri, Ramesh Kanna, 'Ganja' karuppu, Kalairani, et al. do a good job, though Kalairani gets onto our nerves at times. The music has nothing much to write about. The director (Jaganji, Director of 'Pudiya Geethai') has shown that he has some good ideas in a few scenes but lack of a brisk screenplay and the songs tend to drag the movie.

Mar 9, 2006

கள்வனின் காதலி (Kalvanin Kaathali)

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கதை என்ன? 'கோகுலத்தில் சீதை' ரகம்தான்.. டீசன்ட்டா எடுத்திருந்தா 'கண்ணனின் காதலி'னு பெயர் வைச்சிருக்கலாம்.. சூர்யா பாணியில இருக்கிறதால 'கஸ்மாலத்தின் காதலி' என்பது பொருத்தமா இருந்திருக்கும்.

சூர்யாவுக்கு தான் ஏதோ மன்மதக்குஞ்சு என்று நினைப்பு.. ஆசைப்படுகிற பெண்களை எல்லாம் வீழ்த்துகின்ற பாத்திரத்துக்கு பொருந்தவேயில்லை.. (பெண்கள் தினத்தன்று இந்தப் படத்தோட விமர்சனம் எழுதுவது சரியில்லைதான்.. Antithesis-என்று வைத்துக்கொள்ளுங்கள்..) அ..ஆ.. படம் அளவுக்கு எரிச்சல் ஊட்டாவிட்டாலும் சூர்யாவை ஹீரோவாக ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள முடியவில்லை.. நயன் தாராதான் படத்தைக் கொஞ்சமாவது காப்பாற்றுகிறார்..

நாரோடு சேர்ந்த பூவும் நாறும் என்பதுபோல விவேக் காமெடி உள்ளது. இரட்டை அர்த்த வசனங்கள் படம் முழுக்க தடை இன்றி உலாவருகின்றன. பாக்யராஜ் இல்லாத குறையை நிவர்த்தி செய்ய சூர்யா முழு வேகத்தோடு வந்துள்ளார் போல.. இறுதிக்காட்சி சொதப்பல். தவறு செய்தவர் மன்னிப்பு கேட்காமல் பாதிக்கப்பட்டவர் கேட்பது அநியாயம்.

யுவன் ஷங்கர் ராஜாவின் பாடல்கள் அருமை.. குறிப்பாக 'தாஜ்மஹால்..' மற்றும் 'ஏனோ கண்கள்'. தியேட்டரில் முதல் வரிசையில் உட்கார்பவர்களுக்கும் விசிலடிச்சான் குஞ்சுகளுக்கும் எடுத்த படம் போல உள்ளது.

Mar 7, 2006

Got it ?

I am waiting for some fast bowler who can take the New ball, moving it both ways to the batsmen, and York them off, helping us win the one-day series in April.

Mar 3, 2006

Happy Birthday, Hari !!

Ever since 'Konja naal ', Hariharan is my favorite singer. I still love SPB but Hari is unique. After Bombay, Hari was AR Rahman's favorite singer. For over two years, all the albums of Rahman had atleast one song by Hari. In the period '95-'97, Hari sang some unforgettable numbers, such as 'Vennilae' (which is my all-time favorite song), 'AvaL varuvaLa', , 'Vidukathaiya', 'Hai Rama', 'Telephone mani..', 'Konjum manjal' and 'Colonial cousins'.

'Vennilave' is a special one.. One of the rare songs of Rahman which stunned me at the very first listen. That was the time of 'cyberspace', and I met a girl, Lavanya, online from Orlando, who also happened to be a big time Hari's songs, esp. 'Vennilave'. We became good friends. She was seeing a Madurai guy that time, and we chatted long hours on tamil film music, esp. on Hari. Hari visited Orlando for a concert and she was all 'ooh aah' on him - he was so down-to-earth, interacted with fans very friendly, blah blah. She was the very interested in creating a homepage for him and there it was - the first and only official homepage of Hari. Another internet-friend of hers, P. Sundaram from Singapore, was a secondary and I was the database guy.

Due to my research career, I couldnt contribute much to the webpage. The only connection I have with that is through the translated interview from Kumudam. Though Hari has performed a few times in Bangalore, I havent had a chance to meet him. Lavanya got a personalized autograph for me from him and mailed me. And since Mrs. Hariharan was computer-savvy, we have had a few e-mail exchanges.

I have a CD 'Hari special' which have my most favorite songs of his. My choices for that CD are:
1) VennilavE - MinsAra Kanavu;
2) Konjum manjal - Ullasam;
3) Konja naal - Aasai;
4) AvaL varuvALA - Nerukku Nerr;
5) EngengE - Nerukku Nerr;
6) Telephone manipol - Indian;
7) VidukathaiyA - Muthu;
8) HAi RAmA - Rangeela;
9) UyirE - Bombay;
10) NilA kAikiRathu - Indira;
11) MalargaLey - Love birds;
12) Yaadein - Yaadein;
13) Pachai niRamE - Alaipayuthey.

Happy Birthday, Hari !! and thanks for enthralling us with your mesmerizing voice.