Under the sun

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Menu Thaakkal

Found in the menu card in a restaurant near my place...

Gopi Manjurian
Chinise Chaps
American Chaps
Veg Noodless

Vendi Fry
Alu Matter
Alu Gopi
Alu Parotta
Cashmere Pulav
Butter Rotti

The first prize is shared between Chinise and American Chaps

I missed out on a lot more entries. Should have noted 'em down.....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BP Gold

Oblivious to the series of low-pressure build-ups in the Bay Of Bengal, there were certain happenings in recent times which would raise the already high blood pressure we have.
Out of the four times i've been in cop custody, the cops were justified in picking me up twice, and the other two times it was just for their month-end numbers and as a vent for their frustrations at being pathetic losers in life.
Nothing can explain the way the police have acted in Jaipur and Meerut.
I wonder why TV channels kept sympathizing about a 'missing' couple and the victims' embarrassment and at the same time repeatedly kept telecasting the scenes of the couples being beaten by the police. Let me tell you this - The Police sucks, big time! Let no illusions of "kaakka kaakka" and Captain Vijaykanth fool you. Only in the rarest of rare cases can you find good cops. Call me an extremist or whatever, i have felt a strong urge on more than one occassion to turn into a naxalite. The only reason i'm not one today is my middle-class mentality. Cops (i'm talking about the 99% majority) are worse than maggots - maggots live only off carcases.
Traffic constables at signals, night patrols, the railway police, beach patrols, discotheque raiders, cops selling tickets in black (in uniform!) @ Chepauk, lady constables targetting innocent "brothers" in eve-teasing raids, torture and "suicide" specialists, on-duty drunkards and rapists - you name, you got it!
Maybe my viewpoint is a subset of our Indian colelctive consciousness, because so many cops-bashing movies have done well in our country. Catharsis, in the absence of anything else.
The sense of rage i feel against that lady cop slapping the ladies is no less than what i feel for the rapist and murderer of Prathiba Shrikanth Murthy. Both have an identical mindset, only the crime/result is different.

P.S: Any counter-argument pointing out that we would all go running to the cops in case of any theft or robbery would be untenable. Of course, its their bloody job. They better protect and serve!

Mainstream Blogs and MSM

Remember the outrage and anger with which many prominent bloggers reacted when it was found that Gautam Bhaskaran wrote movie reviews [for The Hindu] which were actually lifted from reviews written in other newspapers like the NYT? The Hindu surely failed to live upto the lofty standards set by MSM big-wigs like our TOI, NYT and what have you?
Obfuscation, character-assasination, lack of objectivity, atrocious sense of priorities, personality-based reporting, sensationalism etc. can and have been found consistently throughout the world's MSM. In my book, propaganda built on lies [like the biggest lie of presence of WMD in Iraq] is a far greater crime (not mistake) than carrying plagiarized movie reviews.

Here is a case of bad-reporting, lack of objectivity, and outright lying, the culprit being The Guardian. At least, they apologized.

At a more general level, Noam Chomsky speaks about Fake News and Other Societal Woes.
An excerpt:
NoOne's Listening audio interview, On Fake News and Other Societal Woes (December 7, 2005)

There was a period, in the mid-19th century--that's the period of the freest press, both in England and in the US. And it's quite interesting to look back at it. Over the years, that's declined. It declined for two basic reasons. One reason is the increased capital that was required to run a competitive press. And as capital requirements increased, that of course lead to a more corporatized media. The other effect is advertisement. In the 19th century, the United States had something kind of approximating a market system. Now we have nothing like a market--they may teach you in economics courses, but that's not the way it works. And one of the signs of the decline of the market is advertisment. So if you have a real market you don't advertise: you just give information. For example, there are corners of the economy that do run like markets--for example stock markets. If you have ten shares of General Motors that you want to sell, you don't put up an ad on television with a sexy model holding up then ten shares saying "ask your broker if this is good for you; it's good for me," or something like that. What you do is you sell it at the market price. If you had a market for cars, toothpaste, or whatever, lifestyle drugs, you would do the same thing. GM would put up a brief notice saying here's the information about our models. Well, you've seen television ads, so I don't have to tell you how it works. The idea is to delude and deceive people with imagery.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Rama Shama Bhama

aruL migu ALavandhAr pOtRi
thiruyulaga thiruvaLLuvar pOtRi pOtRi
sarvam kamalArpaNam

