Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year - 2008

Wishing all readers a Very Happy New Year 2008 - Hope you guys have a blast.

My pick of Movies this year

1. Chennai 600028
2. Paruthiveeran
3. Mozhi
4. Polladhavan
5. Billa
6. Sivaji (makes it only bcoz of Superstar)
7. Katradhu Thamizh
8. Kalloori
9. Evano Oruvan
10. Periyar

The films are in no particular order... the number is just to keep track of 10....

Best Songs:

1. Vaaji Vaaji

2. Athiradee

3. Jalsa Pannunganda

4. Saroja Saaman Nikalo

5. Kaatrin Mozhi

6. My Name is Billa

7. Engeyum Eppodhum

8. Madhuraaikku Pogadhadi

9. VIzhiyil Un Vizhiyil

10. Unnale Unnale - June Pona and Unnale Unnale

Again, the order doesn't signify anything.

Super Scenes/Visuals

To be updated later....

Have a great new year, once more.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Billa - Review - Packaging does matter

Finally caught up with the new Billa last week.

My 2 cents:
1. Cast

a. Ajit

Acting in a role of Rajni Kanth really requires some guts and to give Ajit his due, he hasn't tried to imitate Rajni either in mannerisms or dialogs or anything. Ajit pulls off the don role with ease, as predominantly requires him to maintain a detached attached look and in the role of Velu has tried some comedy which are mostly of the slapstick kinds - he is not majorly successful in this and it is majorly because of bad dialogs. The action scenes show Ajit in full flow and the car chase scene - I think it is one of the more realistic car chases I have seen in tamizh cinema - no dupes and the director has really used Ajit's racing background very well. Along with Nirav Shah, Ajit remains a pillar for this movie clicking with the audience. But looks-wise, Ajit needs to shed weight - he looked trim and fit in Kireedom and has to go back to that mode. His paunch really looks bad in the second half - I have seen his interview in Sify regarding his weight, but my take on actors is that they have to keep their looks intact as their livelihood depends on their looks and their talent.

b. Prabu
Has tried a difference character role - and has succeeded mostly. But in certain places, shows wrong face reactions - which leaves the audience confused. His role is developed better than the one for Balaji in the original

c. Nayantara
Looks like a dream and has really taken risks and performed stunts pretty well. Is a huge huge improvement on the obese Sripriya in the original.

d. Namitha
Totally unwanted and has been included only for some B- or C- Class audience. Pathetic.

Direction - Screenplay - Dialogs

Vishnu Varadan has done the same mistake that Shankar did in Sivaji. While concentrating on making the film a visual masterpiece, he has lost some points on the screenplay and dialogs section. The english bits of dialogs are good, much better than the bits used by Gautam Menon in his films. But VV has to be given due credit for completely reworking the film and for me, who has watched the old Billa atleast 10 times, I wasn't able to see any resemblance to the old film's scenes. But the only bad thing was VV has failed to create more twists and turns and so, the film is pretty predictable, especially in the 2nd half.


Nirav Shah, take a bow - you, along with Ajit make this a super duper viewing experience. The action scenes rock and I won't be surprised if he gets a National Award soon.


YSR has scored well with My Name is Billa and Vethalaya Potendi and Seval Kodi and has majorly screwed up with the other 2 songs. The BGM, though more than makes up for the songs with a pulsating bit. To listen to it, see the esnips widget below

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA


Sreekar Prasad has made sure, the film is crisp and there are no jarring cuts and continuity shifts.


Anu Varadan - You've really made everybody look ravishing in this movie - and easily she walks away with the years best costume designer award for 2007.

On the whole, the movie is a definite one-time watch - just for Nirav Shah and Ajit - they have given their heart out for this movie. And defintely, this movie does give a new direction for commercial tamil cinema - with technical finesse apparent in every frame.

Verdict - 3.5/5

Monday, December 24, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War - A review

If you don't like Tom Hanks - Avoid this film.

If you like Tom Hanks - Don't go near this movie.

Pathetic. A 2 line story stretched over 2 hours, stretching your patience as well.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Evano Oruvan - A review

The initial stills evoked interest. They hinted at something different and daring. And Madhavan is one of my favs. And this review - boy, did it evoke interest? I got to see the movie on an online pirated streaming version - well, I'm pretty ashamed for that, but come on, this movie didn't release in this godforsaken city on the west coast of the east coast.

Onto the story - nothing new in that - One man rising against the widespread corruption/apathy towards virtues. Indian, Anniyan, Citizen, Mudalvan and a zillion other movies have had the same base story - what differentiates EO is the protagonist. You don't have exaggerated fight sequences where the "hero" dons 10 getups or flies 25 feet to deliver a kick to 3 men joined together using ninja or some such crap. You don't have unbelievable "akramam" happening. Mostly, everything - the cause (akramam) and the effect (Madhavan's reaction) are believable and not exaggerated. The story actually scores heavily in the manner it shows Madhavan becoming a violent man and his subsequent agony - especially the scene where Madhavan talks to God, you feel his anguish pretty well. The climax particularly would surely touch a chord with one and all, who love good cinema.


Madhavan has come up with a good performance, reminding us of Anbe Sivam, Ayidha Ezhuthu days. Sangeetha, though appearing on-screen for a few minutes, has proved Pithamagan was no flash-in-the-pan. Seeman, again, is doused with reality (edhartham) and doesn't have the usual affected (midukku) mannerisms/physical personality as do Tamizh Cinema cops. Others in the cast are effective and efficient - nothing more - nothing less. Only sore point is the Councillor who overdoes on both dialog front and acting front.


