Friday, July 28, 2006

Potter bares all; 'Hugging' Saint

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is going to step out of his clothes for a West End stage revial of the play Equus, reports The Guardian. Potter will never be the same again.

There is a new movie out on Amritananadamayi, known in the west as the Hugging Saint, reports NYT.

Just posting 'cause I think you would be interested.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pulikesi: Lacking in ambition

If there is one thing that is lacking in the Simbudevan-directed Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi, then that is ambition. Shankar, known for his perfectionist and ambitious ways as director, however, fails as producer to add a touch of class needed to make this movie a great comedy.
After choosing a full-length comedy with Vadivelu in the lead, the filmmakers seem to have settled for a watered down script. Making another Kadhalikka Neramillai or Michael Madana Kamarajan was creatively round the corner if only the debutant director had believed in himself.
Vadivelu is at his engaging best, delivering a performance that cements his place among the comic greats. As Pulikesi, the fictional ruler of what seems to be a tiny kingdom, the actor is on home turf. Satirizing Sivaji Ganeshan and himself in turns, Vadivelu plays Pulikesi as an endearing nitwit with a passion for punishing his subjects in innovative and cruel ways.
As Pulikesi's intelligent and patriotic twin, Ugraputran, Vadivelu models himself on early MGR, but portrays the character with a hint of self-parody.
You know this story. You must have seen it hundreds of times. Two brothers, separated at birth by the evil designs of the villain (Nasser), come together to defeat him in the end. Since they are twins, they also switch identities and baffle the bad guys. Simbudevan walks this trodden path, but with a sense of irony that reveals that he has seen the countless classics with the same plot.
All of Pulikesi's antics give the director room to deliver a rather loud social commentary on present times. All through the screenplay, the commentary on corruption, casteist politics, child labour and illicit arrack is as relentless as the comic retorts.
The movie is a welcome relief from the gangster craze gripping the Tamil movie industry.

This story was first published on Chennai Metblogs. A compilation of my stories is here.

Why I love the movies?

Movies aren't anything like people. An evening at the cinema hall isn't like an evening with your girlfriend. Movies don't expect to be wined and dined. They just expect to be seen. You pay. You enter. You have fun. Period.
The flickering images on screen are seductive, but aren't any match for a girl. But at least they are hassle free.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Why criticise a film?

A.O. Scott, one of my favourite movie critics, evaluates the role of a movie critic in a recent essay in the New York Times. In the light of the spectacular success of movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Da Vinci Code despite extremely poor reviews, Scott says that critcs and audiences are finding themselves on the opposite ends of a bridge. The audiences want to have fun, and the critcs "go sniffing for art".
" colleagues and I must face a frequently — and not always politely — asked question: What is wrong with you people? I will, for now, suppress the impulse to turn the question on the moviegoing public, which persists in paying good money to see bad movies that I see free."
He says that critics don't influence the public's taste for movies as much the Hollywood studios do.
"So why review them? Why not let the market do its work, let the audience have its fun and occupy ourselves with the arcana — the art — we critics ostensibly prefer? The obvious answer is that art, or at least the kind of pleasure, wonder and surprise we associate with art, often pops out of commerce, and we want to be around to celebrate when it does and to complain when it doesn’t. But the deeper answer is that our love of movies is sometimes expressed as a mistrust of the people who make and sell them, and even of the people who see them. We take entertainment very seriously, which is to say that we don’t go to the movies for fun. Or for money. We do it for you."
Read the entire essay here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bye Bye Barrett

Syd Barrett is a name always whispered with reverence. Sadly that is all I have heard of this music genius: whispers. On Sarpvinash, there are lyrics to a song of Barrett's. Sometimes, only you can write your best tribute. Know more about Barrett here.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


This post has two reasons. One, self-indulgence. Two, Making the best of me accessible to all at one place.
This is the best of what I have written in the last six months. My first post on the hype preceding the Oscars in Hollywood appeared in The New Sunday Express. I posted it here on Jan 20. It was also the first time I wrote about films after years of wanting and waiting. Notice the stupid repetition of the word season in the lead.
A couple of weeks later I wrote the review for Chinatown. A classic movie. I wrote this in half an hour, never bothering about who would read it.
I wrote this as a tribute to my Grandpa. The best of me I thought, till I got rapped for being self-indulgent and writing about me instead.
My first book review. I discovered I wasn't pathetic, but not quite there yet.
My first "work" in Tamil. Needless to say, it occupies a special place in my heart.
One morning I woke up and found that the hits on my blog had tripled overnight. The reason was that I was featured on a paper called DNA. Boy, was I flattered. They had featured a blog called A suitable ally?
The first time I put on paper something personal was when I wrote about this affair. Liked it better than the political story.
After landing the metblogs job(?), I wrote two stories about Chennai to keep them happy. First
was about my first few years in the city, and then about smoking up.
Simply the best review I ever wrote, was for Pudhupettai. I was really inspired.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My two pence

