Oct 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

On the occasion of Halloween, my mind went to tamil horror movies. That is one genre which attacted me to theaters when before my teens but I w'd end up 'watching' them either with one-eye between fingers or with closed eyes. Here is the list of such movies on this special occasion:
1) Yaar:
The movie was a hit, making the director add the movie's name before his name as 'Yaar' Kannan. It was a well-crafted movie, with a decent star cast of Arjun, Nalini, Jaishankar, Senthil, 'NizhalgaL' Ravi, (I think his was the first name the horror moviemaker would pen when deciding the star cast.. One can see him in pretty much all the movies... He would have just missed being called 'Pei' Ravi, ;) )among others. Even the comedy segment, involving was Senthil was quite freaky, especially the demise of Prof. Senthil. One unforgettable scene which scared the hell out of me is where Jayachitra encounters her 'different' son, thinking of which I still get the hair at the back of the neck raising.
2) 13-aam number veedu:
There is the same spookiness in this movie too, with lots of boorish moments. It followed the same trend of people in a house dying one after the other.

3) My dear Lisa:
It has the classical horror motive of revenge behind it. Some of the modus operandi for murder is inspired from 'Evil dead'.

4) Idhudhan arambam:
Produced and directed by 'Raj Bharath' of early 80's movie 'Uchakkattam', this involved a lot of scary scenes, but this was a movie with a twist in the end.

5) Jenma natchathiram:
Heavily inspired from 'The Oman', this movie, produed by 'ThakkAli' Srinivasan had a child as the '666' evil. The climax was quite heart-breaking and made me think about what would have happened after the movie ended.

6) Vaa Arugil Vaa:
Actually a nice movie. It had a decent storyline, heart-wrenching senti scenes, good suspense-building moments, and an entertaining second half. The horrifying figure was inspired the 'Chucky' character, but the Tamil version was quite cute. This movie, along with 'Yaar' and 'Idhudhan arambam' is one of the only three Tamil horror movies that I have watched twice.
7) Uruvam:
A movie with 'Mike' Mohan as the main character, but a unique one.. His voice and hairstyle were horrible; and the horror-inducing scenes were quite creepy. For those of us who associate Mike Mohan with soft, romantic roles, and singing in front of mikes, this movie is undigestible.

8) Shock:
Remake of Hindi 'Bhoot', this film scared only in parts. The most scariest creature was the hair-chewing, eye-rolling Kalairaani, who for your kind information, was not possessed. It was quite different from the usual horror movies in the sense that it is based in an urban setting, a Chennai apartment.
9) Sivi:
A recent one; again based in an urban setting of college, library and normal city house. Despite having the advantage of using good technology, it wasnt that different in the fear-inducing scenes. It has got some twists too; the last scene/frame of the movie is quite shocking.

BTW, one doubt: Why do Indian women close their mouths with their hands when they scream? ;)

Oct 26, 2008


While listening to "I miss u miss u da" song, I suddenly wondered how to say that in Tamil. Missing = 'Tholaindhu pOdhal', but what about missing someone? How about 'unnai migavum izhakkirEn?'; but it is more like, "I lose u". Then it occured to me that it is a sin to deprive Tamil of such a wonderful part of love. Missing-ey Tamil-le missing? ;) That made me to coin a new word for that; upon thinking for some time, I chose 'mizhathal' for missing. hehe.. romba simple Mi(ss) + (I)zhathal = Mizhathal. :)
I miss you = Naan unnai mizhakkirEn
I am missing u = Naan unnai mizhandhukondirukkrEn
I will miss u so much = Naan unnai migavum mizhappEn
I missed you a lot = Naan unnai adhigam mizhandhEn.
Planning to use it when writing mini kavithai's.. If you too liked it, use it and spread it.. illenna, any suggestions?

BTW, A Very Happy Deepavali Wishes to All of You!!!!! :-)

Oct 19, 2008

Revisit of some old posts

1) Starting from the oldest, I had written this post 3 years ago about harvesting of human power in gym. From one comment that I got last year, I was happy to know that the idea is getting implemented by some gyms in Hong Kong.

2) I had this list of my favorite top 10 villains in Tamil cinema. Some good ones were missed, as some readers had mentioned and as I Had acknowledged. Check out this recent list by Behindwoods and watch out for overlaps.

