Jan 31, 2009


Veteran Actor Nagesh passed away today. I purposely avoid referring to him as a comedian. The variety of characters he has portrayed along with the multitude of emotions he had to display is probably unmatched by anyone. Even Sivaji can be accused of 'overacting'. But not Nagesh. From the most famous role of a poor poet in Thiruvilayaadal (which catapulted him to an iconic status even overshadowing Sivaji in that movie) to that of a loving brother in Major Chandrakanth and a villain in Aboorva Sagodharargal, he has surely left no routes unexplored. Bama Vijayam, Neer Kumizhi, Edhir Neechal are some of my personal favourites. And the evergreen scene from Kaadhalika Neramilai. I can keep on adding. And just when everybody thought Nagesh's days are long past, he bounced back and acted in what is probably one of his all time funniest roles ever - as Avinashi in Michael Madana Kama Rajan. While Vadivelu and Vivek have been accused of getting monotonous and boring, no such accusations can be made against Nagesh. And I think Nagesh was the only remaining artist from that Golden era of Tamil Cinema.MGR, Sivaji, Gemini Ganesan, Muthuraman, Ravichandran, TS Balaiya, V.K. Ramasamy, etc. (Yes, SS Rajendran is still alive and Siva Kumar was in a pseudo generation sandwiched between the likes of these actors and the era of Rajini and Kamal). Here is to a great actor and an entertainer who will be an iconic inspiration for generations.


Jan 28, 2009

Chennai's new flavor

MTC no longer runs just two route variants: the White board and the yellow board. All white boards seem to have been converted to a mofussil status with a prefix of M. Then the Yellow board buses. Now above these two, we have the Deluxe buses with low floors (with the name தாழ்தள சொகுசு பேருந்து pasted on it) and buses with automatic doors(தானியங்கி கதவுகள்). But above all these are the A/C buses.
Whenever possible I take this 'தாழ்தள, தானியங்கி கதவுகள் மற்றும் குளிர் சாதனம் பொருந்திய சொகுசு பேருந்து' in Chennai. The ticket only costs about Rupees 20. Nowadays, these buses have increased frequencies of operation too. Apparently, MTC is all out to woo the people to ride in this bus which has a chauffer-like-uniformed driver, a music system hooked to cd player etc. And the high quality glass windows of this Volvo bus seems to be advertisement friendly too. But I wonder what the average Chennaiite thinks about 'this new flavor'......
P.S.: Click on the image to get the full 'picture' of what I am saying.


Jan 25, 2009

The 'Cultural' Difference

Anil Kapoor has literally done the unthinkable. He did something which probably no Indian can be accused of doing since 1947. Grovelling the feet of a white man. But racism apart, Anil Kapoor's act of reaching for the feet of Sir Anthony Hopkins to seek his blessings after the latter had the 'privelege' of announcing the Best Cast award to Slumdog Millionaire was hilarious (to say the least). But I am not going to wallow in fun. After all, people in India will argue that he did nothing wrong. Seeking blessings from an elder person is a part of Indian culture. Our Indian culture has many such practises, as this Gentleman would probably explain to you. " Ricky Ponting is a great Captain and our Indian culture is to kiss him" said the Mahatma revealing the underlying tenets of our culture. Similarly, Anil Kapoor would be excused for touching the feet of an elderly person. Of course, some Americans might argue that in the land of Lincoln no man shall fall at the feet of another. There might be a case filed against Anil Kapoor for violating the culture of US, just like the cases filed against Richard Gere by all self-righteous Indians. After all its not just India that has a violable culture.
Unfortunately, this would prompt Richard Gere to argue that he was practising the American culture of kissing in India with Shilpa Shetty even while our Gentleman was demonstrating the Indian culture of kissing all great captains. Its a very complex setup - the intermixing of values from different cultures.
The end line, fellow beings, is that as the world keeps shrinking we will witness more such acts of cultural violations and exhibitions depending on which side you are.


Jan 23, 2009

I hate peanut butter. Especially when they are used to 'adulterate' chocolates and ice cream. Hate the very sight of those yellow wrappers.


A very good write-up on AR Rahman


Jan 22, 2009


The Oscar nominations for 2009 have come and Rahman has stolen the Lion's share of it. Two of his pieces (O Saya and Jai Ho) have been nominated for Best Original Song along with Wall-E and he has a third nomination for the category of Best Original Score. He is sure to win the Oscar for the former while he is a strong favorite for the Score. People have been talking a lot if Rahman is or is not of 'International Standard' and this should comprehensively answer (silence) them. And he truly deserves it.

He has already started to receive offers from Hollywood. Hope his contributions to Tamil films dont drop drastically. But its also time that he sets forth beyond the confines of 6-songs-per-movie package. Probably, musical albums would give him the artistic freedom he desires and requires to realize the full potential of his abilities instead of creating music for the Directors requirement. Advanced congrats to the Genius as Chennai and India get set to begin celebrating.\

P.S: I dont really care about the movie. All bollywood based movies are trash without prejudice.


Jan 19, 2009

வந்துட்டான்யா, வந்துட்டான்யா...

பய புள்ள நாளைக்கு வேலைக்கு சேரறான். பொருளாதர சரிவுனு சொல்லிண்டு, துவக்க விழாவுக்கு 147 மில்லியன் செலவாம். சுத்தமா அடவே இல்ல.இது போதாதுன்னு ஆப்ரகாம் லிங்கன் வழிலயே போவேன்னு அந்த ஆளு உபயோகிச்ச பைபிள் ஓட நிறுத்திக்காம, ஒரு முழு ட்ரைன் வாடகைக்கு எடுத்து தலைநகரமான வாஷிங்டன் வரை வந்துர்கான்.என்னதான் நன்கொடை பணமாக இருந்தாலும், இந்த செலவு அவசியமா? அதுவும் இந்த சூழ்நிலைல? இதை யாரும் கேக்குற மாறி தெரிலையே? நெறைய பில்ட்-அப்பு கொடுத்து வரான். நாலு வருஷத்துல என்ன பண்றான்னு பாப்போம்.


