Under the sun

Friday, March 31, 2006


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Entertainment Unlimited

Nature has a way of throwing up pleasant surprises now and then, gauging your mood and the situation you are in. Just when i was getting bored, there comes along this gem . It's funny how some people try to hurt you and inflict maximum damage but end up entertaining you and give you a hearty laugh. More than what the bargain asks for :)
Sometimes, you i think we should do away with moderation! Only sometimes, mind you...

Like Vadivel exclaims,
Hayyo hayyo :)

Update: As much fun it was reading the comments of anonymous people of anonymous fathers, i guess a line has to be drawn somewhere. All good things must come to an end (sigh)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Arthamatra (H)indhu Madham - I

Dedicated to Viji (wink!)
  • This is not a treatise on religion in general or Hinduism in particular, nor am i well read in the Hindu philosophies and vedic texts
  • This is just another rant
  • Whether i am a theist or an atheist or an agnostic is immaterial. And no pointers to other religions, please. They all suck just as much as this does
  • I know of sages controlling their thoughts, reading other people's past and future, and even controlling their heart beats. I also know of astrological and naadi josiyam predictions coming true and suchlike. However, in my opinion, all that is neither relevant to this topic nor would the absence of those alter the world drastically.
  • If a non-believer turns into a believer over time, it does not necessarily alter the state of his once-held-atheistic-beliefs. Rather, it may mean that he has shifted his goal posts, whatever maybe his motivations; possibly the Freudian "cathartic" guilt-eraser
There is a school of thought which says if not for religion, we would still be barbaric nomads, baying for each other's blood and living like beasts. Let us assume, for this argument's sake that this is indeed true, and also ignore the fact that humankind still is a barbaric species. We have no way of verifying the truth of this claim [or the possible counter-claim that the world would have been a better place without religion]. To take William James' pragmatic approach would require us not to indulge in these hypotheses but to instead reflect on current realities.
Do the believers know what the real purpose of Hinduism is? If they do how many of them have acheived that goal? How and when do they know that they have acheived it? Is there any goal at all, or like our circus clown L.K Advani often proclaims, is Hinduism "a way of life"? Does any of them practice what they read or chant? Do the teachings operate in their everyday functioning?
My Project Lead recently suffered the colossal misfortune of his mother's death. He took leave for 13 days and came back one Monday, looking lost and shaken, needless to say. He is a very sincere, kind-hearted and hard working individual. That day, sometime during lunch time, when we were discussing where we could go for lunch, he replied to someone's question that he had restrictions in sleeping, shaving and eating for 'n' number of days [not sure how many]. He then remarked, "I'd better watch what i eat for these 'n' days". What the hell was that? Why the hell should anyone be "instructed" on how to mourn for your departed loved ones? Why not maintain those restrictions till you die? Why do Hindu widows have so many restrictions?
Why is Lord Krishna showered with praises and prayers for being a playboy while Kamal Haasan, hounded for the same reason [whether the assumtion is true or not]? What about Lord Murugan? How the fuck is Jayendra Saraswathi a sanyasin and why the fuck was i told to remove my shirt in his presence [that i refused and left the place is a different issue]?
How many Hindus understand what the upanishads are about? Does the primary principle of the Gita "kadamayai sei, palanai edhirpaarkaadhe" operate in anyone's life? Well, i can't be balanced in the face of adversities. I'm a human being and not a stone, and it is my wont to get angry, elated, jealous, aroused and sad. What the hell is Krishna talking about? There is an entire chapter on Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava, devoted to the sex between Shiva and Parvati. Hindu mythology is full of sexuality. Yet, sex is taboo and abstinence is thrust upon us mortals at every possible opportunity.

Right, the great seers and sages "saw" the truth, experienced the ultimate reality. How does it affect or help you and me? If truth is already within us and can only be experienced, and not taught, why do we follow gods and godmen? Why are all the godmen who claim to have shunned materialistic pursuits obscenely rich? [Exceptions like Ramana Maharishi might be there]. How the fuck does one explain the concept of having different queues in temples, based on the money you pay? Does Thirupathi Venkatachalapathi need all those jewels, just because some perverts and criminals can masturbate their ego and purge their guilt? What would you have answered in Nasser's place when Kamal Haasan asks that question in Anbe Sivam?