Kamath has put in a good effort and has largely, delivered. The drug ring scotching was very cinematic, compared to the rest of the sequences. The opening sequence was top class and he has made the viewer understand the boredom/routine-ness of Madhavan's life. A very rare attempt, almost at par with Memento. It shows that Kamath has worked with the confidence of reworking/remaking his own successful script.


Very good frame composition with excellent close up shots - the camera-work was devoid of unwanted shakes/effects whenever Madhavan goes into a frenzy which was welcome from the usual jig the camera does whenever the hero goes hyper in many films.

Music and BGM:

Compared to Dir, cast and DoP, BGM is not as effective - with silence dominating in many scenes. The song at the end credits is also not anything to write home about. On the other hand though, the silence works in most of the scenes in connecting to the thoughts of the actors on screen.


Editing, majorly is good - a few scenes could have been cut/trimmed, especially in the second half.


Madhavan has penned the dialogs and has acquitted himself well for a debudant - but at certain places, the intended punch doesn't come through - especially in the talk-to-the-god scene and the place where the old woman chastises Madhavan at the hospital.


The movie is one of those rare attempts at good and meaningful cinema, but could have better - mainly due to the deja vu from previous masala vigilante movies and partly because of toned down dialogues / underplayed scenes.

Stars - 4/5

0 - Horrible/Pathetic
1 - Bad
2 - Okay
3 - Good
4 - Excellent
5 - Amazing

Coming up: Reviews for Kalloori, Billa and Katradhu Tamizh.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Azhagiya Tamizh Magan = Azhugiya Kandraavi

First things first. For those of you who are "Vijay Rasigargal", please don't read further. Logic and Common sense aren't things for you, going by your star's latest venture.

1. For some one who says he makes movies for family audience, especially kids (with montage shots with kids in every movie), why the heck do you need Shakila in the movie? And do kids necessarily need to see a water drenched Namitha, wearing something which is for a girl half her size? "Dr." Vijay, please, for godsake, don't ever say you make clean films. Starting from you putting soap for Srividya, to making jokes about Shakila, you cater to C - grade audience. Period!

2. A guy who is advised by doctors not to travel from Mumbai to Chennai, can fight heavy duty, but can't run a short sprint?? WTF??? Does Vijay think people who see his movies are those with no IQ or intelligence? Gaping logic holes the size of Namitha are everywhere in the movie.

3. When will Dr. Vijays movie get out of the manja-pachcha colors of Ramarajan? Yellow shirt and Green trousers are okay, but Yellow colored staircase?? God Save Tamizh Makkal.

Okays - let me stop haranguing Vijay - onto the movie - or whatever you can call it.....

The story is liberally inspired majorly by previous double action movies, most notably Attagaasam. Attagaasam was by no means a good movie and when someone gets inspired from that, you know you are in for a pathetic movie and thats what you feel, at the end of the 2 and half hour nonsense called ATM.

Guru(Vijay) is a do-gooder on the lines of MGR in 1960s and shows you liberal doses of his sentiments - be it on kids, mother, father, next door dog... whatever. Abinaya (shriya) is the typical tamizh film heroine - zilch common sense, mouthing cho-chweet kinda inane dialogs. They meet and fall in love in keeping with the Tamizh Cinema Rules and Regulations. Only twist is that Guru happens to acquire ESP suddenly and after a couple of scary incidents, foresees himself killing Shriya. So he runs away from her and goes to Mumbai where he sees a replica of himself, Prasad (Vijay again, with the same hair style and shave panna blade illadha madri dhadi) and immediately realises that his ESP vision had this "bad" vijay killing Shriya. Fast Forward - Guru is hit by a lorry (we are thankful - he got what he deserved for his pig headedness) and Prasad goes to Chennai and Shriya, meets him and with no questions, takes him to her house. Prasad manages to fool everybody. Finally, Guru manages to get well and comes back to Chennai and in turn, is accused as an impostor. Things thankfully reach a crescendo and an inspired speech about "karpu" (Y-U-C-K) from Shriya (highly ironical, seeing her in the song sequences :P) Prasad turns a new leaf and all's well in the end. Somewhere in middle, you have a mini bit-song with Namitha and an included rape/sex scene.

Special Attractions:

1. Dr. Vijay's absolutely un-describable acting talent. Man, how did this guy even get so far with ZERO acting skills - the confrontation scenes between 2 vijays are highlights - for pathetic graphics and pathetic acting.

2. Its okay to try to become the next superstar - but dialogs like Naan thaan next BOSS, Paate podu (in Rajni's kannada accent) and the mottai boss mannerism affected character all reminds me of one character in Chinna thambi - "ennaku kalyanam! ennaku Kalyanam!!" kinds - I can imagine Vijay in same getup shouting "Naan daan next Rajni! Naan daan next Rajni!!!"

3. Thoroughly out-of-form ARR.

Trying to give stars to this movie is like trying to find a reason for Agarkar to be in the Indian team.

Verdict: ZERO Stars (ZERO acting + ZERO Direction)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tagged - Once more

Nirmal has tagged me, yet again. So here goes...

Inside my wallet I find....

