Under the sun

Monday, November 28, 2005


Just got a couple of days more to break my spell of crippling bankruptcy. Murphy's law of "If a thing can go wrong, it will" took its own rightful course as expected.
On a solitary Saturday afternoon, i decided to watch Adhu Oru Kana Kalam only to be told by the Auto driver that they had taken it off the screens. I had to contend with ABCD [and 2 banners made for actress Aparna!]. I would have been back in home in 15 minutes had it not been raining that hard. Fortunately, by interval time, the rain had stopped and i bolted out of the theatre. Thank goodness i hadn't called any of my friends for this one.

Last night was not so bad. Watched Gharam Masala in Anu Ega. Actually, we had a tough time deciding which movie to watch - GM or Deewane Huye Pagal. Finally, the former was the unanimously selected option based on the number of babes standing in the respective counters. A typical timepass comedy with a good performance by Paresh Rawal, as expected and a surprisingly apt performance by Akshay Kumar. John Abraham, however, can't act for nuts.

Got this SMS from my bro:
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger - Madonna on MTV

Absolutely true!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Satyajit Speaks

Only A Rasika Can Appreciate A Work Of Art
It is not easy to define what gives a film the distinction of a work of art. Some definitions will emerge in course of this talk, but it is necessary at this point to stress the fact that to be able to tell a work of art from a work of mere craftsmanship calls for a trained response. In other words, it calls for what the shastras define as a rasika. One wouldn't think so from the way seemingly learned opinions on this or that film are brandied about by all and sundry.

Nevertheless, it is true that serious, accomplished films-films which use the language of cinema with insight and imagination-challenge our sensibilities in the same way as the more rarefied forms of music, painting and literature. Even an apparently simple film which makes a direct impact on the emotions may call for understanding.

The fact that some of the leading Bengali writers of the time-Sailajananda Mukherji, Premankur Atarthi, Premchandra Mitra, Saradindu Bandopadhyay-were involved in films as writers or directors or both, did little to improve the quality of Bengali films. When writing for films or directing them, they seemed to assume a totally different identity, and aim at the lowest of lowbrows. The idea seemed to be that cinema being a popular medium it should only lightly divert and not seriously engage the audience. That it was possible for a film to do both seems not to have struck them at all.

(The cinema) people were determined not to encroach into areas which would endanger the safety of their positions. What was singularly lacking was the spirit of adventure. Everyone played safe, and the result was stagnation.

Unfortunately, this double function of artist and entertainer was rarely sustained in the period of sound. Popular entertainment, too often, came to mean films of overt escapism, where the artist was conspicuous by his absence.

On Critics
A critic earns the right to analyse the merits and demerits of a film only when he has a true understanding of the art. He must be able to judge every aspect of film-making, from writing the scenario to its editing. In other words, he must always remember that cinema is a joint venture.

In my view, a critic performs a useful purpose only when he is able to build a bridge between the director and the audience. That is his main responsibility. A critic has to be a connoisseur since he makes a living out of making appraisals. Where a film is simple as well as good, the critic's responsibility is diminished because the viewer can appreciate its excellence without the critic's help. But there are some films which can be understood only if the viewer has the necessary knowledge and perception. In such a case, a critic has to step in and perform the role of a teacher.
Thus spake Satyajit Ray on cinema....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thalaivar, Thunaivi and Thalaivi

Recognize the lady in the pic above? [look behind Aandavar!]