3) I like most reality shows involving talent-hunt, be it dance, music, singing or humor. I had posted about one of my fav shows - Nach Baliye, the Season 2 of which was just over when I wrote the post. This Friday, the Season 4 has kick-started. Season 2 was a huge success, with good judges and cute couples. Season 3 was a forgettable one, though I havent watched most of the episodes. It even ended controversially, with court cases and allegations of favoritism/bias. Season 4 looks very promising, with great judges - Farah Khan, Arjun Rampal and Karishma Kapoor (South ex-heroines must have a look at her.. Looks like time has stopped moving forward in her life alone.. she looks almost the same as in 'Dil To Pagal Hai' or 'Fiza'). Among the participants, Jaspal Bhatti is a surprise choice... Hope he caters well to the Bhangra audience. Thee are a few known and newfaces from soap operas, but at least 6 couples look promising. Let it rock!!

4) Another important addition to 'Science in song lyrics' post: "Moongil kAdugalE" from Samurai. I came across this song only recently, and when I heard that it is Vikram's fav song, I can understand. Superbly sung by Hariharsn and brilliantly penned by Vairamthu, the following lines have some wonderful references to scientific events, linking them with philosophy and humanity..
In the second stanza, he goes:
"Uppu kadalOram mEgam uRpathi AnAlum
upputhaNNeerai mEgam oru pOdhum sindhAdhu
i.e., Even though clouds originate from salty sea, it never rains salt water)

Malaiyil veezhndhAlum sooriyan marithu povathilllai
nilavukku oLiootti thannai neettithukkolgirathu"
(Though the sun disappears behind the hill, it doesnt die; it enlightens the moon and extends its longevity)

Then, he says
"Jananam maraNam aRiyA vaNNam nAnum mazhaithuLi AvEnO"
(Will I become like rain which has no birth or death?)

The first part beautifully talks about the natural process of distillation. For the question of why salt doesnt evaporate alongwith water is bcos the vapor pressure of salt is very low. Thus, the evaporation of water from sea separates pure water from saline sea.

In the second part, the process of reflection of sunlight by moon is poetically described. Vairamuthu says that it elongates the life of sun.

In the last part, the fundamental chemical theory about conservation of molecular structure upon physical changes is narrated. Water, or any chemical for that matter, can neither be created nor be destroyed due to the physical processes that take place around or with them. For that, chemistry is required. Vairamuthu compares that law to the hero's wish of living forever without a knowledge about life or death. If his wis was granted, he would be like 'Hancock'.

5) In an earlier quiz, I had asked about the uniqueness of Harris Jeyaraj. Now, what is unique about our Gaptun Vijayakanth, Surya and Vikram, which separates them from others such as Sivaji, Rajni, Kamal, Satyaraj, Karthik, Prabhu, Vijay, Ajith, Sarathkumar and 'Mike' Mohan? Since I havent enabled comment moderation, you might find the answers from others' comments.

PS: Oru sudden doubt.. I have some friends who were raised by their grandmothers. As there are so many songs praising mother in Tamil cinema, why is there not a single song praising her in a senti way? (Pl. ignore "Paatti sollai thattAdhey").

Oct 13, 2008

Before Sunset

I wanted to publish this post on the 10th itself, when I felt soooo romantic. This movie is set in the most romantic city of the world, Paris.. and I wished I knew French, to fully understand all the dialogue. May be I will learn it in the future and watch the movie umpteenth time... ;)

Please note: A few spoilers about this move and its prequel, 'Before Sunrise' will be found in this review. Both the movies are availabe in youtube.. Before sunrise - in 10 parts. Before sunset is available in 8 parts. I strongly recommend the romantic lovers among you to watch these 2 movie. Definitely worth 3 hours of your life.

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are two of my all-time favorite movies and certainly the most favorite pair in the ‘Sequel’ category. In this post, I focus mainly on ‘Before Sunset’ and describe what a great sequel it is – not only in terms of the story or other technical aspects but in the aspects that make it an excellent pair with its prequel.

The way the first part ended was rather ambiguous (open-ended). As the male protagonist Jesse (Ethan Hawke) reveals in the sequel, it is totally left to the reader to imagine what really happened after the climax. A romantic would think that the he and Celine (Julie Delpy, in an awe-inspiring performance), the girl he met and spent a day in Vienna, met again and a cynic would think they didn’t. Now, the time for the imagination is over and the viewer is going to know the answer, but it wouldn’t come soon. So, during the course of the movie, the viewer has to read between the lines and try to guess the answer correctly. Thus, from being a romantic or cynic, the viewer has to change to being an observer or a wild-guesser.

In the book-meeting scene, he talks of the idea for his next story, where he remembers his ex-girlfriend when his daughter is dancing to the tunes of a song he listened with his ex-girlfriend. This was indicative of the director giving us clues about his life. His first book was based on his real-life incident of meeting his ex-girlfriend; moreover, the very first dialogue in the movie begins with one of the journalists asking the writer if the story is autobiographic, to which he answers that every writer’s work is inspired from his/her life experiences, and being the writer of a romantic story, his too is real. These two events suggest us that he probably has an offspring, probably a daughter and that he still thinks often about his ex-girlfriend. He further says that he wanted to be a great lover, an adventurer and an explorer of the world; but instead he was depressed despite having a great job and a beautiful wife.

When Celine comes to meet him at the bookstore, we see that he is quite surprised seeing her, and within minutes of their conversation it is apparent that they couldn’t meet again as they planned, in Vienna. Now, the next question arises about their individual lives. Her bare fingers reveal that she is single, but his situation is left to guess. When asked how long it took to write the novel, he says 3-4 years, which is the first major clue given by the director that it has indeed been at least 4 years since their earlier meeting. He further remarks that his life nosedived after Dec 16, 1995, when he was waiting for her in Vienna in vain and his life turned miserable. Though he says that he only joked, one can sense that the director is giving hints about his troubled marriage.

Their conversation is quite different from the one they had during their first meet. While much of it was about what youngsters would be thinking and talking about, such as, partners, childhood memories, and career goals, now their conversation revolves around more serious and global issues such as global warming, politics of the modern world, and environmental pollution. This difference also suggests of their increased maturity over the years, hinting us that they have got quite older and wiser.

Unlike in the first movie where there was quite a bit of physical interaction between them after the first few hours, such as holding hands together and kissing, we don’t see any such thing here, despite them meeting after a few years. This also suggests of some barrier between them, which we don’t know is because of the awkwardness of the situation or due to something else. We get the answer a little later.

While talking at the café, he talks of his problems getting deeper and deeper, but when she asks him what his problems are, he sighs and says he doesn’t have any problems and that, at that moment, he is very happy being there. From the conversations, it becomes clear that both have been thinking about each other and we also get the feeling that they have indeed been searching the other within their limits. Then, when he reveals the exact time that passed between the meetings, it is quite shocking. Now, the viewer is made to guess about what would have happened in each of their life in that period, and most importantly, if both of them are still single and available for each other.

Later when they talk about the details of their past meet, Celine behaves as if she has forgotten much of the way they spent their first day together in Vienna. It comes as a shock to him, because he says that he remembers that night much more than he remembers his entire living years. Considering that, and the fact that it was only he who showed up at Vienna for the elusive reunion, it arises a doubt about whether she cherishes their first meet as much as he does. When he asks her if it was a bitter experience and hence she wanted to forget it, she says no. As the conversation evolves, and when she is shown to remember even their zodiacs after all these years, it slowly becomes apparent that he really meant something to her.

During all this time, it is clear that we are observing every conversation between them and every place there go. By this, I mean that the editing has been such that we witness everything they do. Thus, there is no scope to guess whether or not they have talked about their lives in the intermittant time. But I felt that there is a nice catch. Being an author of a bestselling author, it is most probable that his short biography is there at the back-cover of his book, making her aware of his marital and social status (which is usually briefly mentioned in the biography). But he has no clue about her life, neither are we aware of her feelings about what she has learnt about him. The director makes us wait for the story to unfold.

When she eventually asks him about his family, we know about his marital status and also that she is aware of that. When she later reveals that she is not yet married and that she is unable to maintain a long-term relationship with anyone because of his memories, we understand how strongly she has been in love with him, after spending just a few hours with him the first time around. The difference between the release of the two movies is actually the same what director has decided to use as the break. I think it is a smart ploy, because both Jesse and Celine have aged quite considerably and the director needed to just show their older faces to make us realize that it is indeed a long time since the prequel.

The reason for me mentioning their first interaction which is shown in just a few frames at the beginning of the movie is that, someone who watches this movie without having watched its prequel will definitely be tempted to find out how their first meet would have been. That doesn’t mean that it is a prerequisite to have watched Before Sunrise for watching this movie. Before Sunset is a great movie by itself, perhaps better in the lead roles’ performances than the prequel, especially during the emotional outburst shown beautifully in a long shot during their limo journey. There, each of them loves to console the emotionally charged other by trying to touch their hair, but they restrain doing so, probably because of the realization that his marital status prevents such a contact.It is such a wonderful scene, and is easily the best in the movie.