10 Dollars in 1 dollar denominations

750 Rupees, which I forgot to give my dad when I was leaving India

State of Florida Drivers License

CCs from Citibank, Chase and Discover

Debit Card for my checking account

Starbucks Card with no balance worth mentioning

USF Student ID card

Some pics of Vishnu and Hanuman

Arbit bills from Taco Bell, Subway, Chipotle and Publix

2 Euro coins

United Airlines FF card

Frequent Eater discount cards from Pita's Republic and Jimmy Johns

Business Cards of people at Baxter, USF, sleazy car dealers and some toyota dealers

I pass the tag to any one interested in completing it - go ahead use the comments section.

P.S: I don't believe in carrying parents'/sister's fotographs and other sentimental stuff in my wallet.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Polladhavan Review

In continuum with my previous post, this movie really impressed me - in spite of having Dhanush in it and also the fact that I saw it in a crappy streamed format online.

The story is pretty similar to bicycle thief and deals about Dhanush's irresponsible life, his quest to get a Pulsar and the happenings thereon. Dhanush pretty much manages to be convincing as the wastrel guy - I think he has played this role once too often and even then, manages to make you take notice. His acting notwithstanding, there are certain aspects to his dialog delivery and facial expressions which Dhanush needs to avoid. His performance really stands out in the scene he revolts against his father. The comedy sequences work almost most of the times - except for some mokkais from Karunas. Dhanush has also made an effort to improve his physique and in the climax fight, his physique adds some credence to the fight (I generally believe fights shouldn't be more than 2 or 3 punches long). I really like Dhanush for trying to choose stories intelligently (thiruvilayadal arambam, Polladhavan kinds). Its definitely good that he has come out of the Sullan - Parattai engira azhagu kinda nonsensical scripts. Not everyone can fit all roles. So if Dhanush can make himself a niche hero, good for him.

The love track is a total spoiler and the movie could have been much tauter without it - and the heroine's only capability seems to be able to do some on-edge-of-vulgarity dance steps in the songs - zilch emoting and non-existent good looks - it seems to be a good decision by Gautam to drop her from Varanam Ayiram.

Amongst other performances, Daniel Balaji (this guy always comes as a drug addict on screen and plays it pretty convincingly too) and Murali (Dhanush's dad) are good. Bhanupriya comes in a role tailor made for Saranya (roles whose only selavu is 25 litres of glyrcerine). The other small characters like Santhanam, Dhanush's sister are easy and are not the usually over-the-top characters that we are used to. A bow to the director for sticking to believable characterizations.

What's this new trend of Tamizh movie villains talking tamizh in a contorted accent? His tamizh pronounciation itself warrants the horrible death he dies in the movie.

Songs from G.V. Prakash Kumar, who had superb outings in Kireedam and Veyyil has dissappointed and generally, the songs itself are speed-breakers in this movie - the most irritating being the item number - I seriously don't know why this item number was placed there - the song, dance and the "item" girl sucked big time.

On the whole, this movie is good enough to be seen once - and perhaps is Tamizh Cinema's answer to the Six Pack Khan.

Rating - 3/5

0 - Horrible/Pathetic
1 - Bad
2 - Okay
3 - Good
4 - Excellent
5 - Amazing


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Friday, November 23, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Diwali Movies Ratings

1. ATM - Pathetic screenplay - Namitha is a big turn off - no big story and very, very predictable.

2. Vel - Usual Hari stuff - replete with Sickles and adi-aals. Only saving feature is Surya.

3. Polladavan - TC's answer to six pack khan - Dhanush has chosen a script which suits him - much like Thiruvilayadal Arambam. Non-linear narration helps.

4. Kannamoochi Yenada - Very predictable and Prithviraj sooper dooper over-acting with Iyer baashai.

5. Machakaran - couldn't bear to see more than 20 mins - avoid in any form.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random facts about me

I had this in my orkut profile in the about me section - but due to popular complaints that my profile had to be scrolled, I linkified it to this post.

I write short stories.
I listen to ARR the most.
I'm 184cm tall.
I hate the color of gold.
I'm romantically-challenged.
I used to be a bike freak - road stunts included.
I'm a movie freak - tamil (predominantly) and english.
Sachin was my favorite. Ponting is the current flavor and I think its gonna stay.
I have stopped seeing/following cricket after 23rd March.
I'm a tamil movie PhD.
I'd love to own the Infiniti.
I live at Tampa.
I'm a Rajni Kanth fanatic.
I love to read.
I was once very scared that I wouldn't pass my 12th standard chemistry exam.
I have weird dreams which keep repeating.
I talk 10 words a second.
I'd like to have long hair.
I still have a photo of me on bicycle taken when I was in 1st standard.
I love the Lollu sabha show!
I like Wodehouse-ian humor.
An American once thought I was chanting Voodoo when all I was doing was ask his name!
I don't like red colored automobiles.
I listen to SPB-Ilayaraja a lot.
When I was 18 years old, I had 34 teeth, but now I have 32!
I always have a fear that I'm going bald!
I know every Sherlock Holmes story - character names, plot details by heart.
I was caught by my mother reading "Laughing Gas" which I had kept inside my 10th standard science textbook, two days before my board exam.
I like Kamal, Ajit and Maddy apart from Rajni Kanth.
When I was 14, I had completed reading all the works by R.K.Narayan.
I have seen Minnale 124 times.
I'm trying to be religious and spiritual.
I've given up drinking coke/pepsi/any other aerated drink.
I like Peyton Manning. I like Tom Brady better.
I don't like Hip Hop music.
I was once chased by a dog for 4 streets when I was learning to drive a cycle.
I like to read the Sportstar.
I have a chocolate craving almost always.
I'm Sh*t scared of dogs.
I'm ruled by Inertia - of rest!
My Shoe size is 13.
I don't like coffee.
I roll at least a kilometer in my sleep every night.
I have a broken nose.
I drink a liter of starbucks coffee everyday to keep myself awake.
I see the time on my cell phone.
I like wearing a neck (crew) shirt inside every shirt I wear.
I'm addicted to music - either I listen to music or I sing, but I do the latter only when I'm alone to spare the hapless souls beside me.

