Monday, December 13, 2010
If you take all the ideas that one comes across in day to day life which you think are "Out-Of-The-Box" and put them all in one box, this movie would be OUT of even that box. When I first saw the movie "The Dark Knight" I couldn't make head or tail out of it. I couldn't make out what was going on. I dismissed it as "too-much-complicated". Only after watching the movie 3-4 times since comcast started screening it, did I really understand the lines on which the movie was made and appreciate the stuff that was showcased in it. "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villian" turned out to be one of my most favourite dialogues. I slowly realised the time and effort the director should have put into scripting the screenplay of this movie.
Just when I had made up a mental note to follow this director's movies in future I saw that a friend had reviewed Inception in his facebook status. Me, senthil and smitha were already on our way the very next day to see what the buzz was all about. Little did we know that we were in for the most complicated thriller ever taken. The first fight sequence suddenly had water coming in from all sides and the next scene had the actors falling into water tubs. In a few mins Di Caprio was expecting Ellen Page to design a puzzle in 1 minute that take 2 minutes to solve. Then we are suddenly introduced to Shared Dreaming sessions!!!!!!!!!!!! There is not one moment in the movie that you can relax and sit back.
I would like to ask the director if he had a shared dreaming session with like minded people to formulate this idea. I am a fan of such films in particular which have a seperate line of thought as the root of the movie as in The Matrix. Until Inception Matrix was my most favourite movie till date in terms of concept. And as we slowly settle down to dreaming sessions the director brings in another concept of a dream within a dream.......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is a point in the movie where Ellen Page says "Wait a minute, Whooose sub-concsious exactly are we going into now ????? ". Believe me I was exactly asking the same question. But the good thing was I was not fed up that I didn't understand the movie. The director keeps you occupied in the movie in a way that you dont try to question the logisticsof the movie, you dont question the possibility of the concept, instead you get engrossed in your own interpretation of the story line (Rmbr the red pill - blue pill). If analyzed from a physics point of view there would be a lot of unexplainable concepts in the movie but the screenplay is as gripping and as engrossing that you don't stop to think of irregularities and impossibilities in the movie that Newton would probably not agree with, you just enjoy the movie for what it is.
Lots of people do a lot out of the box thinking but end up with some crap which others cannot agree since the story teller fails to capture the fascination from his thoughts into his narration. As a result the viewers are not able to see, feel and appreciate the fascination in the idea. That is the difference between such other movies and Inception where Nolan stands tall. He has been successful in transfering or infusing the fascination in his thoughts provided by this idea into the brains of the viewers. I have heard many people question this movie a lot but most of such criticisms have been only about ridiculing the scientific base of the movie than about the idea or the presentation. No wonder it is on No.4 in the all time IMDB list.
Great Idea, Great Screenplay, Great presentation, Hats off.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
My dad took me to a house somehwere in the outskirts of Calcutta where there used to be one big hall with one TV. This house was the headquarters of some Tamil entertainment association in that city and they used to screen movies in a VCP. This was sometime in 1988 I think. We used to go there once every 2-3 months and I used to go out and play with other kids when the movies were screened. Of all such films the only one which I didn't get bored of that I sat through most of the movie was "Mouna Ragam". I didn't really appreciate the actual depth or the effort in the movie then cause I was barely 8 years old and I didn't know squat about films but still something didn't make me go out 10 mins after the start of the movie. Now in 2010 everytime when I see that movie I get more and more convinced even after seeing Alaipayuthey, that there possibly cannot be a more romantic movie than Mouna Ragam.
Dad got transfered to Chennai and my movie habit started off sometime only around 1995. That's when I used to get around with my friends and cousins to seeing movies in halls and theatres. Some of my first movies were the exact formula masala crap and the first movie which made me sit up was Anjali. This is the first movie that I remember sitting through fully in the hall. I used to believe that the film was a true story and the lil gal in the movie actually died and someone just happened to tape it at that time which was then released as a movie. Until then I didn't even know who a director was, who a producer was and how a movie was made. That's when my elder cousin sisters started educating me about films and made me see a whole lot of movies in a short period of time. Of all that crap the only movies that I remember now are Mouna Ragam, Naayagan, Roja and Bombay. Only after a few years did I realise that all these were the creations of one man called Maniratnam. Ever since I seriously started watching movies I have concsiously watched all his movies many a time.