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


  • So loLLu Prasad and family are out. That's good news though the Hindutva brigade has stomped home to power. 15 years of bullshit is just a little bit too long. And what the hell did Srinivasan "Stuttering" Jain mean when he was mouthing inanities which went like this: "Hope Laloo's exit pave the way for better governance and development. On the other hand, the political scene will not be as interesting". I don't remember the exact words but he felt more aggreived by Laloo's exit than about the issues that matter. Somebody please tell that fucker that peoples lives, govt policies and issues are more important than personality worship that our mainstream media is obsessed with.
  • RSS chief Sudharshan deserves the Dumbass and Hitler of India awards, were they to exist. Can somebody tell him that a vast majority of His Hindus are struggling to make ends meet, and having more kids mean more trouble for them? Are women (leave alone just Hindu women) mere baby-popping machines? Doesn't he understand that more than the Hindu motive, a woman's consent and physical condition to bear a child is more much important? He's got to get one fact drilled into his thick clay-filled Hindu head that unlike him and his Hindutva cronies, people have far more important things in life than to worry about the "declining" Hindu population. Sudharshan, you can shove your Hindu-majority fixation up your silly ass!
  • The truth is coming out that The American terrorists used White Posphorous (chemical weapon) in their missiles and bombs in the Fallujah offensive. The American Terrorists claim that they used it only against insurgents and fighters. Who would buy that, considering that any man of "fighting age" was a potential insurgent, that most of the civilians were IN Fallujah, all houses were treated like insurgent hideouts and bombed before anyone had the chance to get out, that insurgents don't live in an isolated utopia and the impact on the civilians wouldn't be any lesser owing to their proximity to the "action", that it is illegal according to the chemical weapons convention? Forget all that, the very act of invasion by the terrorist state America is illegal, and to a dead human, it doesn't matter a whit whether he/she was killed by a chemical weapon or not.
  • Now that the Chennai one-day has been washed off, i won't be surprised if the jerks at BCCI take their typical knee-jerk reaction of not allotting matches to Chennai AT ALL, while their actual mistake is allotting matches when its monsoon time down here. Its sad that a venue like Bangalore where the pitch is by no means of international or sporting quality upstaging Chennai repeatedly in the recent past.
  • Guess who were the first [and perhaps only?] political group to voice their support for Kushboo and Suhasini? Yeah, The Lefties..... Attack me! [Vadivel style]

Monday, November 21, 2005

Streetcar Named Desire

Been wanting to post on this for a while now and came across this in Teakadai

All junk food junkies and kayyendhi bhavan aficionados would have their personal favorites of their own streetcars named gastronomic-desire.

Mine starts from that Bhel Puri vandi in Saibaba Colony, Coimbatore. At Rs.3/5 per plate [1989-1993], you had value for money meeting taste. Magic! It was as unauthentic as it got, but who complains as long as it tastes great, eh?

There are two in Anna Nagar, Chennai.
One is Shankar Chat Bandar opposite Jessie Mosses school, where you get, in my not so humble opinion, the best chat in the country [that includes Delhi proper, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore].
The other, is the best place for breakfast in Chennai. Its located right opposite to Anna Tower. On a hungry "hung-over" morning, eating pongal vadai and poori masal is an experience in itself. The food is not only supremely tasty, its surprisingly hygienic too. Not to be missed at any cost.

It would be unfair not to mention Shankar Kadai in Bazaar Street, Ulsoor. It has sated my hunger many a morning and evening. Thank you, Shankar.

November Rain

Vidinja Kalyaanam, aana mazhai ippadi pinnudhu!
Got a D stand ticket in black but now what?

These guys give me hope:

GNR singin'
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain
and SPB singin'

Megam Kottattum Aattam Undu

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Off To Afghanistan

Has anyone considered applying for emigration to a province in Afghanistan, which still continues to be a Taliban strangle-hold. Contrary to popular belief, students can wear scarves in shools and colleges [if at all any student or school exist], citizens don't need to take a Brit.. opps, sorry Afghanistan loyalty test, there is no Patriot Act to be passed, and hold your breath - premarital safe-sex and speaking about it is totally accepted. Well, OK that's a bit too much. Hey, at least the Taliban never claimed to have a constitution which guaranteed the freedom of speech and expression. Whatever you accuse them of, you can't accuse them of hypocrisy. Here, maybe i can get away with almost anything by virtue of being a male, but who knows? Wearing black colored boxer briefs or signing in English might soon cause some section of the Tamil Nadu populace to feel that it offends Tamil culture. Out there, women are treated as objects and are oppressed and told so in as many words about their standing. They aren't given rhetorical hot wind about equal rights and the ancient Tamil tradition of upholding women's rights and hounded for speaking their mind. Food might be a problem but one might manage to find some bread crumbs and when it gets really worrysome, there's always some embargo and precision bombed carcasses to feast on. You can't ask for the moon, you know. The gift horse shan't be looked in the mouth. Thank you, Uncle Sam - i owe you one.
I don't know if they heard about electricity in those parts, [computers? How much is a kilo?] but you can still have hopes of continuing my blogging through your grandchildren, God [U.S] willing.