The caste system has been the most divisive and destructive weapon of mass destruction the world has ever seen. Whatever the justifications were at the time of their creation, they have no place in society today. The Brahminical hegemony and superiority complex must go, just as much as the baseless anti-Brahmin sentiment prevalent in Dravidian society today.
Unless we have inter-caste marriages, the wretched system is here to say. Half measures like "Let me practise my faith and uphold my casteist identity at home" do not seem to serve any purpose. If ever there is a contest for selecting which single factor has contributed to the most massive of destructions, religion/caste would win hands down. There has never been such a grand fiasco in the recorded history of humankind. The argument that "it is the fault of the people, and not religion that all these are happening" does not convince me. What about you?

To be continued....

Monday, March 27, 2006


I can't remember when i last spent a "dry" Sunday. Last night was one, and i and my friend were thinking "Pattiyal better be a good movie. Sobriety and a bad movie is a sure recipe for disaster on a Sunday night". And Rs.90 for a 50 bucks ticket was on the higher side.

While Kollywood is yet to catch up with Bollywood in terms of scripts, thematic variety and censorship qualities, we see glimpses of promise here. I haven't seen Vishnuvardhan's debut Kurumbu and i doubt i will. Arindhum Ariyamalum, i thought, would fall into the "not bad" or "timepass" category. Pattiyal shows a lot of promise.
I heard someone tell me that this flick, along with Pudhuppettai, was based on City Of God. Of course, the theme and the setting are inspired from COG [even the ending is similar, in a tragically ironic depiction of the cycle of life and crime]. Arya [Kosi] and Bharath [Selva] are Surya-Deva friends. Unlike Thalabadhi, their friendship has a solid reason and ground for existence. They live in the cradle of crime - North Madras. Pay money, will kill is their motto. Padmapriya [forgot her screen name] is Arya's girlfriend, works in a garments export shop owned by the lecherous Gautam, and also likes being told "Veliya podi" by Arya everyday. Arya is a battled hardened pro who feels falling in love is a liability and tries to act uninterested in Padmapriya but eventually succumbs to bilogical urges, induced by a combination of an item number and a persistent Padmapriya. Arya can rarely be seen without a "quarter" in the movie. Bharath is deaf and dumb and interestingly doesn't share Arya's appetite for booze. After Kaadhal, i thought Bharath was better than Vikram and he has proved it once again. Restrained in most instances, erupting when he has to, he is learning his trade very well. Actresses like Pooja show that there is life for heroines in TFM beyond being just merely objects of sexual gratification [onscreen and to the public] like Trisha et all. She plays Bharath's love interest. Cochin Haneefa plays the sly double-crossing "govt office" middleman who brings the duo their deals. The dude who was seen in Azhagiya Theeye and Ponniyin Selvan, plays an innocent-looking tea kadai payyan. We see him as a guy who would do virtually anything to get out of the tea shop routine and make a quick buck. Bharath and Arya decide to make one final hit, a big fish this time, and then call it quits then. Matravai neengal velli thirayil kandu magizhungal. Yuvan is not at his best and yet he gives a creditable score. To me, "Namma kaattule", rendered by The Maestro is the pick. Editing is coming of age in Kollywood, inspired or not. The picturization of the song where all 4 main characters go for an outing [see pic above] not only helps with the pacing of the movie, it also evokes a few laughters.

  • Only in the world of Indian movies would you see people living in a crime infested kuppam looking [and for the most part talking Thamizh] like BPO executives. This sugar-coating, or "sexing up" is something which is a curse, especially in stylized movies today. Lay it bare, rip it open, let dirt look like dirt, and let the people be like real slum-dwellers, rowdies and their girlfriends.
  • In the world of Pattiyal, there are no cops. Intentional maybe, but still.....
  • Padmapriya tries hard but the fact is that she is totally unconvincing as Arya's girlfriend. All directors would do well to go to Raajkamal office for a half-hour session on how to make an actress act, outside her comfort zone. Remember "Annalachumi" in Virumaandi?
  • Dialogues, man. Why can't we learn from bollywood? Guess the fucked up censor board scares the shit out of dialogue writers here.
  • Arya has been praised by everyone for his performance in this movie. In my opinion, it is Bharath who is emerging as an actor with promise.
Udhayam theatre has DTS alright, but the sound quality was definitely not top class. They don't seem to be unduly concerned. Gives more credence to the news doing the rounds that the complex is going to be demolished soon.