(to be updated later..)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My pick of a trailer after Sivaji

இனிய தீபாவளி வாழ்த்துக்கள் !!

I really got a high after seeing the Sivaji trailer - especially the beats when names of technicians come in.. The next trailer of this year, which has enthused me is the one for Billa.

As many tyrants and dictators have done, the line which Ajit mouths here, is apt. Kudos to Vishnu Varadan (or whoever who wrote that bit of dialog). The film has that sleek look - much like the Don (2006) and the last bit of guitar left me wanting for more... Hopefully after duds like Vel, Kannamoochi Yenada, YSR comes up with a good score for this. Going by track record of the Vishnu-YSR movies, I think we can expect a decentish score. Importantly, they have 2 remixes of My Name is Billa and Vethalaya Potendi - Remixes are YSR's fort and I have a gut feeling that he might deliver in My Name is Billa, more than Vethalaya... what with hip hop ctrl-c ctrl-v's. And for once, an Ajit movie has decentish/good stills too. And man, has Nayanthara undergone some liposuction or something - she looks much more the part than Priyanka Chopra in Don, as seemingly Nayanthara is taller and she has the tough look too. Perhaps after some very average (or bad/worst) movies, Ajit may rise to the position he had in 1999-2001.....

For more stills, click here

Balaji has blogged on this too!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Wall is being pounded

No this is not some wall on the Indo-Pak border. This Wall is India's most valuable match-winner till date. Match after match, series after series, Dravid has been the only player apart from Tendulkar to score against any opposition, on any pitch and under every clime.. He might not be your bludgeon wielding mass murderer of the Tendulkar-Lara kinds - but he was much more effective. His knocks have won more matches than the sum of Sachin's and Lara's match winning knocks. And he has been dropped from the team for the sake of a flat track bully, who can't say 'boo' to a cat on a pitch which has a tinge of green on it, on present form (which is pretty much constant over the last 2 years). And the other thing about this gentleman, Mr. Dravid is that he is one of the most self-less players, at least from those whom I've seen. Dravid would get a penciled No.3 slot in any team - yes, any team including Australia. He averages close to 60 in the tests at No. 3, which is next to only to - behold, a certain No.3 batsman named Sir Donald Bradman. In the one day arena, where he averages a shade under 40, his performances need to be put in perspective of the fact that after being with the team for more than 10 years, he STILL doesn't have a standard batting position - and this is not because his skills are suspect. In the time he was the captain, he could have made sure he gelled his position in the batting order, which was always taken for granted by the previous captains. Sample this, with the ever so inconsistent Srinath heading a young pace attack was not able to accommodate a keeper and Dravid had the guts to take up keeping and did a pretty good job of it in the WC 2K3. And I think he would be the only player to have played in all the positions from opening to No.6 for India and inarguably, he has done well in any position. And to make it better, Dravid is one of the better fielders in the Indian team, especially in the slips and formed a 'Taylor-Warne'-like combo with the Bangalore Bamboozler, Anil Kumble. Its a pity that when sub-standard players are giving a 20 match period to regain form, the Wall is being dumped after ONE poor series.

For those interested, this what Cricinfo has got to say about Mr. Dependable.

Highlights from Cricinfo's Dravid profile:

"Unusually for an Indian batsman, he also averages more overseas - around 60, again - than at home. But impressive as his statistics are, they cannot represent the extent of his importance to India, or the beauty of his batsmanship."

"As a New India emerged, so did a new Dravid: first, he put on the wicketkeeping gloves in one-dayers, and transformed himself into an astute finisher in the middle-order; then, he strung together a series of awe-inspiring performances in Test matches, as India crept closer and closer to their quest of an overseas series win."

"As India finished off the 2004 Pakistan tour on a winning note, on the back of Dravid's epic 270, his average crept past Sachin Tendulkar's - and it seemed no aberration."


For those who know me personally, having heard me ranting and riling against Dravid, if its Sachin Vs Rahul, I support Sachin for many reasons - but having followed Indian cricket for much of my 23 year life, I cannot deny that Dravid is one gift for Indian cricket after Sachin Tendulkar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Takkunu oru Tale - 2

Anand and Arvind were looking like a pair of man-eating tigers who had been ordered to go on a strict vegetarian diet by their doctor. Their team, Rockets were staring at a mammoth target of 221 in 20 overs against arch-rivals Thunderbolts in the Tennis Ball series final at the IIT Chemplast grounds. More importantly, Kavya was there amongst the spectators - a friend of both Anand and Arvind, Kavya was the girl both of them really wanted to be in love with. She was beautiful, tall, intelligent and was an engaging conversationalist. Their class-mate till high school, Kavya was now a student in the National Institute for Law and had the makings of a successful lawyer already. Arvind and Anand were no losers either - they were mechanical engineering students in IIT-Madras and were accomplished extempore speakers. They were favorites to make it to the IIM - A/B amongst their CAT class students. And not to forget, Anand had received an acting offer from Mani Ratnam's assistant for a Mani production while Arvind regularly did photo shoots for those glossy fashion mags.. Anand and Arvind, adjacent roomies, used to regularly call Kavya to their hangout on-campus and had had many 'gyaan' sessions, almost always ending the sessions with an ice-cream and a movie at the nearby theater. Six months into their course at IIT, Kavya's father was transferred to Pune and when she moved in to an apartment just on the edge of the IIT campus, both of them were convinced that she was in love with one of them and there started a game of one-upmanship. Whatever Anand did well, Arvind sought to do better. Whenever Arvind came up with a witty remark, Anand stunned his twosome audience with stunning repartees. Amongst the local populace, it more or less became a matter of debate as to who would be the guy to walk the aisle with Kavya. The odds were more or less even and it was more or less agreed that it was going to be a tight thing between A & A. It was in this situation that the tennis ball competition came up - Anand and Arvind, the twin souls they were, decided that this was the moment - they were pretty decent blokes when it came to cricket - win the tournament and propose - that was their plan.