His movies are of the sort that you like them for different reasons everytime you watch them. If Naayagan is the best adaptation of Godfather ever made (of course after the Francis Cappola original) Agni Natchatram, Idhayatthai Thirudathey and Thiruda Thiruda were masala movies that everyone talks until today. Anjali is the only movie that I remember crying in the climax, Roja and Bombay was were the movies that seriously addressed the then social issues of terrorism and communalism. But now when I watch the movie Thalapathi, I seriously cannot but wonder as to how he managed to get the super star to act like that without his usual gimmicks. I like Rajini movies only for his gimmicks which only he can entertain people with, but this movie showed him as an angry young man, the way we knew him from his yesteryear movies. Everytime I see it now I see new things (in both Naayagan and Thalapathi) which I missed to note the first few times I saw those movies. I cannot forget the way I felt like shouting out loud when I first heard Madhubala say in Roja "Avanga kadatthinadhu oru Minister oda payyana irundha neenga idhaye thaan solluveengala".
I have personally felt that his movies are not to be watched just for entertainment. I have had a lot of people review his movies as slow, dark and being boring in patches. I have only one thing to say to these people, go back to mindless remakes, only those are for you. Please leave Mani and his films alone. I don't buy the argument that ALL movies are to be watches only for relaxation and entertainment. I like movies which are realistic, intense and those which have been created with a lot of effort and attention to detail. I have always felt that the best part in his movies are the subtle things which we tend to miss, be it the art direction in recreating a middle class LIG quarters house in Alaipayuthey, or the rectangular yet spiral staircase in the flat complex in Anjali, or the way Background Music by itself is a character in Mouna Ragam as Karthik or Revathi themselves. Madhavan mentions in his interviews that other directors still approach him saying that they expect him to provide a lover boy performance like Karthik in this timeless classic.
If anyone likes cameramenship he/she cannot be any more awed than by his location selections. Everyone travels abroad for exotic locations when he fishes out such breathtaking locales in his movies that are very much within our great country. The locations that he and only he fishes out become so famous after his movies that they become tourist hubs after the movies are released. Most people didn't know that the Ooty-Mettupalayam train journey is as scenic until he unleashed it's splendour in Chayya chayya. Some people, even after the movie, refuse to believe that it is the Ooty-Mettupalayam railway line at all. Only little do they realise that the journey seems so scenic only if shown from certain angles and in some color combinations.
Apart from all this his greatest contribution to India on a whole is the man that India prides on today. He found, nurtured and provided a human jackpot called A.R.Rehman to every indian around the world. This combination has created probably some of the best music in the indian film industry in my opinion, only to be complimented by great cameramanship from the likes of Santosh sivan and PC Sreeram. Iruvar was a classic, Kannathi Muttham Ittal and Aayutha Ezhutthu are two movies that I can't decide which one I like better and if anyone asks me the first movie that instantly comes into my mind for this combination is Dil Se.
Now, having said all these good things about this man who creates such movies with just his simple approach, I also feel that currently he is running out of subjects or is in dearth of such awesome screenplays that make his movies "Mind Blowing". Guru was a very mediocre effort and Raavanan was impressive only in some departments and that too only intermittently. Is he losing his touch ? Does he not have it in him anymore to provide different yet simple(y) mind blowing movies ? Has his formula become so very beaten about that it does not make you go WOW on seeing his movies ? Has he reached the stage the once-great-legend Balachander reached about two decades ago ? Will we ever get to witness another Aayutha Ezhutthu or Mouna Raagam from this man ? I want to say yes though I don't know if it is sensible to expect it.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Marriage - Of course the Argument continues :) :)
When is it that one becomes ready for marriage ?? It is probably a million dollar question but I can't help wondering. I was and still am a guy who always used to ridicule marriage. I never ever got to understand the idea of taking two perfectly happy individuals and binding them forcefully with marriage and definitely changing their lives altogether. Agreed that the change may be for the better but I still cannot brush the changes that marriage brings in a person's life under the carpet. And before you start screaming "Bloody chauvinist" I am talking about both the gal and the guy involved. In fact the life of a gal changes too very much compared to that of a man after marriage. New people, new surroundings, new way of life.......
