Under the sun

Friday, February 24, 2006


Jethro Tull's Bouree has unmistakable shades of...., yes, Ilaiyaraaja. Check out the bass line, especially. Nothing like classic rock with or without booze. This is one genre which i think will never die, like classical music. Thanks to Yahoo radio, i'm hooked onto music in office. I always believe office is the best browsing center you can find. If they would only serve chilled beer, it would be the ultimate. Can't get everything, i know. Let the music flow and drown out everything else.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Miles To Go But He Slept

I would not think of quarreling with your interpretation nor offering any other, as I have found it always the best policy to allow the film to speak for itself.
- Stanley Kubrick

If The Shining impressed, Clockwork Orange made me stare in shock and awe, 2001 A Space Odyssey left me speechless and wordless. A masterpiece, irrespective of being dismissed by many at the time of its release. If you think Star Wars or Spielberg's sci-fi movies are the ultimate, 2001 will easily make them look like cartoons. Most of Kubrick's works attained critical acclaim quite a while after the time of their release. Having watched all his movies, I often wonder in dismay why Kubrick hadn't made more movies. Well, he had miles to go, but he just got drowsy and slept, during the postproduction of Eyes Wide Shut in 1999.
His Full Metal Jacket was overshadowed by Oliver Stone's "feel good" film Platoon, his unfinished Artificial Intelligence [A.I], was completed by his 'disciple' Steven Spielberg.
To me, however, its a colossal misfortune that he never got to make what would have been the grandest biopic on Napoleon [played by Jack Nicholson] and Aryan Papers, a movie on the holocaust.

Imagine a battle scene in his Napoleon, were it to be made. Nothing like what we have seen so far, including his own movies. He lets the movie move in its own pace, though he was very economic in his expression in his earlier works. Every frame has an intensity. He lets the images do the talking and smugly sits back . I haven't seen either Sergei Bondarchuk's epic film version of Tolstoy's War and Peace or the Napoleon-themed Waterloo , the release and failure of the two films, respectively, because of which Napoleon was said to be shelved. Yet, i like to think Kubrick would have leaped ahead easily in his work.
Being the son of Polish jews settled in America, he always wanted to make a movie on the holocaust, though he was often haunted by it and wondered if a movie could do justice to the subject. He set to work on Aryan Papers and had even completed the preproduction work when Spielberg's Schindler's List was ready to be released. Allegedly fearing to lose the first-mover advantage, he shelved Aryan Papers also. Later, he would comment on being asked if SL was a holocaust movie,
Think that's about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn't it? The Holocaust is about six million people who get killed. `Schindler's List' is about 600 who don't
Life isn't fair but indifferent, if not cruel. Kubrick would be the first man to accept and live by this.

P.S: Doesn't all this remind one about our own genius and Marudhanayagam?

Sources: Wiki, this and more....

Friday, February 17, 2006


idhayam enbadhu sadhai dhAn endrAl erithazhal nindru vidum
anbin karuvi idhayam endrAl sAvai vendru vidum!

Athigam pEsum adiyArkellAm sivamE anbAgum
nAthigam pEsum nallavarukkO anbE sivamAgum!

Feb 18, Saturday 5:30 PM on Sun TV


Classical Kuthu

Nobody has acheived the almost perfect marriage of the classical with the "local" like Ilaiyaraaja has. I have 4 songs in mind which are as timeless as a typical IR song and at the same time induce an involuntary urge in the listener to get up [even if in deep sleep] and dance, or at least dance mentally, if you will.
Needless to say, the list is not exhaustive.

1) Ada Maapillai [Siva]: Rendered by the one and only SPB and set to kApi rAga, this is one hell of a "local" song, though not fully kuthu, devotedly following the course of the rAga it is based upon.
This song engages the listener right from the second SPB goes "indha ooril, pala pera paathuputeen.....". Watch out for the first interlude which flows like a river [like most of IR's songs]. This song is characterized by minimalistic but essential use of instruments, percussion or otherwise, a factor which distinguishes IR from other MDs. This song is also special to me because it is sung by "SPB" Balaji, a member of the Ilaiyaaraja Yahoo Group fan club [see "Links" sidebar] in every one of our meetings, complete with chorus and the interludes done vocally by Balaji!

2) Thanni Thotti [Sindhu Bhairavi]: A quintessential song in every 'drunk-listener' list. I mean, when i'm drinking, what better line to hear than "Saarayatha oothu, ada jennala thaan saathu!"? *
Another kApi gem. Depending on your mindset, this can be comic or tragic, when watched. To me, Sivakumar has always been a very good comedy actor. And i really mean it as a compliment. Seriously.

3) Oora vittu ooru vandhu [Karagattakkaaran]: IR-Malaysia Vasudevan combo is a very successful one. You can't think of many "happy" songs or non-devotional songs in shaNmugappriyA in TFM. This is one of them. Women might like the song just a wee bit more [watching the song] than men because of their favorite Ramarajan dancing in it

4) Kaadhal Kasakkudhayya [Some Pandiarajan *er]: Very similar to the aforementioned. All the points, including the point about women liking it more

P.S: All these fundas about rAgas might give an impression that this writer has sound knowledge on rAgas and all. If you can't see through that, so be it :)

* - I know, there is "Sorgam Madhuvile", but that's out of scope as far as this post is concerned.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Velappan Day

Do couples in their right minds really celebrate things/days like Velappan Day and all?
Beats me.....