Jan 15, 2009

Finally, some clarity in thought...

It is highly amazing that a dignitary from a nation that was in cahoots with the US on the alleged 'War on terror' could have such clarity of thought. Even more amazing is the fact that he has openly come out with such clear headed statements.
The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said that phrase 'War on terror' was misleading. Furthermore, he adds that 'terrorism was not invented or started on 9/11. But since then the notion of a “war on terror” has defined the terrain.'
Here is another excerpt from his statements: The call for a “war on terror” was a call to arms, an attempt to build solidarity by portraying a fight against a single shared enemy.....the foundation for solidarity between people and nations should be based on the values they shared instead of who they are against. The notion of a war on terror gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama Bin Laden and the organisation of Al-Qaeda. In fact, as India has long known, the forces of violent extremism remain diverse. Terrorism is a deadly tactic, not an institution or an ideology.
It always feels good to say 'I told you so'.


Jan 11, 2009

Why O Why?

I truly am happy for AR Rahman, now that he has won some international acclaim with the Golden Globe award for his scores for the movie Slumdog Millionaire. I had full goosebumps when he remembered to mention Chennai for his success. But surely, this was a mediocre work by his own standards compared to some of the magic he had conjured in Roja, Rangeela, Indian, etc. That brings us to my first what IF of the day. What if Rahman had scored some of these pieces earlier for a movie produced by one of those powerhouses from California? We will never know....

Anyways, now the enitre Indian media is bound to trip over itself while running to be the first to interview all kinds of people from the ones going on suburban trains to big time corporate hunks on how they feel about this new honor bestowed upon an Indian. Breathless reports by Burkha Dutt would logically ensue while she 'fittingly' stands amidst the crowds of Mumbai and talk about how this has brought immense joy to the much maligned Mumbaikar. And Pratibha Patel has to congratulate Rahman which would be followed probably by Manmohan Singh hosting a luncheon with him. More madness...

All these reminds me of an interview in some TV channel with Kamal Hassan. Kamal was asked if he had ambitions to win an Oscar in his life. I paraphrase Kamal's reply: 'Why should Oscar be the ultimate award which Tamil or Indian cinema seek? Oscar awards are given by the American film industry to films made in America. Why cant we raise our cinemas to a level where it is recognized globally and appreciated. Then we can have great pride in receiving a National award or a state award for our efforts and still have the same satisfaction of getting an Oscar'.
Need I say more? These lines concisely state everything that I would want to say after the melee that is going to ensue in India.

On another note, Heath ledger has won the Best supporting award for his performance in The Dark Knight. Which brings me to the 2nd big IF of the day. What if he had survived that fateful day and made more movies, especially a sequel to the Dark Knight?


Jan 10, 2009

I hate Detroit. Its always snowing here. And when it doesn't snow, it rains.


Jan 9, 2009

The Evidence

India has submitted a dossier to Pakistan that includes evidence of Pakistani nationals' (or non-state actors as Zardari puts it) involvement in the 'latest episode' of terrorist attacks on Mumbai. I am yet to read the full text as it has content for about 69 pages, but I am sure it will have lots of interesting information which the (Indian) media would have deliberately not brought to its viewers' & readers' attention for the lack of sensationalism in it.

Meanwhile, the Indian Govt miserably failed to capitalize on a classic PR opportunity. Had the US Govt released any such dossier (Though it never needs to convince anybody on anything. If nations dont listen they are sanctimoniously invaded) it would have had a nice thesis-like topic that would say something like "Results of the Investigative probe on terrorist attacks on Mumbai abetted by Pakistan - A CIA report". This would probably preceded by a sheet that had multiple Government seals and symbols on it. Even our Captain Vijayakanth would have come up with this idea. I wonder if there were any such pages in the original document but which were edited from the release that was publicized.

Anyway, I am not going to comment on how probably the PMO ordered a local Thaluk office to type the dossier. I could not find any other explanation for the text to be printed on a semi transperent, low quality paper and subsequently given to Star or Student Xerox for a spiral binding.


Jan 8, 2009

Satyam? Not exactly..

The last few days had Ramalinga Raju pull the veil before Satyam sending the entire market into chaos. It is a scam of unbelievable proportions. Especially in an industry touted to have brought unprecedented corporate governance to the Indian market. Now that Infosys has distanced itself from Satyam thereby quelling any hopes of a takeover or rumours of a combined operation with the other IT giants, Satyam is on the brink of total collapse (if it has not already).
Here is the full text of Raju's letter to the Board.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers were the auditors for Satyam and only God knows what they were auditing while earning those big bucks. Surely, this is going to be only the tip of the iceberg. Raju's claims of nobody knowing about this account imbalance seems too far-fetched because aChairman and MD would not be the only people who verify the balance sheets of such a huge organization. As start pouring in, this would surely turn into a huge mess as the concerned more people from Satyam and Pricewaterhouse to SEBI would be held accountable for allowing this to happen.

Raju has stated that it started with small accounting imbalances and over the years perpetuated into gargantuan proportions. Whether this was an act done with criminal negligence or with an intent to dupe the investors only time will tell. But one thing is for sure. The Indian IT industry will never be the same again.


Jan 6, 2009

I was in Chennai in December and one of the days in the last week had the temperature drop to 18.4C (65 F) and was said to be the lowest in 10 years. Though nothing new, atleast I had the evil pleasure of saying this to everyone in US who enquired about my holidays.


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