Thursday, February 28, 2008

Varanam Aayiram

Gautham's latest movie preview:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sujatha

Aaaa - The story was about a voice inside a man's head that told him to do evil things. He would listen to it some times but try to ignore it when the 'voice' got really evil. The story takes you through his struggling attempts to resist the 'voice'. Cast doubts about the nature of the 'voice'. Completely fascinating. It was the first Thamizh 'thodar kathai' I ever read. I used to wait for Ananda Vikatan just to read 'Aaa'. I never knew such a genre existed in Thamizh. It may have existed before Sujatha wrote them - what do I know about Thamizh stories? But Sujatha drew me to this genre.
Among his works that made it to TV - 'En Iniya Iyandhra' was very impressive. In 13 episodes, then mandated by Doordarshan, we saw how a woman in a futuristic world protected her robot. This was a story where the government of the future decides to destroy all robots assigned to people. Sivaranjini tries to hide her robot and we were enthralled for 13 weeks in her attempt to do so.
Beyond these two stories, I liked Sujatha's description the magnificent Srirangam temple. As far as movies go - although Kamal Hasan/Sujatha's 'Vikram' was a complete copy of Ian Fleming's Moonraker (Vikram was closer to Fleming's book than Roger Moore's movie) I was fascinated. I did not like his contribution in many other movies (which were good in elements that Sujatha was not involved in) but overall he seemed to be a fascinating story teller.
I am not a big reader of Thamizh literature but he drew English-pusthagam readers like me to Thamizh. Not an easy task.
p.s: I am going to count the number of people who mention Sujatha as the founder of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) just because some news article mentioned it. I know many already knew it. I didn't. I got to know that because of the news article. But it'd be an interesting social experiment to count the # of people who didn't know but still write that in their 'RIP' as if they knew it all along.
p.s: If I credited sujatha for work he never did - that is mainly because I don't know stuff.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Without Glasses

I can't go to the gym without an iPod. Without the crutch of an iPod, I constantly fear that the sheer boredom of the gym, the pain of watching human automatons mechanically do the same thing over and over again, will push me into coma. So, I look at this mp3 player as a something that will shield me from the boredom. The funny thing is - Once the iPod is on, I never really listen to the music. Mind wanders, worries, and wanders even more. Most times, I can't recollect a single song that was played. But I never go to the gym without an mp3 player. This got me thinking about something.

My X Std CBSE English Prose carried a short story called 'Without Glasses'. It was a fascinating story, which I never forgot. The author loses his glasses and so cannot read books. The author does not really need to read a book. However, reading a book helps him go to sleep. In the course of searching for his glasses, he remembers that even when he had glasses, he really did not read much. He dozed off before he completed a sentence. He discovers that reading a book did not put him to sleep. It was the knowledge that he could read the book in case he wanted to - that put him to sleep. Without Glasses, he simply couldn't sleep. And, funnily enough, one usually does not need glasses to go to sleep.

As is inevitable, I began to extrapolate this concept to life itself. There are several crutches people use to 'just get through' something or simply get to the next state. The crutch, however irrelevant to our purpose, pretends to help us get there 'faster'. And we do want to reach the next state soon, don't we? The sheer 'whats next' attitude that is dominating our times is simply fascinating. There used to be a time when I waited endlessly for A.R.Rahman to release an album and would listen to his songs in minute detail. I'd try and catch all the funky instruments he'd use (the ones that can only be heard on a earphone) and spend hours listening to the same album several hundred times. Time seemed to be available in plenty and there was no hurry to get anywhere. Nowadays, any new album I hear, I can't wait for the next song to start and once it starts, I can't wait for the next song after that. Same with life events, work, projects and other 'milestones'. Once something gets over, there is a immediate need for 'what is next'.