The chase began well - Rockets openers flashed and flashed hard and soon they had 35 runs on board in 3 overs. The fielding team made a bowling change. They brought Samanth, who was more a fruit than an actual fruit itself. Generally recognized as a dork, Samanth, though a topper in Ocean Engineering, kept to his books, labs and laptop. But here he was an instant success. He had the openers and the captain coming in one drop - all dismissed at the wicket in a space of balls, after which he was mysteriously taken off the attack. The next wicket, fell on the face of pressure, being run-out and that brought Arvind and Anand to the middle. Each knew the other was trying to use this an opportunity to gain leverage with Kavya. Arvind tried to play to his strengths - play with a straight bat and avoid the cut shot which was his bane while Anand used all his improvisation skills to pierce the tight field set with unfailing regularity. From a position of rebuilding, Arvind and Anand went in to the attacking mode and with 5 overs left, they had 41 runs to corner glory. And this is when, Samanth was brough back and he was again bang on target. Giving no room to play their shots, Samanth intelligently cramped them for room and it was only by hitting off the bowler at the other end, Anand and Arvind brought down the equation to 10 of the final over, to be bowled by Samanth. The first three balls were scored off and finally it was 4 off 3 balls with Anand on strike. He tried to force one over the infield only to pick the man at long on. He knew he had failed the crucial aspect - he had failed to complete the kill. The batsman had crossed over and Arvind was facing. Anand was praying that somehow Arvind should be unable to score off the next two deliveries - after all, all was fair in love and war. And Samanth bowled a peach of a delivery which left Arvind flummoxed. So it was down to a boundary off the last ball. Samanth bowled a yorker and Arvind blocked it and scampered for a single, but Samanth fielding well off his own bowling took a shy at the stumps and the ball went for four overthrows! The Rockets had won and Arvind was the man who'd made it happen. Samanth sunk to the pitch and Arvind couldn't help taking a peek at Kavya and Anand. Anand was downcast and didn't hide his frustration when he shook hands with Arvind. "So you have the advantage, eh?" quipped Anand and as they turned around, they saw Samanth coming in with Kavya! "Guys, meet Samanth - my boyfriend - wanted to tell this to you guys a long time back, but wanted to keep it as a surprise - We have been seeing each other since last year and my decision to rent an apartment here was basically because Samanth can't afford to get a bike to visit me during weekends. As you may have known, he is studying on a scholarship for economically backward students - Samanth - meet Arvind and Anand - they are my buddies since preschool days..............."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Takkunu oru Tale - 1

Sriram quickened his pace - just to make sure he didn't miss Lakshmi at the temple. He had a fascination for Lakshmi since the first day he had seen her, 5 years ago. With the passage of time, he had come to like her more and more. The only reason for him not trying to meet Lakshmi was Ramappa who accompanied her to the temple everyday. Ramappa looked tough, with stern eyes, an imposing height and above all, a hirsute which made Sriram wary of approaching Lakshmi. Everyday when Lakshmi and Ramappa passed their house en route the temple, Sriram would be on the terrace, lost in the elegance of Lakshmi's gait. He was taken in by her ornaments and wondered how long would it have taken to set her up like that for someone. Of particular attraction to Sriram was her ears - he felt they were rather cute and desperately wanted to have a closer look at them. This had happened for years and yesterday when Sriram was talking about this to his friend Srinivas, Srinivas had revealed to him that Ramappa was a very nice - the chummy kinds - and was very nice person if you approached him with your parents. This seemed strange to Sriram, but anyways asked his mother to accompany him to the temple the next day to meet Lakshmi. It didn't help that amma was busy in the kitchen all day long and finally when she came out after her evening bath and lighting the lamp for the gods, Sriram was almost crying out of impatience.

And so, there he was, running with his mother with what he had to give to Lakshmi clutched in his hand. And at last, he saw her - right outside the temple, at the flower-seller, where Ramappa was in deep conversation with the flower-seller. Lakshmi was there, and Sriram's heart skipped a beat as he went closer and closer. Would he be brave enough to do what he wanted to do? Or will his courage give up at the last moment? He couldn't help notice that her ears looked all the more attractive from closer-up. Finally he was there, standing right behind Lakshmi and Amma said to Ramappa "En pa, Kuzhandhai yaanaiku vazhapazham kudukka aasai padaraan, konjam yaanai-a vangikka sollu" (for the tamizh challenged, it means "this kid wants to offer a plantain to the elephant, please ask the elephant to accept it")

