Monday, February 21, 2011

Nadunisi Naiygal

This movie is not a psychological thriller. That is because it is not a thriller at all. Outside of a few screenplay linearity tricks - there was no doubt in anybody's mind as to how the movie would end. Barring a few minutes here and there there was no edge-of-the-seat feeling. There weren't that many moments where one wanted to eagerly find out 'whats next?'. This aspect alone took away an important pillar that could have helped the movie stand up and walk. It reduced the movie to just being a sad, dark story instead of a suspenseful, entertaining, sad dark story. Given that Gautham has already segmented his audience to a small group of people who are up for 'experimental' hollywood-thriller-like movie - he does himself no favors by not making the movie interesting. In effect this has reduced his credibility. I am not sure I can trust him to do a good movie when he comes out and tells his fans that he is not compromising and wants to the movie the way he wants.

When Manirathnam did Iruvar and Kamal Hasan did Guna/Hey Ram - they were probably under no illusion about its commercial risk. It was their vacation to do what they wanted to do. Sort of a license they earned to make their best creative work ever. And they didn't waste that vacation. They made master pieces. The mass audience may not have liked those movie but their fans longing for that out-of-the-ordinary-movie did. They become cult movies. Gautham has wasted that wild-card. That license-to-do-anything has been used to do less interesting stuff. We indulged in him and while he didn't necessarily make a bad movie - he has settled for a low bar. Infact he has misunderstood "no compromises" to mean "I'll only include what people will never like" as opposed to "I am sure people will like this and I will defy the producers and distributors to prove it"

On the specifics of Nadunisi Naigal - I am hoping the 'psychological' in "psychologial thriller" doesn't just mean showing a person with mental problems to be a killer. It doesn't mean everything from hallucination to schizophrenia to child abuse must be thrown in. So much time has been wasted in describing the killer's early life and so little time describing his actual transformation into this monster. Incest rarely works in thamizh movies. Mostly because its a hard subject matter to handle. Outside of incest - I didn't think the adult scenes were classyly done. People with masks looked funny more than scary. And making the audience squeamish surely involves something more than putting hardcore stuff on screen. As to why his guardian would not report Veera's wrong doings to the police is beyond me. In Madras, Veera's house looks unrealistic. Hard to imagine he didn't have neighbors. Lastly Gautham fails where all modern thamzh movie directors fail. In showing a super edge-case scenario to be something that normally happens in day-to-day life. Mindless bimbo females who fall for just about any guy is probably more common. But how many child-abuse-nut-case-schizophrenic-serial-killers are there in this world? Shouldn't the director spend time context-setting the fact that he is going to tell a very unusual story.

It breaks my heart to diss a Gautham Menon film. But this was a let down.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Talent

Yesterday, I sat on the couch for 3 hours without doing anything. The TV wasn't ON. I wasn't browsing the laptop either. I wasn't making conversation or eating. I wasn't thinking about a problem or trying to solve anything. Wasn't trying to chill out, relax and get peace of mind. I just sat in one place and did what others might consider a colossal waste of time.

And here is where I think I have some unique talents that are unfortunately being wasted in the workforce. I could be that bum who wastes time doing nothing all his life. I am born to be that person. I have a combination of unique talents - complete lack of guilt, responsibility, concern, awareness - to be that person. I could go where vadivelu failed to go. The world has a great opportunity to see a level of magnificence it has never seen before. Think about this - a house husband who does not cook, take care of kids or does any useful work around the house. A person who can sit in one place for 18 hours and just be. I could be so much better than him. The possibilities of doing research on me is endless.

And all the talent is being crushed. Instead of nurturing such great talent - it is being sacrificed at the altar of survival. What a terrible shame. Only a philopthropist with intentions of doing noble research can save such talent.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Madapalli

Madapalli is an awesome food recipe blog. It is hard to believe that in the the subset of vegetarian -> no garlic -> no onion: there are so many varieties of tasty food.

P.s: 'Madapalli' in sri-vaishnavaite terms means the temple's kitchen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt

For a while I didn't know that something was going on in Egypt. I was happy. Then I knew Egypt was in the news for some reason. So I had to carefully avoid knowing about it. Mildly annoying but still I could manage avoiding news. Now for some reason my Facebook timeline is congratulating Egypt. Yes. You heard it right - Egypt the country. How does one congratulate a country? More importantly - why?

What sense of achievement does one get from posting a message that congratulates an entire country? Who is going to respond and say 'thank you'? All I saw was a few more people from the poster's same country going 'yay' and pressing the 'like' button.

I guess I am having one of those days - where I feel really smug about my decision to never watch/read the news.

Jeyamohan's Short Stories

via chenthil

Writer Jeyamohan is on a short story writing spree. The common thread amongst these stories is humanity. So far he has written 4 stories in his blog - all of them are based on real life characters.

அறம் - about a writer who is short changed by his publisher and the publisher's wife who brings morality back into the transaction

சோற்றுக் கணக்கு - about a road side eatery owner who never asks for money from the patrons

மத்துறு தயிர் - Part 1 , part 2 - a more personal story about a professor and his disciple who loses his way, shades of the prodigal son. The title is from Kamba Ramayanam.

வணங்கான் part 1 - , part 2 - about the rise of a first generation nagercoil nadar from servility

Do keep track of his blog, This is one of his highly productive period in terms of short stories.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Hot Yoga

A few months ago a white colleague of mine enthusiastically told me that he was a regular member of the Bikram Hot Yoga class. I only knew Karma Yoga, Bhakthi Yoga and Gnana Yoga. I already struggle to do whatever little Aasanas that are part of Sandhyavandhanam. Plus - Shilpa Shetty or not - I was never impressed with the Doordarshan 6AM chics doing Yoga. Being Indian and all that - I had always thought yoga was like homeopathy. In that it offered some psychological comfort but pretty useless otherwise. This colleague then went on about how hot the 'Hot Yoga' really was and asked me how come I was not interested in Yoga despite being a desi. My only response at that time was that I had seen too much mumbo-jumbo in my life and so didn't care.

Then I met more and more people - some desis included - who raved on and on about Bikram yoga. And how the muscle tone one got there could never be got via lifting weights. Its a rage in Seattle to the point where my gym is kick-starting classes on this. So I decided to give it a try. Joined the Bikram hot yoga class. I have to say one thing though. The word 'hot' in the phrase "Bikram Hot Yoga" is really really r.e.a.l.l.y. hot. I think the temperature in there must be 120 degrees or more. I am a Madras guy and I think this is hotter than travelling at 1PM in the afternoon inside a Matador wan with all doors closed and no A/C on. It is unbelievably hot. I am in the middle of the Sun hot. Scotty beamed me into planet Mercury hot.

They do 26 aasanas in a space of 90 minutes. In my first class I felt like some alien inside me would tear out of my body and explode. And there are people in there who are spectacularly well-built and who do the aasanas with the precision of a Jedi master. I was told long ago that these Yogic poses were what the ancient Rishis used while performing Tapas. And the poses these jedi-type people seemed pretty much like how the rishis stood in the Amar Chitra Katha cartoons. Of course this was way beyond my range. Just standing in the hot room for 90 minutes was too much for me. Maybe I could have breezed through it with a bag of potato chips and some TV time. But standing and doing all these poses felt like murder.

I do have to say the people who are good at this seem to be built like greek gods. I don't think I will ever get to a point where I will bend my right leg upwards, my back downwards, stand on my left leg and touch my right hand to the right foot as the right foot touches the ceiling and all that crap. But here I am - 30 classes later. Still none the better in terms of flexibility. But I can sit 90 minutes inside the class and not feel like reaching for the remote. One 90 minute session burns 1000+ calories. And you do find out more about yourself in this class. About what you can do and what you cannot. Where your personal edge is and how you can move that edge a little bit farther etc. I am actually surprised because I was cynical enough to think this was worthless and it was not. I actually learnt something about myself in this class. I didn't think I'd last more than 2-3 classes but there is a mental and physical discipline about this class that makes you want to come back.

Of course there is no lack of motivation. Because 'hot' in Bikram Hot Yoga has another meaning as well. It is "girls come there in bikini" hot. It is "the class is 70% hot girls" hot. It is "all the strange poses affect my blood circulation" hot.