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: