Nov 26, 2008

Song of the month - Mundhinam

Another quick and unjustifiably crude translation of a recent song which has captivated my heart.
M: ஹாய் மாலினி!
I'm கிருஷ்ணன்.
நான் இதை சொல்லியே ஆகணும்;
நீ அவ்ளோ அழகு!
எவனும் இவ்ளோ அழகா ஒரு ......
இவ்ளோ அழகைப் பார்த்திருக்க மாட்டாங்க
and I am in love with you....

After introducing himself, he says that no one would have seen such a beautiful.... (pause and a chuckle) such a beauty. What a way to say that she is the most beautiful (not just woman, but in the) whole world. Considering that this is their first meeting, that is a very powerful statement (albeit praising her external beauty) to flatter her.

முன்தினம் பார்த்தேனே பார்த்ததும் தோற்றேனே
சல்லடைக் கண்ணாக நெஞ்சமும் புண்ணானதே
I saw you yesterday and as soon as I saw, I lost (to you).
My heart was wounded like the eyes of a sieve.

Traditionally, the sight of a woman is compared to the arrow; so, it is as if so many of such arrows attacked his heart and wounded him, that his heart has thousands of such tiny holes.

இத்தனை நாளாக உன்னை நான் பாராமல்
எங்குதான் போனேனோ நாட்களும் வீணானதே

All these days, without seeing you
where (the hell) did I go? Oh, all (my) days have been a waste..

When a person meets someone and falls in love, he/she wishes that they spent all their goneby days with that person. It is not only the happiness of the present, and a dream for the future, but a frustration for the past too.

வானத்தில் நீ வெண்ணிலா ஏக்கத்தில் நான் தேய்வதா
இப்போழ்தே என்னோடு வந்தாலென்ன
ஊர் பார்க்க ஒன்றாக சென்றாலென்ன


You are like a moon on the sky; I wane due to longing (for you)
What if you come with me now?
What if we go out, with the world watching (or what if we go sight-seeing)?

Yeah, the last line can be taken in both the ways. The first one is about the Hindu tradition of going on a procession after the marriage, so that the neighborhood can see who has got married. The latter is about the wish of a person to roam around the world with his lover.

துலாத்தட்டில் உன்னை வைத்து
நிகர் செய்யப் பொன்னை வைத்தால்
துலாபாரம் தோற்காதோ பேரழகே?

After placing you on a weighing balance,
if gold is placed to equalize with you,
wont the balance lose, my beauty?

He is not talking about the shape of his girl (pun unintended); he compares the beauty of her with the beauty of gold. He says that she is so beautiful that, a balance designed to weigh human-like fairly large objects will still be too small to accomodate the enormous gold required to compensate for her beauty. Considering the density differences between gold and human, this is a huge claim indeed.. ;), and his girl is such a beauty.

F: முகம் பார்த்துப் பேசும் உன்னை
முதல் காதல் சிந்தும் கண்ணை
அணைக்காமல் போவேனோ ஆருயிரே

How will I not hug you, who looks at my face and talks
and from whose eyes the first love is oozing out?

Women respect and like men who look at their face and talk, bcos a large chunk of the men have been notorious in that aspect. Also, the girl's instant appeal with someone who is giving his heart for the first time to a woman is given importance. Also, this is the first response of the woman after hearing what the man has said. She just reciprocates to his feelins saying that she likes to hug him.

M: ஓ... நிழல் போல விடாமல் உன்னைத் தொடர்வேனடி
புகை போலப் படாமல் பட்டு நகர்வேனடி
வினா நூறு கனாவும் நூறு.. விடை சொல்லடி

I will follow you like (your) shadow; I will touch you delicately and move away from you as how the smoke does. (I have) hundreds of questions, and hundreds of dreams; pl. give (me) an answer.

The desperation of the hero is very much evident from these lines. He is already dreaming of her and a life with her. All he wants is the answer.. Of course he wants 'yes' to be that answer. One can compare this Q&A to the western culture of the woman answering the man 'yes' when he proposes, and during the wedding when she says 'yes, I do!'. 


F: கடல் நீலம் மங்கும் நேரம்

அலை வந்து தீண்டும் தூரம்

மனம் சென்று மூழ்காதோ ஈரத்திலே

When the blueness of the sea dims,
the waves touch the far end (of the shore).
Wont the heart immerse (itself) in the wetness (of love)?

M:தலை சாய்க்கத் தோளும் தந்தாய்
விரல் கோர்த்துப் பக்கம் வந்தாய்
இதழ் மட்டும் இன்னும் ஏன் தூரத்திலே

You gave (me your) shoulder (for me) to put (my) head on..
You came near me holding my hands..
why are your lips still far away?

F:பகல் நேரம் கனாக்கள் கண்டேன் உறங்காமலே
உயிர் ரெண்டு உராயக் கண்டேன் நெருங்காமலே
உனை அன்றி எனக்கு ஏது எதிர்காலமே

I had day-dreams without sleeping
I saw two souls frictioning (against each other), without coming closeby
What is my future without you?
Only in the ultimate line of the charanam, she opens out her heart and gives the real answer that he wants to hear. By saying that there is no future for her without him, all the ambiguities of dating and courting relationship are removed and the love now reaches the mutually agreed state.

Nov 20, 2008

Six is Sexy

Two movies released in this November (Varanam Ayiram) and last november (Om Shanti Om) had one thing in common, in addition to a famous song featuring the name Shanti. The hearthrob hero sports a six-pack abs, creating a 'six-pack sensation' among a lot of young guys in North and South India, unlike what nobody has managed to do so before.

In Bollywood, Sanjay Dutt was the first to own a super-muscular body and later Salman followed; but, due to their frequent removal of shirt, their achievement was in fact ridiculed. Then, Hrithik happened. His biceps and pecs were a craze that time, and he had a disproportionate body shape, with stick-like legs and no hips. John Abraham managed to defeat Hrithik for possessing the perfect body. Saif Ali Khan started bulking up, and even the chocolate-hero Aamir Khan had a superb body in Lagaan, but devoid of the six-pack abs.
The major transition happened with all the leading stars suddenly getting carried away by the abs wave. Shah Rukh always contended that he never used to work out but still maintains a good body. His friend Farah Khan is a clever lady. She knew what women want. So, she made Shah Rukh hit the gym and develop the six-pack, and re-invented his sex-symbol image in 'Dard-e-disco' song. And, according to the latest news, Aamir too has been working very hard in sculpting his whole body for creating a overall well-toned structure.
Tamil heroes were understandably quite slow to catch up on the physique. Kamal, Satyaraj, and Arjun were the only ones with a decent body shape till last decade. The young heroes of this generation aren't quite bad in this sense. Gautam, after winning the women's hearts by creating a beautiful love angle to a cop's story in KK, went one step ahead and asked Surya to develop the six-pack. I must say it has worked; the female crowd in the movie hall here on the first day was substantially higher than usual. Their whistles, comments and gasps upon seeing a dashing Surya were suggestive of the arrival of the new trend.
Due to all the big names in Bollywood and the aspiring stars from Kollywood (Surya, Vishal, et al.) focussing on something which was totally neglected so far, it is obvious that the number of gym-going desi guys will increase. It is bcos, for the first time, they see their significant other admiring a star for the unconventional reasons apart from handsomeness, style or acting skills. The pressure is definitely on, which, I think is a very good thing. Similar to the ways the guys expected the girls to look beautiful and slim like the actresses (Namitha is an exception ;)), the guys are forced to shed the pot-belly, waist-tire and double-chin in order to look appealingly good to their significant other.
Creating a six-pack is the ultimate challenge for any gym-goer. The reasons are two-fold: to burn off all the adamant fat on the belly and to build the abs muscles. All of us have the abdominal muscles which form the 6-pack; only, they are very small, and are hidden underneath the years-old fat. The body likes to store fat at the abdomen region, since that is closest to the digestive track and also a lot of vital organs in the region need to be protected in the absence of a major skeletal shield. So, there are three major steps towards 6-pack: burn off nearly all the fat, so that there is nothing to hide the muscles; strengthen all the muscles above the abdomen, which will lead to more mass and hence more pressure on the abs muscles to support the body above; do the specific work-outs like crunches for attacking the abs muscles.
Each of the above 3 processes is extremely hard and requires an extremely important mix of diet, work-out, and rest. Yours truly's gym visits will substantially release before the release of heroes such as Hrithik, Vikram and Surya; it is almost like a project with a deadline. Only, the deadline will come and go and new deadlines will be formed, without much effort. Even with a waist size of 30, it is very hard for me to make even the top two of the 6-pack visible for a few days. Nevertheless, I view it as an interesting hide-and-seek game between oneself and the body, in the 'fat vs muscl'e competition.
In the very first episode of the Vijay TV show "Kutram: Nadandhadhu enna?", there was the mention of extreme diet, steriod-usage for muscle buildup and injury due to overworking. Hope the young generation is aware of that, during their quest in bodybuilding. Considering the population of Taminadu of over 6 crores in which men at the young adult age group form a minimum of 3 million, only about 0.01% (~300) would be having a good 6-pack... here is wishing that % to substantially increase in the coming years ! :)

Nov 15, 2008

Varanam Ayiram

Story: Life of Surya (Surya), with his dad Krishnan’s (Surya) influence in each phase of his life.

I liked: The performances of all, mostly. Initially, Surya’s falling in love with Meghna (Sameera Reddy) is a little too mushy-mushy; but I think the emotional and romantic males can correlate to Surya’s feelings, and his ways of showing his love. The picturization of most songs was superb, except my fav ‘Nenjukkul’. 

‘Mundhinam’ was superbly done, except for Simran’s appearance. The props used for the song gave the required retro feeling. In ‘Yethi yethi’, Surya appearing in some avatar’s of Kamal’s old movies was good and believable, considering the teenagers’ wish to emulate their icon.

I totally disliked:

Most of the dialog. Though sometimes one can convey a lot by simple phrases like ‘I am in love with u’, or ‘I miss(ed) you’ and like, when it is shown in a movie, we expect a different touch to it when it is repeated. Gautham managed to show the difference in Kamal’s love with the two women in VV quite well, but in 'Vaaranam Ayiram', except for Surya’s exuberance, it lacks the novelty. There is a distinct Mani Ratnam touch in the dialog, which is not wrong by itself; but overdoing it makes us to feel like excommunicating Gautham.

This movie shows us that something we take for granted, like the good dialog, can explicitly show its absence, thus spoiling the script. First of all, the family communicating mostly in English, considering the family’s background, is definitely odd. The only word that sticks to our memory when we come out of the movie is ‘Daddy’; I heard a comment from a nearby woman saying her hubby that she is gonna ban her son from calling him ‘daddy’. Such was the irritation it creates, unfortunately. If it wasn't for tax exemption, Gautham would have surely named the movie 'Daddy'. ;) Gautham’s down-to-earth dialogues in ‘Kakha kakha’ were appreciated that time, since they were fresh; but now, that style is stale; we don’t want extravagant poetical/cinematic dialogues but not of the kind conversed in this movie.

Screenplay. Many times we feel that the movie is simply stagnating; especially Gautham’s ploy of showing Surya’s family and Krishnan’s death at the beginning of the movie badly backfires, since we can easily predict much of the movie. Also, the military scenes appear to be totally unnecessary and don’t blend with the overall mood of the movie. Though Gautham wanted to show an ideal dad through Krishnan, the latter’s approach and solutions to Surya’s problems seem somewhat too simple, and so they don’t get our appreciation. True, in several families, the dad doesn’t show much emotions and love towards his children and Krishnan is quite caring; but, unlike in ‘Thavamai Thavamirundhu’, his character development with his children is not shown, if that was what was supposed to be the crust of the movie. So, it oscillates between Surya’s love and his dad; so, when he dies, we don’t feel for him.

Direction. This is a classic case of talented actors showing superb performances not gelling to a memorable movie due to the lack of the glue which the direction provides. The director has paid great attention to peripheral issues like the appearance of Surya at different stages, Krishnan and Malini (Simran) in 60’s, film-making in different parts of the world, and song picturization; but has miserably failed to weave them all in a beautiful fabric of his 3 departments – screenplay, dialog and direction. If he wants to show a real urban middle-class family, in which of such family is the elder brother happily married with children, when his sister is not married?

His numerous inspirations. Previously, he seemed to copy from his own KK when he made VV and PKMC, but in this movie, lots of scenes remind us of other famous movies. I remembered Lakshya (the story of a confused young man finding his passion in military), Autograph (love failure leading to substance abuse and the dad’s advise to channel the anger into something positive), Life is beautiful (he camouflages a gory situation as a game to a child), and Thavamai Thavamirundhu (mother and an ill father being happy with their son and D-I-L, and the son’s wish to make his dad retire from work and enjoy life).

Gautham likes to show his characters to be the creamy layer. We heard Maya of KK say ‘MSc Maths, from IIT Madras’ evoking laughter in the theater, and now it is ‘Comp Sci from REC Trichy and 99%  score, plus MS from Berkeley’. If Surya’s efforts to find Meghna were lame, his zeroing-in on Prithviraj during the child abduction in a city like Delhi, that too within days, is too much stretching of imagination.

Initially when I heard the rumors that it would be a remake of ‘Forrest Gump’, I didn’t like the idea; but now I feel that  it would have been far better if it was a remake.

Nov 2, 2008

Why blog?

In the post on the 'Demography of Bloggers', someone had asked why people open out their minds to total strangers. It is a very interesting question, and it gave me a chance to open up to you all a little more about what I think about blogging. There are hundreds of articles that have talked about the advantages of blogging; here, I am writing about my personal view and what I have learnt from my fellow blogger friends.

First, plz read a recent article on how blogging is good for one's health. :)

I usually get a lot of thoughts and opinion about the things that have interested me, but couldnt always find the right friends with whom to share them all. After coming to US, the interaction with fellow like-minded Indians reduced even more drastically. Within less than a year of landing here, I came across blogging, and it immediately appealed to me, since it provided my own platform to pen my views, and have a discussion going. Also, from my childhood, I have always liked to write (and talk) a lot too.. ;)

When someone starts blogging, he/she knows few or hardly any friends who also blog. By commenting in others' blogs, and also receiving comments in one's posts, people slowly open up their mind on various topics. As I mentioned in the earlier post, some prefer to be anonymous, simply because they dont know what to expect in this new and unclear world; there is no way to judge a person purely from his/her posts; and so on. Still, most open out their minds to the strangers, because with some, they find better connectivity than with fellow bloggers than with their spouses/siblings/parents/friends. Also, when one can't share some issues with the people surrounding them, they tend to look out for doing so with somebody; through blogs, they find some people with whom they can share, and that makes them feel better.

I have heard some comparisons between blogging and online chatting in chat rooms. Though the commonality between them is in the introduction to strangers in the cyberspace, blogging is far more reliable, for, it helps understand the stranger in a better way, from his/her postings and responses to comments, and also from the comments in others' blogs. As I wrote in the previous post, reading someone's posts for a considerable time (which would vary, depending on if and how that person is circumventing from his/her original personality in the posts and comments) would help map the personality of someone to a considerable extent.

This bring to the important question of whether bloggers reveal their true traits, or hide it to deceive others. This arises due to the presence of such characters in the internet chat rooms, where even the gender of the person can be doubted unless a verbal communication is setup. So far, I havent felt such a deception in the blogworld. Well, everyone has secrets, and a considerable chunk of the population has another side that is hardly known even to the spouse; so, in that same scale, certain characteristics of the bloggers, due to self-imposed constraints or whatever, may not be known.

Thus, having deciphered the personality map of some bloggers, people decide about how much of their mind to share with a particular blogger. I have written some stories on "Blogger Love", which, I felt, and still feel, would be more meaningful and sensible than 'Chatroom love'. I am not suggesting or recommending anything, but such is the power of the blogging that I have felt so far, which has made me to remark so. Blogs are almost like mirrors, reflecting one's personality. It is because I believe that 'one can fool someone for sometime, but not all the time'. Add one more famous saying 'Man is a social animal', and it will become clear that, when a new vista of social interaction arrives, it is embraced quite cheerfully, thus helping further shrink the world.