Apr 29, 2008

Tamil Cine Quiz - 5

After over 6 months, time for another quiz now.. This is more of a music quiz.. As usual, the comments are moderated (sorry for the glitch of y'day which hid all the comments), and more clues will be given depending on the response.

1) One criterion separates Harris Jayaraj from Ilayaraja, AR Rahman, MS Viswanathan, Yuvan, Imman, Bharadwaj, Deva, Devi Sriprasad, Gangai Amaran and Vijay Antony. What is it? (Apart from his working with Gautham Vasudeva Menon, plz.. :) )
PS Clue: Add Vidyasagar, T. Rajender, SP Balasubramaniam, Maragathamani (aka Keeravani/ MM Kreem), Karthik Raja and Shankar Mahadevan to the latter list.
2) SPB and Hariharan are two of the all-time greatest singers of our time. It would be a treat to listen both the legends singing in the same song. I think it has happened only once, but not for a Tamil song. AR Rahman was the music director who made them come together for a Hindi song. In fact, a famous female singer Chitra has also rendered her voice for this fabulous song about which I havent read anything in the blogosphere so far. What is the song and which movie is it from?
3) This is about friendship in music. It is also about their loyalty to a music director. Two famous actors A and B have had a very different relationship with a music director C. Over a period of 15 years (say, from X-15 to X), I can think of at least 40 movies which each of A and B have acted in which C was the music director and most of them are superhits. In fact, for 10 years from (X-10) to X, C was the music director for all of A's movies. After the year 'X', B wouldnt have worked together for 15 years with C, though A has done 4 movies in this period with C. Who are A, B and C? Try to answer the year 'X' as well, if u can.

Apr 22, 2008

Kadavul and Nepali

1) Arai EN 305-il kadavuL:

I went to this movie with a lot of expectations, both on its director and the producer. The signs of what is coming became apparent in the first few minutes of the movie. I tried to laugh at the 'jokes' but couldn't; then I thought that the director, who made us laugh heartily at '23-Am Pulikesi' has been trying some genuine jokes but I am too lame to understand it, so laughed at a few others, only to stop and think 'It wasn't funny enough to elicit a laughter'. It took a while to realize that the director is suffering from his 'second-movie-blues'.

The most absurd concept in the movie is God's 'G-box' which looks like an external memory disk and which gets powered from normal 220-volt electricity. God becomes useless without it, and any man who possesses it becomes God (Alauddinum arpudha vilakkum and Mr. India, remember?) There is constant preaching all over the movie which certainly becomes too unbearable as the movie progresses. It is like 'Bruce Almighty meets Munnabhai of 2006 and both go insane' kinda movie.

Santhanam, universally acclaimed as the 'loud-mouthed idiot' gets the hero chance probably because the director saw that he has slimmed down. Ganja Karuppu proves that he would be unbearable in any movie if he occupies more than 15 minutes of screen space. Prakash Raj is certainly no NTR; his wig is horrible. It looks like even Gods can have 'bad hair days'. The support cast, including the heroines, is less than inspiring. If there is one thing funny in the movie, it is the songs. Listen to 'Kaadhal sei', and if possible, watch it.. Alongside 'Ennai konjam mAtri' and 'Arjunaru villu', you might want to have this song playing in your car for a cheerful ride.

The lesson from this one and from 'Indralokathil...' is, if a human visits the land of Gods, or the other way around, it would be a disaster.

2) Nepali:

We get to see three Bharath's - first, a Nepali one who is killing people; second, a software engineer who is in love with Meera, and third, a prisoner isolated in a cell who is constantly taking attempts to kill himself. The story moves along in three different lines well into the second half before converging into a single axis. At one point I doubted if the director was telling three stories in one movie, and if the three characters will get to meet each other. The director has cleverly woven the screenplay to keep the story moving forward and keeping us guessing.