If the whole film fraternity can't afford to stand up for Kushboo and Suhasini, what can one say? What Arundhati Roy declared after the Pokhran tests rings true even to this day, though the context is totally different, especially in light of the pounding the two actresses have been subjected to.

Perhaps both of them would relate to Arundhati's words:

If protesting against having a nuclear bomb implanted in my brain is anti-Hindu and anti-national, then I secede. I hereby declare myself an independent, mobile republic. I am a citizen of the earth. I own no territory. I have no flag. I'm female, but have nothing against eunuchs. My policies are simple. I'm willing to sign any nuclear non-proliferation treaty or nuclear test ban treaty that's going. Immigrants are welcome. You can help me design our flag

D Stand Blues

Blame it on my inaction. Or my friends'. I'm not watching the November 22 match from the D stand in Chepauk.
If there's a cricketing jannat in this world, it is right here in the D Stand. Why?

1. If Chennai has the most knowledgable and sporting crowd in India, then in Chepauk, it is the D Stand. Remember Saeed Anwar's 194 in 1997, Afridi's century and the standing ovation for the Pakistan team taking a lap of honour after their (in)famous win in 1999 (our kids couldn't knock off a few runs and instead the blame went to Sachin, inspite of his incredible 139, fighting excruciating back pain)?

2. The view. You are staring straight down the pitch. Bang opposite to the pavilion

3. The characters: Munnusami, the peanut seller (once Kris Srikkanth's buddy), "Dance" Thatha-dancing with his poonal running across his pot belly, the Rajinikanth imitator and the division/league cricketers

4. The atmosphere. Some of the most memorable moments of my life have come in the D-Stand, none more memorable than Sachin's 155* against Australia in 1998 and Sachin's 139 against Pakistan in 1999.

Fuck it! This time, if at all i'm lucky, i could get to watch it from the square on view in B or C stand :(

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Suicides and Sivakasi

The public mind is always manipulated, either intentionally or as a kind of unintended side-effect. We see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe. When new light is thrown which suggests something contrary to our long-held beliefs and dogma, we suffer from cognitive dissonance. I'm no exception to the rule, but the important thing is having diagnosed it, i can work towards minimizing and ultimately eliminating the dissonance.

The first case in point is the issue of the merits(?) of what is now called as globalization in general and farmers' suicides in particular. Senthil has done a good job of putting it in perspective here, so i won't attempt to reiterate the obvious.

Secondly, there is this phenomenon which seems to have gripped the collective mass consciousness of the TN youth, elite, urban or rural. I'm talking about the Vijay-mania and the unbelievable praise heaped on his latest offering Sivakasi*. I suspect it has something to do with the mentality which (assuming a superior grasp of economics) assumes that the market is the ultimate god and whatever it decides is necessarily for the good. What can i say???.....
Like the line goes in Kurudhippunal, "I feel i'm on the losing side".......

Update: [How did i forget to include THIS?????]
Taken from Sify:
Vijay’s Sivakasi, in spite of heavy rains crackled the most at the Tamilnadu box-office. It took a 100 percent opening in the first three days all over. At Kolathur Ganga theatre, a suburb of Chennai the film grossed an amazing Rs 7.26 Lakhs on Diwali day!

Now, take out your calculators [dunno about you but i'm not very good at math]. Taking into consideration factors such as # of seats, price per ticket @ the counter [not in black], and # of shows, which dumbass would believe the aforementioned statement? Well, he did!
As a preemptive defence, i will refuse to eat my hat if i'm proved wrong, subsequently. Amaam, solliptaen!

