Jun 28, 2009

Naan Kadavul. Nee Paithiyam.

A friend of mine labels movies categorically. Some are Soora padam ( சூற படம்). Eg. Baba, Azhagiya Thamizh Magan, Yaaradi Nee Mohini etc. Some are Psycho padam. Eg. Thamizh MA, 7G Rainbow Colony etc. Though I don't always agree with his classification, I think Naan Kadavul easily fits into both.

I wanted to see this movie even before it was released. But ever since it released I have been putting off watching it for some reason or the other. Finally today the wait ended.

I really have no idea what the movie is all about. Here is how i think the movie was conceptualized. I think Bala somewhere read that there are people called Agori Sadhus in Kasi who eat dead people, smoke Ganja, shout expletives and relieve people from rebirth and bless them to moksha. Ok, now all he had to do was make it into a movie. Throw in some visually excruciating disbled people who will rip the hearts out of the audience. Show suffering and have the Agori end their suffering.

But wait. Agoris live in North India so how to make movie for Tamil audience as you can't have a horde of beggars and other people talk in Tamil at Kasi. So let's give the Agori a father who banished his son to Kasi for 14 years of vana vaasam and once the son graduates and becomes a fully qualified Agori, have the father bring him back to their native village. Add some tearjerker scenes whenever possible. Then, this Agori settles on a temple atop a hill where the beggars frequent. The parents cease to be a part of the script now. Focus on the cruelties meted out to one blind, female beggar. Let her sing some songs (because I have seen blind beggars sing songs in trains). The interesting directorial touch is that the girl sings many old movie songs. But everytime the actual song from the movie is played in the background and acts as a voiceover for the girl's lip movements with all the musical accompaniments. Then we introduce a lighter moment where the inspectors harass some koothadis who dressup as MGR, Sivaji and Rajini (in surprisingly good costumes) in the police station. Then ofcourse, the girl is sold to a villain. The girl seeks asylum under the Agori's feet who attacks the attackers. The Agori is arrested and remanded to 5 day custody by an excuse of a judge. During the 5 days, the police patiently accompany the Agori to rivers, hills and funeral pyres as they have been instructed to take good care of him. Meanwhile, the angered villain-in-chief tortures the blind girl to near death and disfigures her face which is revoltingly shown to the audience. Then he attacks the Agori who promtply kills him. The one line about Agoris I mentioned at previously about Agoris having powers to grant moksha forms the climax. The blind girl talks too much about life's cruelties, God's inequality in creation etc and pleads the Agori to relieve her of this tortured life. The Agori accedes and slits her throat and blesses her thus freeing her from rebirth.

No points made and none taken.


Jun 27, 2009

The Greatest Performer. Ever!

If there ever was a person who could unite and divide opinions globally, it was Michael Jackson. He was adored. He was chastised. He was worshiped. He was scorned. He was idolized. And he was humiliated. If you remember him for the music and songs he probably he is the greatest ever to have transcended the global music industry. If you take into account the idiosyncrasies, one would know that after all he is a human too.

When I was in school, I had never listened to an English song. In fact I had never listened to a song in any language other than Tamil. We did not have cable TV then. One fine day, DD Metro decided to start showing a piece of program from MTV during prime time on weekdays (between 4 to 6PM or something). I started seeing it more out of curiosity than any real fascination. But one day there was this musical video of MJ called the Moonwalker. I watched the entire video which ran for 2 hours or so and I was totally spellbound. The music, the beats, the movements, the hype and the aura. It was magical. It was no surprise that I got hooked to the songs of MJ. When I discovered that my dad, who never listened to music after the days of Amitabh Bachaan's Qurbani, had a cassette of Thriller I was euphoric. I listened to the tape on our Sony Walkman in repeat mode for hours together.

When I first heard about accusations of MJ as being anything from being a child molester to a lunatic, I was furious. I was of the strong belief that such a genius could never be wrong. I mean, if you were sane enough to sit and creatively produce such masterpieces you can't be that crazy. But apparently, the fame, the money, the fan following and the frenzied media attention did jangle his nerves. What happened really is anybody's guess. His transfiguration and skin color change were a big source of confusion. I had a friend in school who was a maniac MJ fan and we spent hours discussing MJ's songs, his life etc.

