May 31, 2007

Tamil Movie Quiz - 3

1) While watching some video which I would probably write about in my next post, I was mesmerized by the super slow-mo shots. My mind went to the use of slow-mo in Tamil movies, esp. in songs. My current fav video, 'Anjali Anjali' is a good example. All the action is in slow motion, which elevates the song to new heights. I don't know what is the first Tamil song to appear fully in slow-motion; so, if anyone knows the answer, you are encouraged to enlighten me..

The more difficult part is to blend lip-sync with slow-mo. Just imagine this.. if the artists move at half the original speed, the song has to be played at double the speed while shooting the song, to enable proper lip-sync. Bcos of this reason, all the slo-mo songs have reasonably slow flow.. and it involves quite a bit of vision and trial-and-error to get the desired effect after slow-mo. Now the questions:

a) Which is the first slow-mo Tamil song with lip-sync?

b) Which is the first slow-mo Tamil song with lip-sync, and a dance sequence as well? Incidentally, the movie having this song has also got a slow-mo song, without lip-sync..
[Clue: All these three movies - Anjali and the other two were released within a period of 16 months]

As one can expect, some of the best brains have been involved with them. All the three songs, along with 'Anjali', are timeless classics.

2) The guy in the pictures above (the second foto was added... does it help?) was the hero of a movie released last year. Honestly, I hadn't heard of that movie until then. His adopted name is a very special one - that of a very famous personality, and that's what made me take note of him, after having a ROTFL moment. What is it? :)
[That name is very well known all over India..]

3) In the late 90's, a director, who has earlier given some super hit movies, wanted a unique name for a new heroine of his movie, since there was already another upcoming actress sharing the new heroine's original name. He made it as a competition in 'Kumudam', urging the readers to choose a unique name for her; the person whose choice pleases the director would get a prize. Her screen name, with three Tamil letters, was chosen thus and she was introduced. Unfortunately, the movie flopped big time, and the actress had to act opposite less famous heroes for survival.

A few years ago (6 years after her debut), she got a new lease of life out of nowhere, with a very famous director choosing her to act in a multi-star film, keeping her original name itself. The movie was a huge success and her character in the movie was praised well. She has shown good promise and talent in the few select roles she has got since then. A movie released last year brought her good fame, and some meaty roles. Who is she?

PS: Comments are moderated as usual, to keep the quiz going.

1. a) MMKR - Sundari Neeyum.
b) Thalapathi - Kaattu kuyilu (and the other song is 'Chinna thayaval')

2. His name is 'Shah Rukh'.. ;) He was the hero of 2006 release 'Aattam'..

3. Rasika/Sangeetha.

May 27, 2007

Half a movie a day...

keeps a doctor away. That's been my mantra for fitness for a year now. Last year, buying an electronic gadget during the last weekend shopping of May was a turning point for me. Lemme explain. For the previous 2 years, my gym workouts were helped by listening to music. During early last year, I realized that, in order to lose weight (fat), it is not enough to lift weights.. a lot of cardio workouts was a must.

I would listen to my favorite songs from my iPod and work on the elliptical/treadmill/cycle. But then, doing for long duration of time was tough - Boredom soon starts setting in, since the songs are already listened hundreds of times, and there is nothing new and exciting in it. Then, I moved to NY and joined a professional gym for the first time, since the school gym was useless. Paying quite a bit of money for gym, I thought that I should utilize the gym time very efficiently.
A month passed by, and my weight remained the same or marginally lower. On one fine day, I saw a lady working out while WATCHING MOVIES ON A PORTABLE DVD PLAYER. The novelty immediately stuck me.. and I started realizing the advantages..

* There is always something new while doing the workout.. a movie watching experience is totally different to music.
* A nice multitasking, by blending fitness and entertainment, both of which are my favorites.

I immediately bought a portable DVD player, and voila.. that was it.. I borrowed a lot of movies from my library and started watching them while working out. No matter what the genre of the movie is, time just flew by during the multitasking, and before I know it, I would have burnt hundreds of calories. Sometimes, getting engrossed in the movie made me lose unthinkable amounts of energy. Though the screen (7 ") was unfamiliarly too small, I got used to it pretty soon. No complaints.

I checked my weight the very next week, and I could see a difference!! I have got a best companion for my workout!!! My weight reduction was so drastic (and within allowed limit), that I could start sensing it. The whole body felt so good with unnecessary weight going away regularly.. There were times I would burn close to 1000 Cals a day on the average, 7 days a week.. Once while watching a Hindi movie, I didnt feel like stopping it and ended up burning 2000 Cals.. (that is a bit too much.. dont try it until u r very comfortable).

I have been noting my weight down for almost 2 years now. Being a scientist, I plotted the weight over time.. there was a change in the slope of the line at one particular point (inflection point). And it was the last week of May, 2006. My face and body underwent a change in a period of just months. I read quite a bit on fitness and corrected a few mistakes that I was doing. Some quick tips on weight loss..

* Doing cardio for the duration of half typical Hollywood movie, say, 45 mins at a decent rate of 14 Cals per minute would help you burn 630 Cals a day or about 4400 Cals a week. A pound of body weight is equivalent to 3500 Cals. Thus, 5 pounds (2.2 kg) can be lost in a month. Do more and lose more..

* Doing little bit of weight-lifting (for both genders) would enhance weight loss, thanks to some hormones which are secreted during the work-outs (when muscles are stimulated). It would also help maintain a good tone.