* He has been touted as the next Super Star. There are two schools of thoughts on this. One says he can never be the Super Star simply because he can never match the SS trying to do the stuff which made the original a SS in the first place. The other says that he is slowly but surely getting "there", and he is matching SS in what he does. To me, this sounds like the Republicans and the Democrats fighting over who would have done a better job of the genocide at Iraq. By the way, never mind the third school, of which i'm a member. Nobody is listening :)

Monday, November 07, 2005

kalaiyin pirandhanAL

Kalayai Kaasaakkum Ikkaalathil
Kalayai Swasikkum Engal Annan
Ulaganayagan Kalaignani Padmashree Dr.Kamal Haasan Ayyavukku
Bhakkthakodigal koorum pirandha naal vazhthukkal!

Unmayaana kalaignan Virumaandi
Saatchi solla sandhiran varuvandi!

Nathigam pesum nallavurukku
Naam muzhanguvom pirandhanal nalvazhthu....

Padayeduthu miratta varum engal Marudhanayaga
Paadhavanakkam endrum unakke engal VIRUDHU NAYAGA!

Here's wishing the
par excellence Universal Hero Padmashree Dr. Kamal Haasan a very happy
birthday. In an industry where crass is celebrated over class,
mediocrity is hailed as entertainment, WE SAULTE THE TRUE ARTIST KAMAL SIR

Bala (Karthik)
Devi Paradise
Unit Kamal Bhakthargal

Please join me in wishing The Living Legend and seek the blessings of The Alwarpet Almighty in this auspicious day!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yet Another Deepavali

For me of late, Deepavali is more of a cultural event than a religious one just like Christmas or Ramzan, and this is a phenomenon unique to India. Been missing out on the crackers thing more out of laziness than the lack of interest in it. There's a child in everyone of us and the spoilt little brat is alive and kicking in me. However, no crackers this time around too, for the same reason. Usually, the food and the TV programmes make up for it. Though the food part was taken care of this year, the latter was a big let down. I suffered from a severe case of Vijay-sickness, caused by an OD of Vijay's image-boosting rubbish shown on every channel from Sun TV to SS Music. This, even considering that i managed to change the channel as soon as Ilayathalavali and his fans' faces were shown. Every Diwali has its share of stars' films hitting the silver screen but this year i can't understand the deluge of Vijay mania. On a lesser scale, we had a procession of Chiyaan's chair-turning interviews and fan-calls. The only interviews i could bear to watch were of Surya and even in the few minutes of the interviews i watched, he mentioned Kamal Haasan more than once, and importantly, not just in the diplomatic way, as other actors do.

Just when i was into Ilaiyaraaja's concert on TV, i was invited for lunch at my relative's place as it was my cousin's thalai-Deepavali. My folks had promised my uncle that i would be having lunch with them when i was not there. Thank god it was just a lunch and not any commitment about my marriage!
If missing the concert for the 10 minutes of lunch was not enough, my cousin's family were so engrossed in watching Padayappa, that no conversation existed, and needless to say, for all it mattered, my presence or absence wouldn't have mattered till the ad-break came. My inconspicuous presence was actually to my advantage. However, Padayappa [poor Sivaji Ganesan!] was driving me nuts. Imagine, choosing Padayappa over Ilaiyaraaja's concert with Kamal Sir present. That, for me, was The Ultimate. Not having even an iota of diplomatic pleasantness in me, i was afraid i would exhibit the displeasure at being insulted in this manner till an idea struck me. I messaged a friend to call me in exactly 3 minutes, and started downing my lunch as though i hadn't tasted food for a week. The 3 minutes were critical because not only was Kamal Sir scheduled to make his entry in the concert and sitting through Padayappa at such a juncture was the ultimate insult, but also that i had to avoid the "scene" i would create were i to finish my lunch, was my hands and leave right away. Thankfully, the plan worked to perfection. The call came just when i washed my hands, and i was speaking as though it was an important official call and the signal was not clear inside the house. Not only did i manage a "graceful exit" [in geek-speak], i also managed not to miss thalaivar on TV. Sometimes you need all the luck to counter your Murphian bad luck!