One scene i loved in the movie was the one where Arya and Bharath play soccer with their mates. The director makes a shoddy job of showing them play but suddenly, in slow-mo shots, we see the two of them having a mock "fight". Dunno about others but i kind of liked it very much.
I'll let you in on the secret of the Selva/Kosi pair's success. They ride the ultimate machine - Suzuki Shogun. The Shogun beat is the next best sound to Sachin's willow hitting leather.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

21st Century's Schizoid Man

King Crimson were the early flag bearers of progressive rock. Their best song, IMO [have listened to only a very few of their songs], 21st Century' Schizoid Man song has MAJESTY, grandeur, rhythmic complexity and surprise written all over it. Man, what a flourish, what a rush!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Assistant Directors

Unlike the public, i'd been looking forward to watching Chithiram Pesudhadi from last year onwards, the reason being my friend Sudheer who worked as an assistant director to Mysskin in this film. I finally watched it last week with him. In my opinion, the movie is not as bad as the current bunch of films released. At the same time, it is not a very good film with strong performances and suchlike. It is good in patches [the suicide of the heroine's father], the performances of Dhandapani and the heroine Bhavna(?) being cases in point. The love angle between the adiyaalu and the heroine is as unrealistic and unconvincing as any average Thamizh movie. The music is decent too, scored by Veenai Chittibabu's son. The hero can't act for nuts and his gang of friends are totally unconvincing as gangsters or even sidekicks. Funny how a gaana song [Vaala meenu] can be the USP of a movie but its paid dividends for Oscar Ravichandran who took up the movie and hyped it up rather productively for its second release in good theatres. The second half was the better half, but i was disappointed with the way it ended, the build up being quite decent till then. The crowd definitely enjoyed the movie more than i did, and for once i was glad that the public verdict was different from mine.

My friend worships Kurosawa and quite a few of Kurosawa's DVDs i've watched are ones i borrowed from him. The director, he tells me, is a Kurosawa fan too, but he used to take it too far when he tried cloning the great director in his film. I don't know if its a joke or for real; Mysskin is said to have told the hero of CP to do a Toshiro Miffune. The end result? Comic irritation.

Sudheer did have a bitter taste in his mouth, after being virtually chucked out by the director, along with most other assistants, towards the completion of the movie. The world of assistant directors is a very harsh and unrewarding one. For a villager chasing his dreams, its no big deal because there is nothing to lose. Its not the same for a middle-class, B.E.S graduate to work in an industry where not only is the money never a daily guarantee, but where your dignity is insulted day in and day out just because you are a lowly assistant. There is just a glimpse of promise now for him. Time shall tell.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Arthamatra (H)indhu madham Series....

Coming soon......

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Spirit and all...

Every news channel today was glorifying the mantra of "The people of the city celebrated holi showing their spirit and resilience" in the face of the recent terror strikes. NDTV had one of their women quizzing one foreign national about it with the latter replying "I was in London last July. The spirit shown by the people here in Varanasi is similar to the spirit of London back then". All hail the "spirit". Like Alaphia mentioned in one of her previous posts, people celebrate holi or get back to business because it is human nature. It is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to glorify either. If you think only the people of Varanasi suffer from terrorism, then that reflects a very myopic view of the world and life. Terrorism is not only Islamic, it is also Hindu, Christian, Jew and Budhist. We can read about them in the papers. I read about events like the tsunami and terror strikes, sometimes reflect on it, sometimes get hurt, angry, frustrated, sometimes i just read it just like i would read any other article, desensitized to the atrocities and sufferings because of the sustained and unfailing occurances of such events. I get on with my life. I go to work, i watch movies, listen to music, hog my food gluttonously and drink hard. To show my spirit? No, its because i'm a normal selfish human being. If at all i should feel guilty or ashamed it should be because i don't make a difference to all this and NOT for going to a pub the same day some crazed terrorist detonated a bomb. For the same reason, i have no delusions of grandeur of showing my resilience and spirit. What pisses me off the most is that the news channels, having got their prime time fodder, need the next sensational item to feast on, and voila, they have the good old spirit and resilience shit. What actually gets lost is the focus on the cause, prevention, evil of the crimes and justice and retribution for them. The media is no different from the politicians in obfuscating the REAL issues behind a veil of rhetoric and jingoism. I would like to ask the reporters to go ask a relative of a maimed victim about his/her spirit and resilience. "What do you think about this year's Holi? Isn't the spirit of Mumbai great?".