Reached Bengaluru overcoming a few obstacles. When i told my ex-rommies that the sole purpose of my visit was to watch Aandavar's movie, the reactions were mixed. However, since i made it clear that opinion or feedback in this regard was not solicited, we left it at that and the beer flowed. I, Cinefan (Ajay), and Jaiganes (who was coming with his wife) were supposed to meet at the Garuda mall, Inox theatre at 6PM. The beer stopped flowing just before that, to be resumed after my dharshan. Reached a bit late and after the initial intro went straight into the theatre. I had told myself umpteen number of times to behave, lest i embarass Cinefan , Mr and Mrs. Jaiganes. However, the first sign of trouble came when Aandavar's images came in the titles and i lost my control. Ditto with the intro scene. Sorry guys :(
By now everyone, even those who haven't watched RSB would know that it's not a frame-by-frame remake of the original and also that remakes seldom match the original (with exceptions like kurudhippunal). To keep up with the times, the changes made, in my opinion, meant that the subtely (a.k.a Balu Mahendra), which was the USP of Sathi Leelavathi was sacrificed. The music was not as bad as some have said. In fact, it was much better than the crap which some of the MDs in Tamil have been churning out, especially in re-recording. I also wish some of the scenes were copied as they were in the original. I felt Ramesh did a better job in the original. As for the supporting cast, everyone does a decent job, and Daisy Bopanna outdoes Heera.
Well, what can one say about Padmashree Dr. Kamal Haasan? A LOT, but that's besides the point. Watch it to understand the magnitude of His versatility. I'm tired of the opinions of some self-professed pundits - Kamal Haasan is not as good an actor as Mohanlal, Naseeruddin Shah or Om Puri. These people ought to check themselves in to a drug rehab center. Create an Excel file. Put these names in 3 columns. List the noteworhty performances of these greats of Indian cinema. Cross your heart, who do you think would have touched the widest gamut of roles? What about the number of languages? Dialects and accents? Appearance, makeup, get-ups? How about acting styles - pure method, underplay (this is often held in favor of someone like ML and against KH), stage-style, emotions, expressions. I could go on, but blogger.com would run out of SAN space.
Another myth which ought to bite the dust is that Kamal Haasan dominates and doesn't give others space. Name another actor who would don the role of a hen-pecked husband with someone like Kovai Sarala or Shruthi opposite him. And this is just ONE example.
[Oh, i keep forgetting that this post is about RSB :)..... ]

It would be impossible to match Kovai Sarala's performance in the original but Shruthi does a very good job. Cinefan tells me that her accent is flawless whereas Sir's, though not perfect, doesn't have the Tamil vaadai.

Ramesh has changed the climax a wee bit and it was hilarious no doubt but i felt it could have been shortened just a little bit.
Cribs apart, ample credit is due to Ramesh Arvind.

Audience reaction: Well received, i should say, but there were a few brief moments of lull. The climax, though, takes the movie to its rightful place.

Useless stats: In Magestic, there were 2 gaint cut-outs, garlanded like nobody's business. The banner count was around 20, same with the posters and 3 producer (or theatre) sponsored banners. Monday 1:30 PM show was housefull, and the next show was heading for a full house as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm not a TAMil