Sometimes, I see everything I do as a crutch - that just helps me get to tomorrow, the next week or the next month. Everything I look forward to is just a tool that helps me look forward to something else. Transcient-ness prevails. And it is sometimes painful. Is work a crutch to get to the ultimate ambition of a peaceful, nothing-to-do retired life? Are family, children, career, crutches without which 80 years of life will become extremely boring? In school textbooks, stories and proverbs we are taught by wise men to enjoy the journey and not focus purely on the end. At that time one wondered - this is so obvious, its the journey that matters - why wouldn't people know that? I find it funny that it was so obvious once upon a time. As one grows old life becomes a series of 'lets get to the next part'. One is not as impressed by the romance of the journey as one is afraid of the journey going sour anytime. So one wants to quickly get to the end.

I was reminded of a time, 3-4 years ago, when the 'whats next' syndrome started really taking over my life. A colleague of mine - a very nice bright girl - stopped abruptly as we were rushing to a meeting in another building. She stopped to admire a flower and remarked to me how beautiful the flower looked. I laughed uncontrollably. I had never heard or seen anything as absurd as that. In the flowing adrenalin of that time - the flower seemed irrelevant to the customer presentations, hikes, bschool applications and the pursuit of what I called a 'career'. I laughed at the girl openly and was thankful that I wasn't as spaced out as she was. I told her that I was happy. Happy, that I was past the phase she was going through. No more, was I deluding myself that the journey mattered more than the result. Suchithra, almost had a hippie like care-free-ness about her. Didn't mind my remarks about structure, discipline and rigor. She read a novel at work, drew portraits of co-workers, wrote poems and constantly asked me and my team to enjoy life. To stop and smell the roses. But I was sure that the journey wasn't important. Ends were facts. Journey, was a silly romantic consolation story told by losers. I was dismissive of her 'dreami-ness', thought she slowed down the work and asked her to code better.

In the last couple of months, I met with 2 car accidents. Strongly believed that either one could have killed me. When I was in 8th std and my ambassador car hit a bus, I couldn't stop thinking about it for months. Last saturday, 'who won the toss' was in my mind seconds after I ran out of a crashed car. I was already thinking of the boredome of having to deal with the post-accident stuff. The moment of clarity when the car hit the one in front of it is as lucid as my apathy. I have been saying this 'dramatic event' to a few friends. As if that would induce fun into my journey. As if that would make the journey appear more interesting. Sometimes when I tell the 'accident story' to people - it does. Sometimes it does not. Now, I am not so sure. I hate to hurtle through time and see everything as a crutch. But I can neither ditch the iPod nor listen to the songs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Defense Attorney Logic: Do People catch themselves when they do something similar?

A person, while driving a car, got into a car accident and killed someone. This person was drunk driving and pretty much violated every possible law the situation allowed him to. The accident was completely his fault.

In the trial, he argued with the judge thus. He provided anecdotal evidence of many drunk drivers around the country (and every where else) hitting other people and getting away with it. He described many examples of law violations happening in the country that were uncaught and unpunished. Some of the examples involved crimes against members of his family. He also described past old violations of law by members of the victim's (the person who died because of the defendant's rash driving) family and the victim's ancestor's many years ago. He concluded by saying "All those crimes were not dealt with by the police and all those people were not punished. They got away. Therefore, I submit that you have no right to punish me and I have all the right to violate the law and kill people. I must get away because they got away. If not this whole system inconsistent and unjust".

Almost the entire population of his country, the elite, the press and the well-read agreed with the Defense logic. The accident was considered as an example of the rise of the oppressed person.

Judge: But what about the 72 violations that you did, including possible homicide.
Defendant: First take a stand against all the alleged accidents I provided through arbitrary anecdotes and then take up my case.
Judge: But. What has all those got to do with this case?
Defendant: Why are you only taking a stand against me. I have not seen you take a stand against those people yet. What have you got to say on the issue of anecdote1, anecdote2?
Judge: Let us talk about your case.
Defendant: Are you homophobic?

Many people, almost everytime they argue, indulge in arguments similar to that of the defendant. I wonder: Do People catch themselves when they do something similar?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do you want to drive Indian Immigrant Population back to India?