P.S: I didn't check if they had any SMS polls on this one. Do you think Varanasi has the best spirit and resilience among the Indian cities after a terror attack? SMS 'Y' or 'N' to 6688.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Greatest Chase

Only a drunk moronic madman would believe that it is possible for a team to win chasing 435. The hardcore Aussie fan that i am, i was just a bit disappointed that they had scored so much against a team like South Africa. It would have been justified had they murdered, say, Bangladesh with such an obscenely big total.
I missed the Aussie innings and half of the S.A run-chase. When i watched the match, Gibbs was beginning to hit some brilliant strokes all around the park. In the S.A team i've always liked Gibbs and Dippenaar for their strokeplay and Kallis for his technique. Inexplicably, Ponting was not having a sweeper cover in the middle of the innings when Gibbs was well into his blitzkrieg. Many fours were hit in the point region which would have just been singles had there been a sweeper saving the boundary. After all, the Aussies were not defending a modest 225, and they could very much afford to go on the defensive. I just messaged my brother [an S.A supporter] if he was at the Wanderers and it he replied "we cancelled it late yesterday because of a stupid barbeque party!" . He wanted to go for the test instead. I'm sure that will be some contest too...
Even till the last stage of the match i and my friends were betting on S.A reaching 400, nothing more, nothing less. Only after the Van Der Wath assault that everyone realized that S.A could actually win the game.
What does such a match do for the bowlers from either team? Does it dent their psyche or is it just even steven because any bowler would have suffered a similar fate? Also, is it just a stark reminder for the Aussies that they are no longer a threat as a bowling attack? We shall soon see.
The bar i was watching the match in was rooting for S.A and i guess the whole of India must have done the same. What a match! Idhu semma hot machi.....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

VV Audio

Finally out today:

1) Karka Karka [Devan, Tipu, Nakul, Andrea]: If the title song is a trendy stylish one, it better be a "nenjula midhikkara" song like "Uyirin Uyire" was. This song doesn't come anywhere close but its not as bad as it sounded on my first hearing. The female voice towards the end sounds very much like Vasundhara Das, especially with the exaggerated pronunciation of 'R'.

2) Paartha Mudhal [Bombay Jayasree, Unni Menon]: Though it sounds like "Suttum Vizhi Sudare" this song is pretty catchy and melodious. The HJ-BJ combination always clicks. I guess this is the song which was shot in Kerala. Excellent picturization is guaranteed, i must say.

3) Manjal Veiyil [Hariharan, Vijay, Nakul]: The pick of the album. The visuals are still fresh in my mind [it was screened in the audio release function]. On the flip side, HJ could have done the interludes better. The rhythm reminded me of "Endrendrun Punnagai" for Alaipayuthey. Nakul has done the supporting vocals for this song and the previous. The song is has a nice groove to it. Thamarai excels with the lyrics.

4) Uyirile [Mahalakshmi, Srinivas]: Somehow this song hasn't grown on me yet. Maybe i need a few more listens.

5) Neruppae [Frankom Solar Sai, Sowmya Raoh]: The Thamizh pronunciation notwithstanding, the song is not bad, though it has shades of HJ's previous song(s). A seasonal hit at best. It would be intersting to see the situation this song comes in the movie. Probably a "Thoodhu varuma" kind of setting.

Not anywhere close to Kaakka Kaaka or even Minnale, but better than Ghajini. Yeppa Harrisse, re-recording-la kavuthuraadha pa!

The Song Remains The Same

The Song Remains The Same says a Led Zeppelin song. The story also remains the same in life. People killing for one "greater cause" or the other. This time it is for Islam. Yeah, stern action will be taken against the terrorists and Manmohan Singh will not be cowed down by these dastardly acts. The U.S will express deep sympathy and tighten their resolve in the global war against terror. The cause and effect cycle will continue to spin vigorously. And next month, there will be more bombings somewhere in J&K........

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

When The Breeze Come and Touching.....

thendral vandhu thIndumbOdhu enna vaNNamO manasule....

If there is still any argument as to who is THE BEST, this one song will put it to rest. For ever.

Every freakin note, word and line.......


Monday, March 06, 2006

Miratta Varugiradhu VV

viraivil varugiradhu vEttayAdu viLayAdu oli nAdA
kamal rasiganE adhai vaanga nI Odi vAdA!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


When Manmohan Singh shakes George Bush's hands and gives him a hearty welcome, representing all of us insignificant children, this bloody nation of ours will wince collectively. The elitist minority will sit smugly and nod in satisfaction. How would Hitler have been received, i wonder. Osama maama, you make your presence felt when we least need it but where are you now? What kind of welcome does the most dangerous and notorious war criminal heading the most notorious and dangerous hegemony deserve? When Dubya touches Gandhi's tomb, it will be much worse for the Mahatma than it is when a pigeon takes a dump on him. May his soul rest in piece and quiet. Life goes on...