Azhagiya Tamizh Magan - Audio

Did A.R. Rahman do this album? After Parasuram, this is one album where ARR has had the rarest of rare falls. Even more surprising is that the Maduraiku Pogadhadi number sounds very very similar to Dhina Dhinam Deepavali song in Varalaaru. And the introductory number with totally over the top lyrics (it IS over the top, atleast for Dr. Vijay) has recycled beats of Balleleika and Vaji Vaji from Sivaji and some beats from Katril oru Varthai from Varalaaru, once more. And the remix version of the Pon Magal Vandhal is in the same level as those of Yuvan Shankar Raja's in Kurumbu, Vallavan and recently, the one in Polladhavan, composed by Yogi B. There are rumors doing the rounds that a certain Krishna Chetan (ARR's website says so too) having come up with the remix version - is very bad with the standard computer effects and some inane rap music. Agreed that Dr. Vijay rarely does anything original, but even then a remix with literally zilch reworking is bad! A popular online tamizh film hub, had a senior member say this about the ATM album, which just about sums up my thoughts too!

"An embarassing slip for Rahman after SOK and atleast a couple of fresh numbers in Sivaji. A lot of techno garbage, repetitve voice processing and lots of deja vu. Remix- inexcusable,no matter who does it. Hopefully this is the last time Rahman does it. But thats what you get when you choose to do a Vijay film. PonmagaL vandhaaL is such a classic. The Marilyn Monroe song flat out sucks. It would befit a Harris Jayaraj to compose something like that. In fact the style of singing and the chessy thanglish words reminded of kannum kannum Nokia. The so-called melodies dont fare much better either. Atleast Udhaya had "udhaya udhaya uLarugiren". This is an album that sounds like as if the sound engineer at Rahman's studio put it together.
I was initially disappointed when I heard that Rahman was going to do a Vijay film which I thought was a poor choice for him at this stage, and hearing the album has only confirmed my apprehension. This is pretty underwhelming stuff which can be shelved along with Parasuram, Baba and other such albums."

And another member has this to say about the Maduraiku Pogadhedi
"ABCDEF, Sivaji was a mass album as well but adithadi had a lot of style to it. So did the style song and the main theme. So I dont buy this excuse. Looks like Rahman wasnt interested much or was busy with his overseas assignments and just phoned it in. He is capable of much better stuff than this. A kuthu song can be tastefully done too. It need not be mediocre. Even the Gummi adi song in SOK and the Ballelakka song in Sivaji had more pep and life than the so called mass numbers here. The pallavi of the intro song alone impressed me with its energy. But then the tune falters in the stanzas.Madhuraiku pogadhadi is Immaan/Dhina stuff."

I think Rahman has come out with an uninspired music album for an actor who gets inspired once too often! :P And Dr. Vijay, with his penchant for Gaana, Kuthu and other forms of music which are generally associated with B and C centers, needs to go in for his usual Mani Sharmas, Srikanth Devas rather than make ARR compose like this.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lessons from the India - Australia Future cup....

1. India can lose a ODI in series without Agarkar too.

2. 20-20 was one flash in the pan. Indian middle order consisting of Yuvaraj, Dhoni and Uthappa can't hold a candle to the Symonds - Haddin - Clarke juggernaut.

3. தாத்தா Tendulkar, who in recent times, walks with his bat as a walking stick, still proved to be miles ahead of guys like YS, MSD and others when it came to putting mind over matter.

4. Sreeshanth [see this video] is undoubtedly the Vijaya T. Rajendar of the Indian team. He has talent, no doubt, but his பேச்சு is too much. And it seems he is paying Aussies in their own coin it seems - B.S! - Aussies talk and then they match it up with superlative performances - here Sreeshanth rarely manages to get one of the six balls of his one over spells on the stumps and even when he does manage that with superhuman effort, it is a half volley and is blasted to the cow corner. To top it all, he dropped Symond's catch, who for enduring all of Sreeshanth's rants and riles, gifted Sreeshanth with a match-winning century, making Sreeshanth the real man of the match - for dropping the catch.

5. Dravid, poor guy - what a fall for the wall! (TR effect seems to have rubbed off on me too ) . He is still Mr. Consistent - in scoring single digit scores. He was much better off as the captain!

6. Harbhajan Singh is one impostor. On the same wicket where Kartik takes 6 wickets, Harbhajan gets scored off at 4.5 rpo. More than being Kumble's successor, I think Harbhajan is more of Vekatapathy Raju's successor - in taking wickets in some godforsaken match against 2nd standard students and then living in that glory for a couple of years.

7. Dada is a SODHA - as shown in the game where he scored 86. He was living off Tendulkar when தாத்தா was there in the middle and after தாத்தா got out, Sodha wasn't able to force the pace and his running between the wickets could rather be called 'not-running' between the wickets. The final margin of defeat - 18 runs - could be very well attributed to sodha.

8. Greg Chappell is a P.S Veerappa for Indian Cricket. His decision to drop தாத்தா down the order, in retrospective, seems to the be the most villainous act in Indian entertainment industry in recent times, competing with Kareena Kapoor giving Shahid Kapoor the biscuit (mama biscothu!).

9. Sharad Pawar has the power of invisibility - the guy who was in the middle of the winning team in the T-20 tournament, was nowhere to be seen in the 7th ODI in Mumbai, his operational base.

10. Agarkar must be worried man, what with Sreeshanth, Powar and some others trying to his claim his rightful place of match-winner. His terms and rates with teams with Aus, SA, Pak are falling as these teams have found the afore mentioned guys to be much economical match-winners.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Minnale Quiz

For Minnale Maniacs like me....