I could in fact accept marriage too but I still cannot understand the concept of getting married with time. Marriage has become like, you go to school when you are 3, you go to college when you are 17, you go to work when you are 21 and you get married when you are....... ????? What kind of a time table is this ? Not to mention all the peer pressure arising from the marriages of all other cousins and friends. Is this why and when someone gets married. Sariyana himse......
The moment one asks these questions he/she is branded as "You are not married, you won't understand". DUUUHHHH.........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was looking through the slam book of one of my friends from her 10th standard and I couldn't help laughing out loud at the kind of expectations that kids have about marriage when in school. There was an item called "Most Memorable Moment" and someone had written "First night......". Worst part is that the same slam book gets handed over to the class teacher also to write down her contacts and everything. Don't know if she saw these petthals...... Dhanu says he even remembers his teacher asking in the whole class....."What do you guys know about First night that you have put it down as your most memorable moment....." Maaaan what a laugh she must have had........
City Life - The buzz that I long for...... at onsite
Having spent about 24 of my 29 years at the heart of Chennai I can safely say that I am a thorough city bred. I have done most of my schooling, college and my first few years at work at Chennai and I have always argued with my dad that settling down somewhere in the city outskirts is not the life that I can even think of. I somehow cannot have enough of the city buzz though I do hate traffic jams, the pollution and the water shortage ordeals the city is faced with.
When I landed at onsite everything was new to me and so I settled for a more known group of ppl whom I could talk to in case I needed anything. Arul mailed me saying the doors of their house is always open for me :) :). It was so strategically placed in Redmond that I didn't need a car to get to office. All the indian stores, restaurants and eatouts were very much in the vicinity and hence I didn't bother. It then kind of got me into a zone of comfort that I could not get out of at all. I kept telling Ullas (and he used to unfailingly remind me that no one is stopping me from moving to downtown) that I hate the calm and quiet of Redmond and so need the buzz of city life to keep me from getting depressed.
In my most recent project I met with a person who happened to be from a place that had a more faster lifestyle than chennai. Being from Mumbai he shared the same thoughts about city life. He travels almost EVERYDAY to downtown Seattle and keeps himself occupied.
The environment in which you reside during your college time, I feel, makes a lot impression on you. I know every small good eat out, every chat stall, every small mall, all different beaches in Chennai and it never bored me to go to the same places time and again. I was also fortunate to have most of my school buddies from the same area as mine and we are in constant touch till date that life has always been HAPPENING. Some activity is required in my day-to-day life to keep me occupied and to keep me interested. Not that my current life is not happening enough but the same routine of cooking, gyming, seeing movies and then going off to bed has kind of had it's effect on me that I am in dire need of some thing more than these routines. Though one would basically end up doing the same stuff everyday even if one were to stay and work in downtown it would be with a flavour of city life, with some amusement, with a lot of crowd and other aspects of city life to keep them interested.
Seriously thinking of moving to downtown at least for a few months if not more when the count becomes 2.
Yamaha - The machine drives me crazy................
I am not stunt man with my RX-135 but I am so attached to it that I affectionately call it my Mayilvahanam. I am not attached to anything as much as this. I fondly recollect how I used to ask for rides in my childhood from ppl who owned bikes. The machines fascinated me mainly because of the speed and the adrenalin that their operation used to pump into my blood. In college everyone had their own cool factor, like cell phones and desktops and organizers but I had only gadget in mind that was the coolest. A two stroke fast bike was my dream all through college and it turned into a reality after my first year at Infosys. I cherished and relished every ride I ever had on this machine until three years later when I had to travel to onsite.
At onsite it was about cars, everyone had a craze for the four wheel machines and thanks to the weather at my place, no one even thinks about motorbikes. They are not safe, they are not handy for travel, they are costly, they are useless. Man, even I bought these stupid arguments and bought a car which is, to this day, my most regrettable decision. Coincidentally, even at onsite, I ended up with an R6 from the same manufacturer with a 650CC and 108 hp and things were just bliss after that. I did 100 mph on a scenic driveway and that was my happiest day at onsite till date. But still my 135 stays my fav. It listens to whatever I say. It obeys me and NEVER fails me. It's operation has got into my subconscious self. I don't have to be extra careful with it. With my R6, I have to pay attention to it. I have to be weary and diligent. Takes part of the fun out of riding.
