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...