Though its really hard to choose from the list, my all time favorites are Smooth Criminal, Billie Jean, Who is it, Heal the World, Thriller, Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, Human Nature, Stranger in Moscow and of course Beat it.

The lines from his song Who Is It kind of summarises his life and the pain he underwent:
I am the damned
I am the dead
I am the agony inside
The dying head
This is injustice
Woe unto thee
I pray this punishment
Would have mercy on me

I really hoped his forthcoming tour would finally help him get rid of his huge financial debts and even if it does not resurrect his career, atleast let him live in peace after that devoid of controversies. But with him you cannot predict anything and take for granted. The King of Pop always surprised people and he pulled off the ultimate one now.

May his soul rest in peace, in death. Michael Jackson's image of doing the Moonwalk would be frozen in the annals of history and would never age. Just like the characters from Neverland that he always wanted to be.


Jun 25, 2009

Uugh. Yuck. Uaack. Naai. Punaaku Mandayan.


Jun 24, 2009

The Conscience

He was very bugged. Embarking on a marathon flight journey to a place across the world always depressed him. More so as he is leaving behind everything he loved. And missed.

The flights made it worse. Having to squeeze into the seats and sit with his knees pushing against the row in front for 8 hours on the trot was not a pleasing prospect. So with a sullen face he walked to his seat, trying not to bang his carry-on luggage against any seated passengers and those who refuse to seat themselves even after stowing their baggage in the compartments overhead and checking them for the 100th time to ensure it does not fall out during the flight. At least, he had the foresight to reserve a seat in the row that was next to the emergency exit. These seats have no immediate row in front of them and allow the passenger to stretch their legs or to dance a jig as they deem appropriate. He didn’t get the window seat this time as he didn’t want to behold the melancholic sight of the aircraft taking off, leaving his home behind; and the bright lights of the city at 1AM always seemed to radiate towards him in the misty cold night as if beckoning him to return.

It was to his consternation that he found an elderly man ensconced on what was supposed to be his seat. Next to the old man was an equally old woman who was apparently the wife. He tells the man that he is on his seat. The couple, who appeared to be in their late seventies if not into eighties, had the appearance of belonging to a lower middle class family ailing from a small town. The old man replied with a mix of badly broken English and Telugu and couldn’t speak coherently because of age induced frailty. The woman who appeared to know nothing in English decided to keep quiet with a smug face. He called the Stewardess. The German lady spoke a smattering of English. But this was enough for her to get the information across to him aided by her animated gestures. It seemed that the elderly couple had got seats away from each other and so the elderly guy moved in to the seat next to the wife’s, which should have been his. So now he had to move to a seat in the row behind. The Stewardess asked him to tell the elderly man to move to his actual seat, since he is an Indian and so he should be able to speak Indian. After, several attempts he convinced the Stewardess of his inability to do so; primarily since there is no language by that name and also because the elderly man spoke only Telugu. So he resorted to talking to the elderly man in what little Telugu he knew. After several minutes and numerous attempts in communication, he realized that the flight doors were closed and it was ready for take-off. So he resigned to fate and took the window seat in the next row.

He has never slept properly in a flight and this time was no exception. He was awake most of the time and could see the elderly couple in front of him. They had difficulties when the Stewardess came with food plates. Neither could comprehend what the other was saying. A couple in their early thirties were next to him. But except for the time the meals came, they were fast asleep leaning on each other and did not bother to help the elderly couple out. Even when they were awake they were mainly preoccupied with whispering in each other’s ears. So, each time the Stewardess looked at him when she wanted ‘translation’ of what the elderly man was saying.