1.Collegla, Maddy ku evlo arrears?

2. "You know what I'm capable of" - Who says this?

3. In the last college scene, which color jacket does Maddy wear?

4. Maddy in office in chennai - "We're now going to consider _____ and ______ setup menu.". Fill in the blanks.

5. What is Reema Sen's "out of focus" friend's name?

6. Madhavan bike dome mela irukra sticker number enna?

7. Vivek lorry joke - lorry number enna?

8. What is Reema sen's veetu phone number? From that, vivek tells the house is at _______ road.

9. After Iruvizhi Unadhu song, what soup do Abbas and Reema Sen have at the restaurant?

10. When Maddy send flowers to Reema Sen, who is the second delivery guy? (Very easy one)

11. "Bon Apetite" - when does this dialog come?

As usual mail answers to karthik[dot]sriram[at]yahoo[dot]com

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cine Quiz - 6

This is another new idea I've come up with - its not novel - I have seen it in some quiz shows - but thanks to a friend of mine, HR, for giving me the inspiration by challenging me with a single guitar note to find a "Mike" Mohan song - which, me being a Tamizh Cinema PhD from the Rajni Kanth University, took almost a day to find. This set me on a thought train to make people guess songs from interludes/intro bits/etc to find the original song. I have made 10 bits from some popular songs. But my hunch says that any decent tamizh cinema fan must be able to find them all without much ado. From my regular readers, I expect Blogeswari and Deepa to guess all of them - mainly because they are two(!) years "younger" than me (I can hear some of you saying "Enna Kodumai Saravanan Karthik Sriram Idhu?") - Blog Vaazhkaiyil poi sollvadhellam sagajamappa! :P

Regular readers know where to reach me and for those who don't, mail me your answers to karthik[dot]sriram[at]yahoo[dot]com

Question 1:

Question 2:

Question 3:

Question 4:

Question 5:

Question 6:

Question 7:

Question 8:

Question 9:

Question 10:

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Memorable Songs in Tamizh Cinema - Song 1

Songs, whether they come from the Mozart from Madras ARR or the Maestro IR, make an impact on people only if they are backed up by superb picturisation - especially in these times where the TV channels rule the viewership charts. There have been some songs which have really helped a good song become super duper hits.

I want to pen down some of my favorite songs, which I would love to watch any day.

The songs are discussed in no particular order.

Pachai Nirame

A real ever'green' song if I can say so. Superb locations, amazing camera angles, extraordinary music (this maybe one amongst Hariharan's best 5) and simple yet effective choreography makes this one my favorite song. The fact that Alaipayuthey is one of my most favorite movies might have also played a part in making this song special. Also, the chemistry between Madhavan and Shalini really makes this song good. There are lots of songs which are those cloyingly sweet/saccharine kinds (where the hero and heroine act like two 'cho chweet' kinds which make me puke on the song - a very recent song, with super duper music from ARR, vocals from Shreya Ghoshal was an utter letdown in the video with totally no chemistry between the hero and his love interest - and they had pathetic locations too!) which put me off, but here the song reflects the situation in the movie - Madhavan tries to flirt with Shalini and gets a 'bulb', but as is the case with lovelorn guys, manages to see a positive that Shalini has smiled at him - the song starts here. It was a very good ploy to have the male only vocals as it makes it slightly believable (after all, its the usual dream song) - making us see the song as a manifestation of Madhavan's mood and happiness. The lyrics are very catchy too - with the standard of tamizh film lyrics going so low as to have water packet and the like in them, this song has much better lyrics - in fact, this is one song which I can sing in public without having to muzhungufy (mute out) some words in the middle.

The cinematography and choreography is really the biggest factors in making this song click - locations which are picture perfect, awesome natural lighting effects - Sriram, take a bow!! The way the colors have been integrated is also innovative - the milaga being dried, the yellow sheet in the rain - wow! And Farah Khan, shows her class by not having some cheap and vulgar actions/dance steps, manages to show the chemistry between the actors in a splendid manner.

Some Stills from the song:

Download Link:

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Travel Travails - 1

Being a 6 foot plus-ser might have a 1001 advantages to it, perhaps, but one place you wish you were of normal dimensions is in the economy class seats of all those passenger airlines. I don't know if that was the case, but Boeing seems to have designed seats with either 10 year olds or pygmies in their mind when they designed the seat arrangement in the economy class. Being one grad student doesn't allow me the luxury of the business class and so there I'm, doubled over and having to be in a posish resembling a tiger which has been beaten to death by a mad elephant. And bless the sweet heavens if you get the window seat. If you sit there and with a German 40 something paati in the next seat, you will definitely get an idea about how those 23 hours a day solitary confinement (awarded to the deadly criminals) will be like. These paatis most often than not will have some hand baggage which will fit only under the seat (thereby making your the range of foot movement to approximately 1.2mm) and after the 45 seconds after they have sat down, they will go into a kind of stupor/slumber/coma, from which they will come back alive only when they hear the stewardess asking for their choice of food or when the Pilot calls for landing. So stuck between a comatose senior citizen and a dumb double glassed, tempered glass window, you get so much to think about everything from what you wore on the day next to your 7th b'day to what you should get your wife for your 40th wedding anniversary!