Ban Potlucks.

Or best create a law that bans food in get togethers. While at it ban Antakshari, any children based talent show, bhangra music and singing in general.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The closest movies have come to being art nirvana

If people have seen a better conceptualization and execution of a song to a music video than this - then they must be lying. Sam Anderson, the star of the video is my vote for the next PM of India. Where is Gasquet fan? Sam is an artist. Bow to him.



This has some mind blowing choreography. My God. I am fan.



You might wanna check the comments on this youtube video if you want your stomach to be torn apart in laughter. Join the Sam Anderson cult.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Owner Of A Lonely Heart

I spent an agonizing 48 hours trying to remember this song. It used to be my favorite song in college. It still is. I couldn't remember the artist, the tune, the name of the song or the lyrics. This song had fantastic lyrics (repro'ed below). Hajaar Inspiring. This was a song I listened to 1000 times a day while in college. 2 days before, I could not remember a single detail about the song except 3 frames from the music video. The person jumping off the building and becoming a bird, and the person walking in the crowd scene. Tried to Google this description to see if I could hit something relevant. After hours and days of brain wracking recollection attempts, BAM! I get the name of the song out of nowhere. Funny thing the human brain. You have no idea how to fetch something from the subconcious brain database. If you by chance trigger some thought, it results in the right memory getting fetched. If only I knew what the trigger off everytime I tried to remember something. The actual video shown in MTV started from 2:15 of the YouTube Video shown below.



Move yourself
You always live your life
Never thinking of the future
Prove yourself
You are the move you make
Take your chances win or loser

See yourself
You are the steps you take
You and you - and thats the only way

Shake - shake yourself
Youre every move you make
So the story goes

Owner of a lonely heart
Owner of a lonely heart
Much better than - a
Owner of a broken heart
Owner of a lonely heart

Say - you dont want to chance it
Youve been hurt so before

Watch it now
The eagle in the sky
How he dancin one and only
You - lose yourself
No not for pitys sake
Theres no real reason to be lonely
Be yourself
Give your free will a chance
Youve got to want to succeed

Owner of a lonely heart
Owner of a lonely heart
Much better than - a
Owner of a broken heart
Owner of a lonely heart

Owner of a lonely heart

After my own decision
They confused me so - owner of a lonely heart
My love said never question your will at all
In the end youve got to go
Look before you leap - owner of a lonely heart
And dont you hesitate at all - no no

Owner of a lonely heart
Owner of a lonely heart
Much better than - a
Owner of a broken heart
Owner of a lonely heart
(repeat)

Owner of a lonely heart

Sooner or later each conclusion
Will decide the lonely heart - owner of a lonely heart
It will excite it will delight
It will give a better start - owner of a lonely heart

Dont deceive your free will at all
Dont deceive your free will at all - owner of a lonely heart
Dont deceive your free will at all
Just receive it

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Celebrating a Terrorist

Kodambakkam cine world regularly produces politicians. Bollywood regularly produces terrorists, murderers and underworld dons. One of its celebrated terrorists got married today. I think we should all celebrate. Don't ask why he is not in jail. He is on an extended conjual visit.
My 'patriotic' Indian heart is filled with pride and joy. I wish journalists in his payroll wrote more about how "Sanju Baba has suffered enough", "anybody can make mistakes", "to err is human" and how "only a very few understand his mind". For the sake of the nation, I wish Munnabhai-3 runs for 100 days. Poor Sanjay deserves any 'break' he can get. It would be bad if he failed in the 2 noble things he set out to do - burn Bombay properly and give a succesful trilogy.
It is heartening to note that not many in the Main Stream Media have written about this. It at least reassures me that once I have money and power, I can do whatever I want.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Blog Homam

In the last month, I have used this blog to release my collective pent-up frustration, disgruntlement, and disgust at the world.
Today, I conducted a blog homam to conclude the process and get rid of the residual anger. I am at peace with the world now.

Own It

I recently read a blog where a woman - who was thin before but now had grown fat - complained about the consequent waning of boyfriend's physical attraction towards her. She called it Unfair etc. Reminded me of a Seinfeld moment.

(In 'The Subway' in a train, Jerry wakes up and looks to guy opposite to him. The extremely fat guy is naked and reading a paper.)
JERRY: O-K. You realize of course, you're naked?
FAT NAKED MAN: Naked, dressed. I don't see any difference.
JERRY: You oughta' sit here. There is a difference.
FAT NAKED MAN: You got something against naked body?
JERRY: I got something against yours. How about a couple of deep knee bends, maybe a squat thrust?
FAT NAKED MAN: Who's got time for squat thrusts?
JERRY: All right, how about skipping breakfast. I'm guessing you're not a 'half-grapefruit and black coffee' guy.
FAT NAKED MAN: I like a good breakfast.
JERRY: I understand, I like good breakfast. Long as you don't wind up trapped in a room with bib overalls and pigtails, been counseled by Dick Gregory.
FAT NAKED MAN: I'm not ashamed of my body.
JERRY: That's your problem, you should be.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Movie Review: Evano Oruvan

Ho-Hum.
Has anyone seen the Marathi original 'Dombivilli Fast'? How do the two movies compare? The only good thing about this movie was that it had no songs. There is a segment where he talks about 'meganical' life and supression of talent, which was slightly interesting. I did not like the movie because the character leaps from a semi-'realistic' character to a psychotic character a little too quickly. Agreed, that this 'leap' need not require a mega-event to happen. However, it needs the director to convincingly show the metamorphosis. That was missing. Maybe some deeper look into history of madhavan's honesty obsession would have helped rather than a few sprinkled in anecdotes. I ended constantly feeling that the character was over-reacting to small issues rather than genuinely indulging in 'psychotic' behavior.
Damil movies will become dumeel movies if they continue to
(a) Take up 'honest raj' kind of subjects again and again and again and again. All subjects/stories surrounding nermai, ganniyam, kattupadu, responsibility, social duty, anti-corruption have already been taken. There is very little scope for offering something new here that is not boring. Gaptun has beaten this vigilante genre to death. It has become terribly boring now. We know India is corrupt and corruption is internalized. Summa bore adikaathengaba.
(b) Botch up Brahmin Thamizh dialect and various other dialects. Manirathnam makes poor attempts at reproducing Thirunelveli dialects. Kamalagasan and many others screw up kongu dialects. Most of tinseldom sodhappifies iyer vootu thamizh. The subtle nuances of these dialects cannot be 'asalta' reproduced. I have not seen a movie that has done a decent job of this. Madhavan plays an brahmin character that speaks the dialect worse than what Vikram did in Anniyan.
This movie came with very good reviews. So I thought it might be interesting. But I was dissapointed. A couple of scenes were 'moving' but it was not 'realistically taken' and all that crap. The inspector character, with a funny voice, was constantly over-concluding and over-assuming stuff about Madhavan without enough data. Somehow it is hard for me to take Madhavan seriously. He did a decent job in 'kannathil muthamittal'. But his Thamizh is not convincing enough. Maybe thats because he has a hindi accent. Off-screen, he comes off as a sincere guy. But I see some perception issues with his on-screen sincerity. There is some strong pretentiousness about him when he plays serious roles.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Some Beautiful Women

.... you had a crush on in school/college grew up to be even more extra-ordinarily beautiful and heart-stoppingly voluptuous. Whereas some beautiful women you had a crush on grew up to be ugly, fat, uninteresting and mind numbingly boring.
Makes me wonder about movies which show college 'lauve' to be eternal and glorify college boys who stay unmarried forever as a result of unrequited love. Makes me also wonder about real-life peepul who do that.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Jambavan

Controlling, supressing and conquering the mental demons is 99% of doing a task. Having someone to constantly tell one that one can still accomplish stuff is not such a bad idea.