Monday, February 13, 2006


  • Yes, i know but i still choose to be detached from Indian cricket [read as SRT]. Yes, even after today and the first two matches. You never know... [Feb 14 Update: Indhaa! ]
  • Got my Canon IXUS-D55 digital camera finally. Small. Good
  • Why do people [especially in the blogosphere] judge a statement or information by the source and not by the merit of the info itself? Especially if it has anything to do with The Hindu, starting with 'com', left, muslim and so on??? I really wonder. A wall of cultural, economic and political prejudice. An impregnable wall at that.
  • Is it just me or is Chennai not as hot as it ought to be at this time of the year?
  • What gift do we give President Bush when he comes visiting us?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sun Tech Days

Wanting to break free from the mid-numbing joblesness at work [talk about oxymorons!], decided to attend Sun Tech days at the Chennai Trade Center yesterday. For the better part of the two days, it turned out to be a marketing excercise - not surprisingly, with very little technical value arising out of it. It was sad in a way to see Sun, my drea company once, where they are now. The crowd was unprecendented. Infact, so huge that it annoyed me to no end during lunch. I love my food and don't like competition or waiting when i'm hogging.
As strange as it sounds, there was a concert featuring Mandolin Rajesh, Sivamani and Vikku Vinayakaram in the evening. It was short but worth every minute. pinni pedal eduthuttainga!
No beer this time, though. When i attended Tech Days a few years back in Bangalore, beer was on the house on the first evening. The hotel premises looked like a wine shop with chips, puke and other garbage lying on the floor. Understandably, there was no beer the next evening. idam poruL Eval vEndum....
Today, the proceedings got so boring and i got so drowsy that i decided to come back to the office and live with my joblesness.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Say No To Saravana Bhavan

Inspired by Keerthi's kumural, i follow suit.
If ever there was any brand that is hyped up beyond any rational proportion [price-quality-taste-quantity factor], it is Saravana Bhavan. In fact, they have taken the suckers [public] for a ride worldwide, and that's a travesty. Demonstrates the evil effects of propaganda. We even begin to think we like what we eat, what we eat is enough given the exorbitant price we pay for it. I am not included in this WE, thank you. I boycotted SB a long time back [i have had to go there twice or thrice since then due to unavoidable circumstances].
Parotta, the size of a poori, with a sole slice of carrot, a pesi-cap full of kurma is a sample for me and NOT something which can sate my hunger. I even asked the waiter once, "sample nalla irukku. Dish kondu vaanga". The paneer cubes are weapons of mass destruction, either when hurled or when consumed. The Man behid SB is behind bars, but still he manages to run his cartel. Lets put a stop to this.

P.S: Next on the list is Murugan Idly Kadai

Rang De Basanti

It's much better than a Shankar movie but not as good as what the hype would like me to believe. Whatever expectations i had evaporated in the first half, the biggest disappointment being ARR's background score [barring glimpses of brilliance like the title music], and Aamir Khan's over-the-top take of a typical Dilli da puttar. AK has to move beyond his eye-brow raising flirtatious routine.
The narrative. History repeats itself. Lives and characters are born again. The screenplay fuses flashbacks with jump-cuts to the present. Maybe the narrative can be seen as one of the pluses of the film. Though not necessarily bad it didn't strike a chord nor stir me up into attention. In many such transformation scenes, ARR's score was a let down.
While Aamir's characterization was realistic enough, i must say i began to get tired of his antics. And Sharman Joshi is plain irritating, with his role being reduced to a cliched caricature. Commercial elements, they would say. Sidharth comes, smokes, stares and goes. Underplayed? I would rather say, dull, conspicuous trying to be inconspicuous. Alice Patten's and Toby Steven's roles in Mangal Pandey look similar to me. She and Soha Ali Khan are cast aptly, IMO. Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kohli fare much better, being restrained and expressive,as the scene demands. One sees unmistakable shades of Hey Ram's Shriram Abhyankar in Kulkarni.
The second half is definitely the better half, though the Hollywood-like "feel good" syndrome makes its presence felt now and then. Making wisecracks, laughing and singing whilst death is staring is ok as long as the undercurrent of tension, fear or plain shock is maintained [yes, subtly!] in the characters. Laughing, after being hit by machine-gun fire is not only exasperatingly cliched, it represents what i think is the worst of Hollywood. "Feel good" makes me feel bad. Why is Bollywood ashamed of our locales? Why is it always about trendy clothing, swanky bars, and the works? Or am i letting bias get in the way of better judgement once too often?
Thematically, this movie screams home an important point - don't hide behind blame games or fancy words like patriotism if you aren't willing to be part of it and get your hands dirty. Shankar, for all your attempts till now, there is one movie which conveys what you have wanted, want and will keep wanting to convey. It does it better than you do. nothing more, nothing less. More than that, the chosen vehicle is what i agreed with most in the movie - The state machinery and its role in crushing rightful dissent and suppressing questions*. The terrorist "twist" was the highlight of the movie for me. I have very strong and politically incorrect views on the subject and hence i "O puttufy" for Rang De Basanti on this one!

* There was this film by Bharathiraaja called "En Uyir Thozhan", starring Delhi Babu [who is now sadly, bed-ridden] which talks about the betrayal of a loyal party worker who virtually worships his party. The film is about how he and the people awake. A very good movie, in its own way, and not surprisingly it bombed at the BO.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I no longer watch cricket unless the OZs are playing. It has to do with the form of The Great Man. God, maybe its time for you to bid adieu. There will be none like you. Shine On You Crazy Diamond.....

P.S: Fuck, the ungrateful people have such a short memory!