Somebody asked me why I like my 135 even after my R6 if it was only speed that interested me. I just said 135 is the wife, R6 is just an affair to remember.
Friday, December 25, 2009
In my 5+ years of work I have run out of the desire to work many a time. If sometimes the work didn't seem interesting, sometimes it was just plain laziness. On one occasion I even refused to work when there was enough work to keep me occupied for days together cause I was pissed off that I didn't want to be in S/W. One of those "self-introspection :P ;)" days I guess that everyone goes through after long boring "Select * from " or "Public static void main" sessions.
But Sept - Oct 09 was none of this and I couldn't get myself to even focus a little on the work at hand in office. Not to mention that I am known as one person in all my groups who gets ppl to move their asses around on holidays and weekends, who plans activities and makes ppl feel worthwhile at the end of the day though they start off cursing me for dragging them out of their comfort zones at home. But everyone was asking me during this time, what was I doing, what was I planning, which tourist place would I be found on those weekends and I depressingly used to say "nah, i am gng to be home".
As one frnd from my college put it I was a "trouble creator" for everyone. I lived up to my name, I called up chinni from Guna's mobile at 1.20 AM and asked her to come down and open the flat gate in 20 mins. It knocked the wind out of dad and got me a nice scolding as soon as reached home. For the first time in life, even dad's scolding felt so gud, I had missed it in the past 18 months. Chinni hugged me and went round and round. Man, was I happy to see her. Mom sleepily welcomed me and asked me if I had dinner and if I would like to have coffee at 2 AM in the morn. Periya atthai was consoling appa that I am a prankster and that he should expect suprises like this from me. I was so happy that she was there at home and I got to meet her.
I didn't sleep that morning, I started as early as 7 AM to nanganallur to
1) To meet the idiot that I seriously missed in the past few months at onsite.
2) To pick up my mayilvahanam(yamaha) so that I could feel freedom again.
My vacation was only for two weeks and it was so jam packed that I could hardly convince myself that it was over. I loved the fast Adrenaline pumping yamaha rides, the various annoying traffic diversions in Chennai, the newly built Hyd airport, the two marriages of my school frnds that I attended. I was so happy cause they turned out to be really satisfying photographically :). My other frnds made fun out of me that I added to the confusion on stage with my cam where there were already so many, making life difficult for the groom and the bride. Dogs, ennoda "out of focus" photos mattum nalla ukkandhu paathanunga......
Many things were different. Ppl stopped to make way for ambulances, the OMR was one of the best roads and was in the class of the Mumbai-Goa highway, there were more malls, podi dosai at brilliants stall tasted every bit as it did before, sri krishna collections was more freaking costly than what it was before I had left :) :). I got to watch sachin's century at sachin ka dhaba while having chilli gobi with a beautiful girl beside me (though I am not sure how much she enjoyed that :) ). Man I miss all this here.
Now when I think about all this sitting in seattle, it most certainly feels like "Screw this job, Let me catch the next flight and go back home". But reality is reality and I have to work to get myself some bucks so that these things feel as wonderful as they seem to be. So here I am rotting in seattle again back to "Select * from.......". Chinni did not cry the first time I left for onsite, probably it didn't hit her that hard then, but this time around she had tears in her eyes when she bid me farewell at the airport. Maaannnn...... I want to go back home.
I cannot write about everything that I felt and did in 10 days at home, Blogger.com would run out of storage space (as if this is already not long enuf). But it is indeed puzzling and infuriating to know that "all some ppl can think of (and these ppl have a flair and liking for writing) to write after coming back to india after two years" is about some movie that reminds them of their exploits on the LAS Vegas Strip. GRRRRRRR.................................