At the right time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Movie Review: Billa

Amithabh's Don is the best among the 4 movies. That movie had style, some decent amount of substance, fantastic songs and more importantly that movie was thrilling. Sarrukkan's Don was a load of trash. Rajini's Billa could probably be least stylistic and the worst among the 4. Bad songs. Probably the worst set of songs for a Rajini movie. The wigs, sets and the clumsiness stand out. Ajith's Billa is everthing but cool. The exact opposite of Amithabh's Don.
Most of the movie shows Ajith walking out of a car and closing the door in slow motion. Wind is blowing his coat is like fluttering in the wind. How many times will they show us this? Apparently that is showing style for Vishnu Vardhan. Granted the movie's stylistic aspects and quality of production is excellent. But to show Ajith getting out of the car again and again and closing the door 50 times in slowmo just started to get boring. Ofcourse the real gangster Billa cannot be a serious ruthless badass. That is because Ajith has an image and he can't be shown as a non trusting killer goon. That kills the first half of the movie, which has Ajith saying "naan ellariayum nambuven, avanga ulla irukara mirugathai namba maaten" and giving a sad Neo look from inside a 'cooling glass'. Amithabh's Don, one was clearly taken into Don's reluctance to get caught alive and also the replacement's anxiety of getting caught as Don. In the later movies that 'connection' is lost. You feel nothing.
The second Ajith cannot do a comic role and so is not given one. 'Velu' as Billa's replacement is bland boring role, which only Ajith can do. Amithabh could do serious and comic role with ease. Rajini is a natural in comic roles. Ajith can do neither. That means the fun element is completely gone. Having said that - the first 10 minutes of the movie is a riot. I couldn't stop myself from laughing. What the hell is this 'ilaya thilagam' Prabhu doing in movies? Is he 'Ilaya Thilagam'? Is he the same guy who was shown so stylishly in Agni Nakshathiram? Here he looks like a midget with a funny voice. He says close to 50,000 pags of dialog in the first 10 minutes almost extolling gay love for Ajith. Looks more like Janakaraj than Prabhu. I was reminded of Anil Kapoor from Taal. It is quite sight to see the incredibly fat Prabhu in Coat & Suit, eat kadalai from conical paper thing and walk. The front angle of him walking is so funny.
Namitha, is ofcourse my favorite in this movie. She is like the 'Attack of the 50 foot woman' dream come true. Two words for Namitha- Surface Area. There are two such bodies in this movie. Nayanthra is the other one. Damn Sexy. Her 'cooling gilass' was funny. But they should have cut out that fencing scene and just got to the cat fight. In the fencing scene Nayanthra looked like some jelly poured into a fencing coat. The movie also shows a cat fight between Namitha and Nayanthra. I had my hopes high before it was ruthless cut short. Bad. The movie also assumes that we know who the hell 'Jagadish' is. Whats his relation to Billa? Shouldn't they tell us that clearly. I am still asking - Who the hell is Jagadish? At least they took us on tour to Malaysia and showed us stuff. In summary this movie is No Thrill, No Story, No Life and poorly flowing mass of boredom.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Movie Review: Golden Compass

Boring. Extremely. Visual Effects alone cannot make an entertaining movie.
Much like Narnia, some 8-year old girl is the lead character. Movies are saturated with kids-as-lead-stars stories. There is also a bear and a host of other boring characters. I think we have seen it all. Never Ending Story was much better. This movie has nothing new to serve. Well maybe except for one thing. I liked the a-daemon-to-a-person concept.
In those days when Ramarajan or Vijaykanth get a successful movie playing a cop or a villager. They milk that roletype until it runs dry. They only let go of those roles only after 3-4 such similar movies. This whole trilogy nonsense has now been beaten to death. Now suddenly all the 'enthu' parties will buy the book and bore everyone to death about inane details in that book that - god forbid -may cause a "controversy". LOTR, Harry Potter, Narnia - now this. Then finally we will be told that Gandalf, Dumbledore, Bear and someoneelse was gay.
Niruthanum.