He was wondering how they are going to fill out all the Immigration forms. And like he feared, the moment they were handed out, the elderly man turned back in his seat to face him and asked for help. So he tried to reply in Telugu. The elderly man understood the problem and said he knows Tamil a bit. Not much, but still better than English. So he tried explaining to the man in Tamil. In the end, he decided he would fill out the forms for them. As he was doing so, the man was explaining that they were coming to see their son in US. Their son was working there and has not come to India for few years because of work. So he invited them to come and here they were.

He cursed their son for letting his aged parents take on such a long and complicated trip without a proper companion. At least he could have explained to them what to do at various point of the travel –changing flights, immigration forms etc. But they were aware of nothing. He explained it to them from scratch. He was angry on how some one could leave such old people to find out for themselves. So as he was cursing the son and filling the forms, the old man told that he was a farmer in Andhra and somehow managed to educate his son who found a job in US.

The flight landed. There was a long queue at the Immigration counter. He tried to patiently explain to the couple as much as possible about the process. The lines were moving slowly. He was standing for more than half hour and was getting fidgety. Suddenly some new counters were open and there was a mad scrambling for them and all lines got broken. When normalcy was restored, he realized that the couple was far behind in another queue. He was confused. Already he was late. Should he go back to where they were standing? But there were so many Indians behind him. Surely, some one would help them when the couple’s turn comes. Even as he was thinking he saw a woman travelling alone who spoke only Telugu. The Immigration officer asked people in the line for help and some one who spoke Telugu helped the lady. He was sure the couple would get some similar help. Some one will. So he went ahead with his Immigration. All the while casting furtive looks at the couple who were completely unaware of what was going on at the counters. He went ahead, collected his bags and rolled them away in the trolley. The guy who was supposed to pick him up would already be waiting for him. Surely, some one would help them. He was exiting the hall and he turned around to take a last look. They were almost last in the lines. Not many people in front of them either. There was an Indian in another line. And another who was doing the Immigration interview and would be done soon. He turned around the corner quickly not to let the sight bother him. Somehow it did. It was the fault of the son, he reasoned to himself. The son is an idiot. Let him come running. He must be here to pick them already. So if there was a problem he should be able to assist them.

Somehow it still bothers him.


Jun 21, 2009

Oh Dear Lord! Pardon thy son, who in a moment of weakness, committed the ultimate sin of enjoying Afridi's bowling in the T20 WC final.

Meanwhile, the television commentators were profuse in their praise of the Pakistani team's performance and how this would lift the spirit of the countrymen. Now that your flagging spirits have been restored, please arise and cross the border with renewed vigor.

I had many conversations with my friends about the Pakistani team and one of the popular opinion was that their team has so many bad asses, who would have quite easily become a terrorist (such as the great cricketer mentioned in the 1st para) if not for the fact that they fortuitously learned to play cricket. We used to say that out of frustrations and hatred. But it seems, that apparently is the truth according to the admission by none other than the team's captain. QED.


Jun 15, 2009

I have a mic and I can say whatever I want

Finally and predictably the Dhoni luck has run out. And ostensibly the media are having a field day (actually it began even before the World Cup started as they cited differences between Sehwag & Dhoni).

Now, I am a great fan of Dhoni. He is charismatic and intelligent. But people seem to assume that Dhoni can make no mistake to the extent that the distinction between luck and strategy have blurred. I am not saying he is a messiah like some nincompoop. But he really is the best player India has produced in a decade. Finally, some one who exceeded the expectations. Can some one count the number of promising talents India had in the last decade and end up with a list of players who lived upto it? We had numerous players oozing talent but struggled to make it to the big level. Even Yuvraj is still a suspect at the Test level. But this guy who started off as a trigger happy swinger of the bat has metamorphosed into a level headed captain. It is not just a luck thing but mainly because he is intelligent.

The IPL drained everyone. It drained the players and the viewers. The only thing it filled was Lalit Modi's pockets. You didn't have to be a Nostradamus to predict that Gambir was not in form going into the T20 WC. He was struggling in IPL. I can't even remember Sehwag playing a proper innings in IPL because of the injury he sustained during the event. Now that the team for the pointless 4ODI series in West Indies has been picked, you can find that half the team is injured and dropped. And none of these injuries were sustained in the T20 WC which implies that they were the baggages from IPL. I don't know how else a team that is mentally drained and physical exhausted could perform even if loaded with the best in business.