One of my cousins got married recently. Since i generally don't like to attend weddings and more so if there's nobody in my age to give me company, my folks had to literally drag me on. After seeing my cousin and his wife stand with a constant smile on their faces with a sense of pity [not at his post-marital plight but i hate the idea of making the couple sit/stand before a never ending procession of people, giving the same answers to the same questions with the same expression on their faces], i wished the couple and gave my gift and settled in the back row to watch the cine music concert by Shankar Mahadevan and Mahalaxmi. SM did a great rendition of his own hit "Breathless" and a few Hindi film hits. He did a very good job of improvizing ARR's smash hit "Take it easy Urvasi". He interacted with the audience to get their feel and feedback. He said he would be doing Hindi and Tamil film numbers and polled the audience if they would like to listen to Tamil songs. Appalingly, only a very few [about 20%] answered in the affirmative. The bride's family had settled in Dubai many years back and looking at the family members, there was not a single attribute of Tamil identity. A good number of people in the audience were almost embarrassed with the Tamil tag being associated with them. I've found this to be very pronounced with the Tamil Brahmin community in Mumbai. Generally, this trait can be found amongst Brahmins albeit not being exclusive to them alone - the trait of assuming a superior liking and relation towards a pan-Hindi or anglicized culture. While it is normal and natural for people to adopt the culture of the place they live in, finding this in Chennai was a bit strange. For every individual, the mother tongue gives him/her the first kind of identity, followed by the culture he/she lives in. Every other notion of identity like religion and nation, comes after these two and they are not natural like the former, but imposed upon. That said, pragmatically, unnatural identities like nationality do serve useful purposes and might also be necessary. The balance between the two is delicate indeed.
After a while, discarding these reflections which don't serve any practical purpose, i proceeded to the more important task of preying upon the spread of Arusuvai Natrajan's dinner.....

P.S: A few months back in my work place, we received an EMail informing that we could come dressed in ethnic-wear on the eve of Deepavali (i think). It carried the note that veshti's were not allowed!

Monday, December 12, 2005



I am autofellowautofellow
Four knowing route fellow
Justice having rate fellow
Goodpeople mix fellow
Nice singing song fellow
Gandhi borning countryfellow
Stick take means hunter fellow
Big people's relationfellow
Mercy having mind fellow da
I am all poor's relative fellowda
I am always poor people's relative fellow da

Achak means achakonly; Gumuk means gumuk only
Achak means achak only; Gumuk means gumukonly

Town become big, population become big
Bus expecting, half ageover
Life become hectic in time, exist in corner of street
Ada eyebeat means love coming they telling
You hand clap means auto coming Itelling
Front coming look, this three-wheel chariot
Good come andarrive, you trust and climb up
Mercy having mind fellow da
I am alwayspoor people's relative fellow da

Achak means achak only; Gumuk meansgumuk only
Achak means achak only; Gumuk means gumuk only

Mummymotherfolk, danger not leave
Heat or cyclone, never I never tell
Therethere hunger take means, many savoury
Measurement food is one time
Forpregnancy I come free mummy
Your child also name one I keepmummy
Letter lacking person ada trusting us and coming
Address lackingstreet ada auto fellow knowing

Achak means achak only ; Gumuk meansgumuk only
Achak means achak only ; Gumuk means gumuk only

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Second only to the ubiqitous booze/dum, movies can be the best anti-depressants. Two nights before, i watched 3 1/2 movies on the trot and was still craving for more, when sleep finally attacked. And unlike booze or dum, there are no harmful after-effects.
The Terminal - Tom Hanks excels but a little disappointed with the feel-good American candy type treatment by Speilberg
Blood Simple - Brilliant debut by the Coen brothers
The Rainmaker - A good film by Francis Ford Copolla, based on John Grisham's novel
C U at 9 - Probably the worst Bollywood soft-porn movie in recent times.
Strangely, this ran for more than 100 days in Anand theatre, Chennai. Even for people watching it just for the "matter" (like me), the acting(?) is unbearable and you can't watch a scene for more than 5 seconds. Reaffirms my conviction that Bollywood needs to jettison its obsession with hip urban style and form to get even a semblance of quality in its films. When it comes to Bollywood soft-porn (euphemistically called 'bold' films) there are exceptions like the film Murder. Not only was the "matter" there, the acting was very decent and the music was great, the fact that it was a copy of Unfaithful notwithstanding.