Initially, the romantic segment between Bharath and Meera seems to be a spoiler of what is turning out to be a good thriller and it appears to be a little too long. Trimming that part would have made the movie shorter and crisper. That aside, there aren't too many complaints from me. I would have expected a better thinktank and clever discussion among the police officers who are trying to solve the murder cases. In one scene Bharath tells Meera "neenga nadikka try panreenga.." I felt like telling the same to Bharath. But, I must add that he gets his act together gradually and delivers a powerful performance.

Another interesting aspect that keeps us engrossed in the proceedings is the presence of quite a few loose ends which are waiting to be tied. Since they get tied only just before the climax and the climax itself is quite well-conceived, it gives a feeling of having watched a fast-paced movie. There aren't too many songs and the songs are reasonably good. Overall, it is a movie worth watching.

Apr 16, 2008

Male melodies

When I wrote on female melodies, I wanted to write no my favorite solos of male singers as well. The number is really a huge one.. so I have listed the best songs by each male singer that I cherish listening to most..

I got a chance to listen to it first time only when I watched the movie a couple of years ago. I had seen the female version of the song on TV but wasnt greatly influenced by it. But, Hariharan's version is simply superb. Apart from one minor blip when he pronounces 'kallukkum' instead of 'kaLLukkum', it is a near perfect song. AR Rahman has used Hindustani music to good effect, knowing that Hariharan's voice would blend well with it.
Among his thousands of solo songs, it was quite difficult to pick one, but the above number is indeed a very special one; a superb blend of SPB's soothing voice and Kadri Gopalnath's sax make the song an evergreen melody.
Listen to this song and you wont believe that the voice is that of a 65 year old. After early 90's, Tamil cinema has under-utilized his voice; this one song is a solid proof for that. In addition to his unique metallic voice, one can feel his longing for motherly love in the song. Hats off to the legend, and to Yuvan for choosing KJY to sing this fantastic lullaby.
The uniqueness of this song is in the passion and obsession the boy has on the girl, which is superbly brought out by Shankar Mahadevan. His voice modulations gel nicely with Yuvan's music and this tricky number manges to rise much above its level thanks to Shankar's great rendition.
I haven't listened to any other song which is fully dedicated to praising a girl's beauty as graciously as this one. Karthik simply mesmerizes with his exuberant voice.
I dont know how many of you have managed to listen to the Tamil version of this great album by AR Rahman. If not, please do it now.. Srinivas's nice voice does full justice to the ever-reliable Rahman-Vairamuthu Na.Muthukumar combo. What a song!! This song alone deserves a full post. (Thanks to Anand of Stony Brook for exposing me to this song).
I have chosen only these six singers because they have consistently delivered over a very long period. Among others, the solo songs that I love are: KAtrin mozhi (Mozhi) by Balaram, KAdhal vandhAl (Iyarkai) by Tippu, Pul vezhi (Aasai) by Unni Krishnan and 'NadhiyE' (Rhythm) by Unni Menon.

Apr 9, 2008


A totally fictitious story..
He was behind the wheel driving with she beside him and it was rapidly getting dark. Over ahead on the road he saw that black animal crossing the road quickly and at that precise moment he knew what it was. His feet voluntarily pressed the breaks and she, having seen that species said, "Che.. paazha pOna poonai.. adhuvum pisAsu mAdhiri karuppA.. car-ai divert panni direction maathittu polaanga".. They were on a suburban road and in front of the only side-road to his left was a "No left turn" signal.
He tried to convince her saying that unlike dogs, which like to run alongside roads, cats always like to cross the road, probably bcos it is in their genes, and so educated and rational people like them shouldnt believe in such myths but she was not to budge. With the spot where the cat crossed approaching fast and sensing that there was no other vehicle in sight, he decided to take the illegal left turn and quickly managed to do it. Within seconds he saw bright red and blue lights flashing on his rearview mirror - a hidden cop car has caught him. As he pulled his vehicle over and waited for the cop to ask for his license and subsequently hand him the ticket, she said "See.. IppovAvadhu nambureengaLA, poonai cross panna kandippA edhAchum kettadhu nadakkumnu".