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The movie started off with introducing 5 or 6 people in various economic classes in Mumbai, from various walks of life, going on with their daily chores. The bomb blasts are shown in graphics and stills, to avoid the audience from receiving too much of a brace, in the first 5-8 mins of the movie followed by a couple of more minutes. After this the focus completely shifts from the blast sites and moves on to show how this affects the daily life of all these 5-6 people. It shows how they realize that what they had been doing is not good for the society and how it affects it as a whole. This was totally unexpected from the viewers and it stuck a really nice chord. I call this a really feel good movie as against the karan johar flicks.
Personally I condemn emotional journalism and this aspect of the profit-centric-manipulative-media of our country has been criticized in a way that would definitely not upset or stir up an uproar but would at least make people in that profession sit up and think about it a little. Media is a great force in a democracy which helps make the common man’s opinion. Hence it should operate responsibly and report only the news, rather than loose all its purpose in an effort to make it sensational. The journalist learns it the hard way in the movie.
A talented but angry youth realizes that all Muslims are not terrorists and that they are affected as badly as everyone else in terrorist attacks. It dawns on him that an-eye-for-an-eye attitude would lead us to only piles of dead bodies. A not-well-to-do chai wala is furious with the way the affluent flaunt their money with total disregard and little respect for the people from the lower economic class of the society. Seeing these people panic gives him a kick but then he realizes that such acts of selfishness only make law enforcement more difficult for the police and also that such acts could turn out to be fatal in the end for common man.
A budding police officer is not happy with the slack in law enforcement in the society on the part of the police force. He is guided by a more senior officer about to retire who suddenly starts to doubt if his life was worth anything at all looking at his enthusiastic subordinate who wants to contribute to the society. In the end he passes on his wisdom to the junior officer that everything cannot change overnight and also that there are better ways of handling such situations. A well-to-do man with a white collar job narrowly escapes the blast and wonders if it worth it to stick to the country and in Mumbai or if he should also settle down for greener pastures in the US. He understands, in the end, that these are part of every big city in the world on this day and that it sure is not the end of the world.
All these characters have been played by really talented actors such as Soha Ali Khan, Madhavan, KK Menon, Irfan Khan and Paresh Rawal. Each one of them has tried to surpass the other and in the end have made it a real feel good movie. The director has more than succeeded in saying what he wanted to convey in a way that it lingers on but still does not hit the viewers with so much force that it derails them and makes them wonder as to where the world is headed to. One would really feel happy in the mind on viewing such movies amidst others, which either show scantily clad women or the ills and problems of the society to make a mark at the box office. A good movie for everyone.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The year started off with everyone warily going to the halls only after the New Year celebrations of 2008 to see Ram Shankar Nikumbh train a dyslexic kid to overcome his limitations. This movie tried to say something new to parents who are insanely in love with their children that they don’t realize that they live their children’s lives.
Though it had its own share of emotional crap, one could accept it from the perspective of a kid who is not able to voice his problem. It was a very good insight into how parents unknowingly shove their children into the competitive world drowning the inherent qualities and untapped talents. It also gives an idea to the viewer as to how a child needs to be with his/her parents especially in the case of such biological disorders. Aamir khan turned a good director and was successful in driving home the point that he intended with not much emotional crying scenes and drama. However matured one may be they still feel happy to see the kid in the movie go from being an underperformer to a stage where he handles his life better.
The second great movie of the year was called ‘A Wednesday’. With uncountable number of movies about bomb blasts and terrorism having hit the markets the viewer, at first, goes “Ohh…. Come on… Not another one of those special effects movies with cops talking in front of projectors and running around with sniffer dogs”. But the only thing that keeps the viewer keep on watching it is the fast-paced, no-nonsense screenplay which grips the viewer all thru the 120 odd minutes. It too, comes with a message, that with judicial systems where enquiry committees come up with the verdict of an investigation at a time when the next generation of the victimized are the current residents of the country, it is the common man who has to become more aware of all the dangers lurking at every corner in his day to day life. As we get into our comfort zones we tend to forget the wounds caused by these barbarians under the pretext of whatever they operate and normal life goes on until another one of those horrifying things happen. The best parts of the movie were its nice foolproof storyline and a great screenplay with the unexpected climax topping it all. Thank god no one talked the director into playing duets and songs in the middle to spice up the masala in the fast paced thriller.