* Follow the age-old saying: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. I used to do the mistake of skipping breakfast... What a blunder.. when body needs food the most, the first thing in the morning, depriving of it would make the body angry, and it would be waiting to punish you by storing as much as fat you would feed it the rest of the day.

* Olive oil is a wonder oil for cooking.. the body yet doesnt know how to store fat from this oil.. b4 it does, make use of the opportunity. Believe me, the taste of food cooked with olive oil is absolutely fine.. Keep ghee, coconut oil and vanaspati to a minimum. Body loves them..

* There are many machines one can use for cardio.. the treadmill, the elliptical trainer or the cycle. I dont like cycle, since it involves a sitting posture. Many would have felt knee pain after a long walk/run on the treadmill or in any ground... thats bcos you are banging your feet against the platform. IMHO, the elliptical trainers are the best, since the feet dont move at all, and the up and down motion is equivalent to climbing staircase against gravity. Also, they are easy on the eyes while watching movies.

The only problem with the weight loss is that, your pants would get so loose, you will have to buy new ones.. but that is the reward you give yourself for looking lean and fit.. :)

May 19, 2007

Tamil vs Hindi Cinema: 8. Lyricists

This is one area which I am not knowledgeable enough to pass a comprehensive judgement on, since I can hardly follow the lyrics of poetic Hindi songs (e.g. in Fanaa). Nevertheless, let me try my best.

Tamil lyricists:

Thanks mainly to Kannadasan, very high standards were set for tamil film lyrics. Almost all his popular songs had excellent lyrics, and those aspiring to make it big in the industry wanted to emulate him. We were lucky to have a Vairamuthu ready to take over after Kannadasan, and continue the trend. Since 'Mudhal Mariyathai', he has won the national award for best lyrics 5 times. No words of praise are enough for him, and he continues to surprise us with his imagination, comparitive skill, humor, and at times, philosophy.

Following on his footsteps are talented and promising lyricists such as Na. Muthukumar, Thamarai and, Pa. Vijay (who won the national award for 'Autograph'), to name a few. Even Vaali comes up with a few surprises at times. Good quality tamil lyrics effortlessly flows from them, and despite the popularity of 'Kuthu' or 'Gaana' style songs, the quest for penning ever-lasting melodies is what gives them the ultimate satisfaction.

Hindi Lyricists:

Though they have a few very good lyricists in Gulzar and Javed Akhtar, the quality and the ethereal poetic purity are somehow inconsistent. Only Gulzar has won the national award, that too just once, for 'Ijaazat' long ago. Whenever I translate some of the gems of Vairamuthu or Na. Muthukumar to my Hindi-speaking friends, they have told me that Tamil poets' imagination is too good, romantic, and 'unimaginable'. Such quality exists only in Ghazals, which mainstream Hindi music somehow doesn't embrace much.

I think it is fair to hand over the victory to Tamil lyricists. This makes Tamil cinema lead Hindi 4-2.

May 17, 2007

Who are they?

Some exclusive fotos from a new book, clicked by my camerafone during a visit to a bookshop.. Nzoy.. :)

May 11, 2007

Time of the Siblings

1980's saw the emergence of offsprings in Tamil cinema - Prabhu, followed by Karthik created their own magic and survived long enough. The recent times has seen the arrival of siblings.. first, it was 'Jithan/Jerry' ( ;) ) Ramesh following his brother Jeeva's footsteps, supported ably by their 'Can-waste-all-my-hard-earned-money-to-make-my-boys-into-heroes' R.B. Chowdhary. Jeeva didnt do much to attract attention in his first few movies before 'Raam' but since then has hardly looked back. Will there be any 'Krishna' for Ramesh? Only time can tell..

Then there is Karthi, who, in his very first attempt, has given a bigger blockbuster than what his elder bro Surya could manage in a career spanning almost a decade. Haing a good mix of acting skills and looks, he is surely here to stay.

Now, about some 'expected' cases.. After a successful transformation from 'Baby' to 'Kumari' Shalini, her younger sis Shamili is rumored to make a (re-)entry into Tamil/Telugu industry. I wish she is re-introduced by Maniratnam, who has an excellent track with her family, in Anjali and Alaipayuthey.. but, my foresight tells me that I would prefer to think of her performances in Anjali (and even Durga) rather than as a heroine in the future.

And then there is 'Kuralarasan', who is chubbier and hence believed to be cuter than Silambarasan(!?!?). With the dad Vijaya TRajender having been re-energized after 'Veerasamy',and wishing to make more movies with him as the hero, the fate of Tamil rasigars is on the hands of his family.
The downside of such a thing is a possible rivalry between the siblings.. inspired from politics (two MK siblings' recent fights fuelled by two united brothers comes to mind..). Reminding of the good old tamil proverb "Rendu Aadunga sandai pottaa ...."

PS: Time to change my 'Favorite Video'.. Doesn't mean that the previous song has lost its sheen... The new favorite song is a very special one for me, especially since last Wednesday.. :) It is from my all-time favorite movie, Anjali.. I am sure most of you would have watched this many times. A beautiful song involving some of the cutest moments.. Shamili was just awesome.. especially when she is sitting on the bench holding a leaf, or when she is wiping the cheeks after receiving a kiss.. so artistic yet so natural.. Njoy..