And what's with the magazines in-flight? Why do those dumb people managing airlines think that anybody would be tempted to buy an overpriced cologne, 30000 feet over the ocean? Is there a mile high club for shoppers too? And not stopping with irritating you with sticking up this piece of dumb literature, the airline adds further insult for good measure by having the flight safety information in a gizillion languages apart from a cartoon only version and an enactment of the procedures by its on-board staff. And talking about entertainment, the films they show you - either some inane chick flick or some kids movie and that too, the audio quality is so pathetic, especially because of snoring matriarch by your side that you might as well try listening to Tendulkar talking in the midst of a Death Metal concert.

Then comes to the food - well, being a vegetarian, I strictly have no likes/dislikes when it comes to food and I don't mind living on cow food for the 26 hour travel, but I'm at a loss to understand since when turkey breast sandwich and salad with fish became vegetarian. The first time I was coming to US in August 2005, I was already disoriented (lack of sleep and of course, missing home kinda senti reasons) and added to that, the stewardess gives asks me whether I was an asian vegetarian and handed me a tray of food not quite unlike the way how you give yesterday's leftovers to a raapichakaran (night beggar). And when I open the wrapping I stare at 2 pieces of bun with something red in the middle which I surely know is not what a cow might eat even if starved for 21 days. I call the stewardess and ask her what it was and she coolly says "Oh! There must have been a mistake" - some mistake it would have been - all 21 years of rigidly practiced vegetarianism would have been down the drain due to some vellakari! But one good thing is that they keep stuffing you with something or the other that you never feel hungry and for those of the makkal who aren't practising abstinence, you get a wide variety to choose from too!

And the award for the most irritating co-passenger would go to any desi family consisting of M,F and one infant kid. The kid will start to blare its life out right from the moment the plane starts taxiing and your patience wears thin after half an hour. And the parents being what are, they do everything other than walk - its common sense that you walk a crying child unless its crying for food. And so the baby cries till it realizes that before its parents understand what they gotta do, it may kick the bucket - so the baby shuts up and then finally peace descends and you try to catch a few winks when the pilot calls for you to wear your seat belts for landing!

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wodehouse For Dummies

Here's P.G.W explaining the fundemental difference between the Bard and himself.

I suppose the fundamental distinction between Shakespeare and myself is one of treatment. We get our effects differently. Take the familiar farcical situation of the man who suddenly discovers that something unpleasant is standing behind him.

Here is how Shakespeare handles it (The Winter's Tale, Act 3, Scene 3).
"... Farewell!

A lullaby too rough. I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase:
I am gone for ever.
(Exit pursued by a bear.)"

The Master's version:

"Touch of indigestion, Jeeves?"
"No, Sir."
"Then why is your tummy rumbling?"
"Pardon me, Sir, the noise to which you allude does not emanate from my interior but from that of that animal that has just joined us."
"Animal? What animal?"
"A bear, Sir. If you will turn your head, you will observe that a bear is standing in your immediate rear inspecting you in a somewhat menacing manner."
I pivoted the loaf. The honest fellow was perfectly correct. It was a bear. And not a small bear, either. One of the large economy size. Its eye was bleak and it gnashed a tooth or two, and I could see at a g. that it was going to be difficult for me to find a formula.
"Advise me, Jeeves,"I yipped. "What do I do for the best?"
"I fancy it might be judicious if you were to make an exit, Sir."
No sooner s. than d. I streaked for the horizon, closely followed across country by the dumb chum. And that, boys and girls, is how your grandfather clipped six seconds off Roger Bannister's mile.

Who can say which method is superior?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chappell's 2 cents on leadership

The more illustrious of the Chappell brothers gives his views on captaincy and I felt they not only apply to cricket, but in other situations too.

"I've always maintained this, and I don't think it will ever change. Only one man can run a cricket team and that's the captain. You have got to be out there on the field to have a feel for all the things that are going on and to be able to make the quick decisions in order to change the direction of the game in your favour. If you're getting a message from off the field then it'll be too late - you should have already realised it, being out there on the field."

A real gem - if the leader himself relies on somebody else to make his decisions, God save the team.

"There are two things that I think are crucial to captaincy. The first thing is that once you realise that all the Ws and the Ls - being the wins and losses - are going to go against your name, then immediately you're going to be a good captain because you're going to make the decisions yourself. That doesn't mean you make them on your own; you might consult your vice-captain and the senior players, but in the end it's your decision. I've always likened it to a computer: other people will feed information in, but in the end you have to spit out the answer."

This is where Steve Waugh steps in.

"There's so much being spoken about the pressures on a captain; well, there is a simple way to alleviate that because much of it is placed on the person by himself. And the way to overcome that is to set your own levels and standards. If you are meeting your standards, then you needn't have to worry about what people are writing or saying. You've got to be fairly thick-skinned to do that. I didn't need to pick up the paper in the morning to read that I'd had a bad day as captain. If I wasn't the first one to know that, then I was a dope and I shouldn't have been captaining Australia."

Perhaps Dhoni can read this now and realize - which Dravid didn't do 2 years ago.

I would have posted the full discussion text from Cricinfo, were it not for one Mr. Sanjay Manjrekar spewing nonsense from every pore in between Chappell's views.

Anyways here goes for those who want to read it all: Click

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cine Quiz 5

This is a new idea I'm trying out - just 5 pictures - each a scene from a movie and the picture has been edited to make it a bit difficult to guess the movie. I want the movie and the cameraman for each of them.


3. This is an unedited pic - NOT the easiest of the lot.


5. Easiest of the lot.

Any basic tamizh cinema fan would be able to get 5/5 in this quiz - As thalaivar says, idhu trailer thaan ma, main picture inime daan! :)

Good luck - as always, email me the answers at