Preparations are on at a feverish pace for India's biggest blog unconference, BlogCamp, to be held in the city in September. Prominent bloggers from across the country and a few from abroad are expected to attend.
An unconference is free of spectators where everyone is a participant, who either presents a paper or helps organise the event.
Among the top notch bloggers expected at the event is Mr Robert Scoble, who writes arguably the most famous technical blog in the world. Invitations have also been sent to Sunil Gavasker who podcasts with Yahoo and Harsha Bhogle. Mr Rajesh Setty, a tech entrepreneur and author, who has effectively used his blog ( to help write his books, is also expected at the event.
The event has been tentatively scheduled for September 9 and 10 and the organisers are looking at various WiFi-enabled venues to hold the event.
Mr S. Ganesh, a city-based blogger and one of the organisers of BlogCamp, said the event would help participants know about the various technologies associated with blogging such as podcasting and videoblogging. "Take, for example, mobile blogging, which Nokia's N-series is pushing for in a big way. Someone can talk about the technology that has made this possible at the BlogCamp," he said. Ganesh and his wife N. Lalithaa jointly run, tagged as India's first blog on the stock market.
"The myth of the technological barrier associated with blogging will be broken," said Mr Kiruba Shankar, another brain behind the event. "The event hopes to increase the influence that blogging already has as a medium," he said.
The organisers are now designing a website and would soon begin pitching the event to potential sponsors. "Lots will happen on the sidelines of the camp. Business proposals, job offers, or just plain socialising among people who tend to be with themselves," Mr Kiruba added.

Published in Deccan Chronicle on July 12,2006.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Reason of neglect

For the last three months, I have been blogging at Metblogs as well. One reason my own blog has suffered gross neglect. But do go over there to read or better still click on the metblogs sidebar thingy (to the right, scroll down a bit). My last five posts are always there.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gaping at urself

Little did I think when I began blogging six months ago that I would end up with this bunch of geeks planning India's biggest blogging unconference.
Guys, here are the promised photos.

There are a few more, but it's taking ages to upload on this pre-stone age computer. So, bye...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Fantasy trip

Superman returned last week to Satyam Cinemas and a thousand other theatres across the world. John Lennon once said the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. In saving Truth, Justice and the American Way, Superman, played by Brandon Routh with more than a passing resemblence to Christopher Reeve, is perhaps bigger than Jesus. And and in Bryan Singer's new vision, Superman looks like Christ on the cross half the time, leviating off the floor with his hands outstretched as superteen and then falling off the sky with his hands, well again, outstretched as Superman. Don't look for an action movie here. Though the action and special effect sequences are near perfect, they are few and far between. Much of the time Superman is missing the much married Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), spying on her family and learning her secrets. He even finds time to take Lois for a spin. Kevin Spacey is the new Lex Luther, taking over from the wonderful potrayal of the same character by Gene Hackman. Marlon Brando too makes a special effects aided reappearance.

But much before Superman, Singer began his journey into the world of comic books with X-Men, the movie that started the trend of getting arthouse directors to make commercially viable, special-effects laden fantasy/comic book extragavanzas. After Singer gave up on the project following the first two X-movies, The Last Stand was given to director of the famous Lost series on TV, the debutant Brett Ratner. But no assurance that this will indeed be the last stand. There is a Wolverine picture in the pipeline anyway. Mindless entertainment at its best and the scene in which Magneto rescues that thing with changing shapes is damn good. The climax is bit of a let down, but what else can a director do in a movie of this sort?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Permanent Revolution

It's a little too late to be introducing V. Krishna Ananth to blogoshere. He began blogging last month. But I got hold of his blogspot URL only today. It is here.


Chennai has always been home to the most enthusiastic bloggers in India. Now the city will play host to a pan-India blogging unconference in the second week of September. Keep watching this space for more details.

India's Biggest Unconference on Blogging, Podcasting, Videocasting & Social Media
Venue : Chennai
Date : Tentatively September 9th and September 10th of 2006.