My pick of the year is the ultimate story telling effort seen in a long-long time…. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Full credit to the very concept of the movie, Vikas Swarup , the guy behind the story line but HATS OFF to the director who made sure that a movie made from the perspective of Indian Cinema still appealed to the audiences across the world. This is what different out of the box thinking results in. The wealthy part of Bombay was not touched upon at all in the movie. Only the lower class and the evils of the society that plague them have been brought out. It is probably the best and realistic portrayal of the poor man’s Mumbai that people have got to see on the big screen. The movie moves in a fast pace with none of the flashbacks in the movie giving the user a drag. The best part of the movie is the BGM at its best. The parts of the movie that are supposed to be gripping are rendered with the desired effect with the help of the BGM. ARR has not been honoured with the golden globe award for any ordinary score. I firmly believe that the BGM score in a movie is best composed when it makes the viewer feel the pulse of the movie all through the length of the movie and keeps the viewer engrossed in the plot and happenings but still doesn’t get the attention to itself. When I first saw the movie I was awestruck by the screenplay and the way various events had been picturized that I simply did not acknowledge the music. I watched the movie again and consciously looked out for the BGM in various places and realized that the movie has taken refuge in its BGM in many places to sustain the viewers interest and it came as no surprise me that he was Chosen for the award.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Road ellam ennamo nalla thaan irukku….. Ana namma ooru maadiri “annan tea kadaila” ninnu oru route kekka miyudha, oru theru(“Exit” in US terms) vittuta aduttha oorukku thaan poganum. Ore roadku rendu moonu Name irukku, idha paakama vitta navigatora nongu edukkaraanunga……
Navigator: Navigator padhavi na enna nu theriyuma ya unakku
Yenni kavadhu Navigator seatla ukkandurukkiya ya,
Ukkandhu paaru, Oru Nalaiku ettana highway paakanum nu,
Evvalavu Sharp right, Evvalvu Slight Right, Evvalavu boulevard, Evvalavu avenue,
Evvalvu Street, Evvalvu Place, Etthana Fork, Etthana Lane
Ettana Sikkal, Ettana Tension nu Ukkandhurukkaravanukku thaan ya theriyum
Summa Yengayum Ninaichama Thirumbunama mudivedukka mudiyathu,
Oru turn miss pannina adha thola nokkoda yaarum ooru suttama poi serra maadiri thaan mudivedukka mudiyum, adha thaan naanum senjen……
Passenger: Sulabama edukka vendiya turna thoongikitte vittuputu ippo sappa kattu katreengale……
Navigator : Navigator Seatla ukkandha thookam varumnu soldren…….Unakku purila, Nee Ukkandhu paar….. Appo Theriyum….. Oru Naal….. Oru Naal…..Nee navigatora irundhu paar, Appo puriyum
Driver: Idhu seriyana badhil illiye, Naan eppadinga unga seatla ukkara mudiyum, apparam naan eppo thaan thoongarthu……..Idhu vadhathukku venumna nalla irukkalam, ana nadakkara kaariyama….
Navigator: Nadakkum, Driving sattathula adhukku edam irukku, Chinnadha oru map printout edukkalam, oru naal irundhu paaru ya…..
Passenger: Illa, Neenga joke panreenga
Navigator: Naan serious thaan soldren, Oru naan ennoda naarkali la ukkandhu paaru, Yen naarkali oru mul padukkai, Yen thalaila irukkarthu oru mul creedam nu unakku puriyum, adhulla enga sign boarda paakka mudiyum, enga muzhicchurukka mudiyathu nu unakku palicchunu puriyum. Adhukku apparam NAVIGATOR velai evvalo kashtamanadhunu neeye passenger makkalukku edutthu chollu.
Passenger: Illenga, adhu yen velai illeenga……
Navigator: Sonna udane jaga vaangara paathiya….. Adhan, Oru vandiyoda navigator kitta vilayada koodathungarthu…… Unna maadiri oru aal kitte neradiya oru velaiya kuduttha pinnalaye ukkandu thoongara paathiya…….
So Navigator wins....... Yaarum Navigatora korai solladheenga pa..........