The director decides to end Before Sunset too open-ended, with a clever dialog in which Celine tells Jesse that he is going to miss the plane, for which he replies “I know”. The movie ends right after that, and the director re-invokes the romantic vs cynic argument in us. I concluded that Jesse would deliberately miss the flight to stay with her for awhile before divorcing his wife, thus ending the unhappy marriage and unite with Celine. I loved both the movies because of the terrific conversations the pair had in both the versions, around which they gradually share their life and express their love. In short, I would say that Before Sunset is a perfect sequel to Before Sunrise in every sense. Listen to a beautiful waltz that Celine wrote for Jesse..

Oct 3, 2008

KannE KalaimAne - Song of the Month

Last year, some blogger had requested for a translation of 'Kanne kalaimAne' from 'Moondram Pirai' after reading my analysis of the title of the movie. Superband soulful rendition by KJY, very melodious music of IR and great but simple lyrics by Kannadasan make it one of the best melodies ever in Tamil film music. That made me twitter 14 months ago about the concept of the 'Song of the Month'. I had planned to include the songs which I never discussed in my blog. Only now, in the death anniversary month of the great lyricist Kannadasan, I got a chance to write about his last song, which has been in three of my lists so far. Better late than never, so here we go:
கண்ணே கலைமானே கன்னி மயிலெனக் கண்டேன் உனை நானே 0.1
அந்தி பகல் உனை நான் பார்க்கிறேன் ஆண்டவனை இதைத்தான் கேட்கிறேன் 0.2
ஆரிராரோ ...
kannae kalaimaanae kanni mayilena-k-kandaen unai naanae
andhi pagal unai naan paarkkiraena andavanai idhaiththaan kaetkiraen
aariraaro ...
Most of you know the context in which this song appears in the movie. The hero has fallen love with the mentally retarded heroine whom he is sheltering, without knowing anything about her history.
0.1: Kannae and kalaimaane are the common ways of chweetly calling one's love.. Kan is eye and kalaimaan is one kind of deer, and mayil is peacock. He pretty much praises her.
0.2: I see you in dawn (andhi) and noon (pagal); I wish/ask for just this from the God (andavan).
Charanam 1:
ஊமை என்றால் ஒரு வகை அமைதி 1.1
ஏழை என்றால் ஆதிலொரு அமைதி 1.2
நீயோ கிளிப்பேடு பண் பாடும் ஆனந்தக் குயில் பேடு 1.3
ஏனோ தெய்வம் சதி செய்தது பேதை போல விதி செய்தது 1.4
oomai enraal oru vagai amaidhi
aezhai enraal adhil oru amaidhi
neeyo kilippaedu pan paadum aanandak kuyil paedu
aeno dheyvam sadhi seydhadhu paedhai poala vidhi seydhadhu
1.1: It is becalming if you are dumb (oomai)
1.2: It is becalming if you are poor (ezhai)
1.3: (But) you are a female parrot (kilippaedu), a happy female Nightingale (kuyil paedu) who sings songs (pan paadum)
1.4: Don't know why but the God created a conspiracy (sadhi); fate (vidhi) made you mentally unstable (paedhai).
Charanam 2:
காதல் கொண்டேன் கனவினை வளர்த்தேன் 2.1
கண்மணி உனை நான் கருத்தினில் நிறைத்தேன் 2.2
உனக்கே உயிரானேன் எந்நாளும் எனை நீ மறவாதே 2.3
நீ இல்லாமல் எது நிம்மதி நீதான் என்றும் என் சந்நிதி 2.4
kaadhal kondaen kanavinai valarththaen
kanmani unai naan karuththinnil niraiththaen
unakkae uyiraanaen ennaalum enai nee maravaadhae
neeyillaamal edhu nimmadhi needhaanae en sannidhi
2.1: I am in love with you; I planted (valarthaen) dreams (kanavinai).
2.2: (Kanmani: Pupil of the eye) Oh dear, I have filled (niraithaen) you in my thoughts (karuthinil).
2.3: I have become your soul (uyiraanen); Never ever forget me (maravaadhae)
2.4: What is peace (nimmadhi) without you (neeyillaamal)? You are forever (endrum) like my (holy) sanctum sanctorum (sannidhi).
I know that the sweetness of the song is lost in translation. And also my translation can be improved.. consider it as a maiden n crude effort.