Now coming to my favorite punch bag. Under the pretense of disseminating the true(?) information, the media, especially the 24 hours channels have become quite a nuisance. Most of the arai vekaadu reporters who speak with such self-conviction would miserably fail if asked to take up a simple GRE's analytical writing section. In fact, I am of the opinion that news channels should be stripped of their rights to telecast news throughout the day but that is another topic. If I was the guy behind this reporter I would have gone on a mad rampage like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Idiots. Look at the conviction with which he talks! As if he is some Lord Labakudass. He accuses Dhoni of beind cocky, insecure, arrogant and warns him to face the fire for his treatment of the media and is raising questions of national importance such as if BCCI would let him go scotfree because of the criminal sins he has commited. Dei naaye, the next time India wins a tournament you will be praising of Dhoni and his calmness and his captaincy. vekkame ilaya?

Yes he made mistakes. Yes he is not in form. But please don't pull down the most versatile player India has because of your buffoonery.


Jun 5, 2009


Another item checked in the 'List of things to do before dying'. Yanni gave a concert in the Motor City as a part of a series of concerts across US and I sure didn't miss it. Not in a lifetime!

This concert is different from his previous ones. He is trying out a new concept called The Voices. He has identified and trained 4 young singers who sing along for some of his popular pieces. I must say I am not a great fan of this new thing because the beauty of his works were the story told by each instrument that shapes the mood he wanted to convey. When the main music is replaced by a voice, I felt, the effect is not quite comparable. But the four singers: Nathan Pacheco, Ender Thomas, Chloe and Leslie Mills, I should admit are terrific. Nathan and Leslie Mills are a bit of tradionalists in their singing. Nathan is inclined more towards a operatic kind of singing while Leslie's songs are mostly soft and mellifluous. Chloe and Ender are the party animals. They swing, dance and do wild stuff. Chloe is not only beautiful but also has a voice whose depth and throw is remarkable; especially for some one so young.

Yanni started off with Santorini which was first performed by him at Greece. He stuck to the original musical version. After this came the new 'voices' pieces. Though I liked them it didn't quite give the goosebumps I get even while seeing his concert videos. For some of the pieces, they unrolled a translucent screen in front of the stage and projected a video on it. It was surreal to see the artists perform in the backdrop with a video in front of them. It looked spectacular.

Yanni wrapped up the show with his standard finishing piece, 'Niki Nana: We are one'. But the audience weren't done with him yet. Everyone shouted for one more piece. So he presented his amazing creation, 'Standing in Motion', which again he performed at the Acropolis in Greece. It was so mindblowing that it only further increased the adrenaline of the audience who shouted for more. Yanni who had gone backstage by then came out again and this time he played one of my all time favourite song 'Nostalgia'. It was the best! I was actually praying for some time that he would perform this. The piece requires a tremendous performance in piano. When he was finished it, he got a long standing ovation but some people still weren't content. They chanted in unison for another piece. Yanni was thrilled and asked us 'Aren't you people planning to go home tonight?'. But he packed the powerpunch for the last bit and gave us the whirlwind of a song, 'The Storm'. With that he took the final bow.

What a night. A true genius indeed! I came home with the desire of 10 years finally fulfilled.


Jun 3, 2009

அடங்கொக்கா மொக்கா! இதுக்கு அடுத்து, முதல் குழந்தைக்கு தங்க செயின், அடுத்த குழந்தைக்கு தங்கமோதிரமும் கொடுப்பாங்க போல இருக்கே!! பொறக்காத குழந்தைய வெச்சு ஊழல் பண்ணிடலாம் டோய்!!
தேர்தலில் கறக்க முடியாதத இதுல கறந்துடபோறேன்!


Jun 1, 2009

How the Goliath filed its way to Manhattan.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP