Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On Blogstreet, I'm 46

According to Blogstreet.com, I am now a very popular blogger in India. For three days now, I am at 46 in their list of top 100 bloggers. I don't seem to have the links or the hits to show for such popularity. Is this a prank on me? Not sure.

Unusual Tamil rap song

You must absolutely go here and listen to this track. Like, CC says, the song is pretty good. Don't be put off by the first few seconds. This is a super example of a remix song. Pretty long, this song by Yogi B and Natchathira is about six minutes. But you will find yourself coming back for more. I am still trying to get the lyrics. Now go listen. Really. It's good.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vallavan: First day, first show

Being a sub is usually a thankless task, a dog’s life actually. No one knows you and you know no one. Unlike reporters, who often bask in the glory of their own stories, subs never get to show off. Once out of office, you are a non-entity. Only your mom knows you.
But if you are a journalist who is into film – this works better if you are a star critic with a big, fat media house – then you get invited to press shows. These are really, really special screenings for the press so that the scribes get to have a go at a movie before everyone else. I think they all get high at the virginal experience.
But Tamil movies – strangely enough – don’t have press shows before movies are open to the public. Sometimes, not always, this is just clever thinking on the part of the studio honchos to pre-empt any negative criticism. Most of the time, it is just darn too inconvenient to have one.

Interlude: Premiers are different from press shows. Premiers are like a costume ball even, where film industry big wigs, journalists and taggers on arrive and flatter each other. I can only speculate because I have never been in one.
There is another variety. This is the preview, which is popular in the west, but I don’t know if it exists here. These guys get to watch the movie or portions of it and crib to the studio executive, who gets the director to tailor the movie according to audience taste. Like a preview viewer (what the heck) can say there is too much blood in this scene to too less. Or this looks too real or this looks fake. Then the executive goes to the director who grumbles and carries grudges around for weeks, but finally does the required cutting and special effects and stuff. Rarely, they even re-shoot. I think Ram Gopal Varma and Priyadarsan should have previews. When you have a lot of spit on your face after the movie is screen, then you bloody well know you made a jackass of everybody.

Coming back to the story: Deprived of press shows, journalists like me get the help of the PROs in theaters. Recently, I reviewed Vallavan for the paper I work in. I booked a ticket but that got cancelled because the show got cancelled.
Oh, wait a minute now. The show was cancelled but it didn’t quite get cancelled. The PRO at Satyam Theatres told me it was cancelled but it wasn’t. The film was screened – true the ‘box’ came late - but my ticket got cancelled. Why, I could never find out. Take a front row ticket or clear off, the guy at the counter told me. He was tense. It was Diwali and the fella was having a tough time.
The movie watching experience itself was great though the movie wasn’t. Nayantara made an appearance - not on screen but in the movie hall - and the audiences went berserk. As the credits rolled, 400 were looking that side and 400 were looking at the exit door where she was standing. Or so I think. I couldn’t really see, though God knows I wanted to. I think I got knocked over. But I wasn't worrying. No, not me. I was thinking: “If somebody had my damn ticket, it better be Nayantara”. It would have been better if she had asked first. But anyways...

I guess that was the high point of the whole affair. I mean at the theatre. After the movie got over, a man in front of me put up his hands up in the classic vote seeking gesture and prayed for mercy. “Kadasiya mudichuttangappaa,” he said, as he was helped out of the theatre.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the story of Muthu, the barber. Muthu, the barber, lives in Medavakkam and gives haircuts for 40 bucks. It’s his own A/C Saloon and he seemed proud of it. He was my movie partner. At least, he was sitting next to me. I first saw him in the counter where he was standing next to me. Try as they might, Satyam can never kill the Q.
Muthu is an Ajith fan. He wanted to see Varalaru, previously called Godfather. Sad for him, no ticket. So after cycling all the way from Medavakkam, he didn’t want to go back. He decided to watch Vallavan. Even worse for him. His life was getting dimmer by the minute.
Somebody had told me, next to Rajni, Ajith has the most loyal fan following in Tamil Nadu. I asked Muthu why he was backing Ajith over Kamal and others. “Kamal irrukkattum sir. Intha pasanga ellam producer, director pasanga. Ajith oruthan than...” At this point, words failed him. I half heard him stifle a cry. He is crying, I thought. Finally, his right thumb extended and swung upwards. “Gun party, sir,” he said, wanting to continue.
(Translation: Ajith was the only guy without previous connections to the industry; somebody who had come up on his own, instead of riding piggyback. Muthu identified with that, I think.)

But then, S.Ve. Shekar appeared on screen and disrupted our most interesting conversation. After that, the lights went off and it was a hellhole for three hours and 10 minutes.

The review of Vallavan is at Desicritics.
P.S: Varalarum sema bladaam. But I haven't seen it yet.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

Where Saving Private Ryan offers technique, Mr. Eastwood’s film suggests metaphysics. - Manohla Dargis, NYT.

Friday, October 20, 2006

God, religion, festivals, etc.

Do you have to believe in God to celebrate Diwali or Ramzan? In any case, I don't believe in God or festivals. But it's a holiday. Will sleep late and laze around. This buying sweets, clothes and stuff seems like a pointless thing to do. At times, at least. Especially when I see the large crowds in places like T.Nagar.
Lately, as Diwali drew nearer, I felt the whole thing had gotten much too materialistic for me. Why must the celebration of good over evil be so messy?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

3: Ezhuthil Vazhpavan Antro Naan

Madhumita had posted two of Sundara Ramaswamy's poems when he died on October 14, last year. Now, more than a year later, she posts a Q&A from one of SuRa's books, Vazhga Sandegangal.

Chenthil has translated a poem into English.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My grandpa's library

The world of books is a strange, exciting place to get lost in. At home, books were never is short supply. I think there are two kinds of homes: one in where parents want their kids to read books, where mom's ecstasy is in watching her kid read. She bores the neighbours and relatives about the kind of books her child prodigy reads. Mine was such a home, though as you can probably make out, I was never a prodigy.
The other kind of home is where bookworms are losers. Parents want their kids to be street smart and worldly wise, and there is no manual, no tome, for that yet, is there?
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. Books offer you an experience and open up a world that may not accessible for you otherwise. Like say, Robinson Crusoe. Even if you are lucky enough to get stranded in an island, you are unlikely to find a servant as amiable as Friday. But the things that friends, relatives and neighbours can teach you are sometimes so profound that they make books look like a thing made of paper and ink (which is what it doesn’t look like most other times).
I didn’t have a library of my own. I lost most of my books once I was through with them. I gave some to my nephew. But quite a lot didn’t make it with me to adulthood.
But I don’t regret that much. Books are such a pain to keep. What I truly like is being in a library – like a public library or BCL. There you have the books wonderfully kept by other people for you. All you got to do is go there and borrow them.

Now let me get to the story I want to tell. This is the story of a library filled mostly with books that I have not read. Sundara Ramaswamy, a Tamil writer, had probably the biggest library in my hometown. He is also my grandfather. And yet for years – all through adolescence in fact – I did not read one book from his collection.
My dose of Hardy Boys, Alfred Hitchcock presents, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins came from elsewhere – cousins, dad, a lending library, everywhere except from grandpa.
There is a good reason for this. His collection had the classics in it. Like say, War and Peace. I plodded through some 250 pages before giving up. It was a killing bore. He had Carlos Castaneda. Even my dad loved this guy's books. But as a 12-year-old when I tried reading them, I had the most bizarre feeling. I could understand every word but no sentences.
After a while, I understood that there was another world – that of literary books. The differences between the two kinds still escape me, but there are literary books for children too. Like The Prince or even good old Crusoe.
And oddly enough I wasn’t introduced to the literary world by any English book. When I read English I kept moving on to Chase, Crichton and the like. It was a Tamil book – one my grandpa's own - J.J. Sila Kurippugal that introduced me to that world. That opened up a few shelves from the library that had remained elusive for so long.
One day I asked Grandpa about the books he had in the library. He asked me what my favourite book was? I named a book by Sheldon, The Other Side of Midnight, which I had read some 20 times with feverish excitement. To my surprise, he wasn't dimissive of the Sheldon book at all. He said that even Sheldon would have shaped my reading and language in some way.

"But experiences that such books offer stop at some point. But many books I have try to go further and explore new territory," he said. I wasn't so much impressed by the way he defined books in his library as much as the way he spoke about the writers I was reading, who wrote pulp or detective fiction.
That's because SuRa wasn't that kind of a writer at all. None of the devices Sheldon or any of the other writers I named use can be seen in any of SuRa's work. Many of the stories are not even plot driven. Neither are they laced with sex. And many of SuRa's stories do explore new territory.
I later found that he shared my opinion of the classics. Or perhaps a widespread snobbish opinon of the classics. After seeing me read Catcher in the Rye, he asked me how I liked it. I said it not like a classic and it wasn't boring at all. He had just that year completed Kuzhanthaigal Pengal Aangal. "Perhaps, I should write a boring novel. Then everyone would say I have written a classic," he said with a smile.

The library that I so admired wasn't made in a day. From his trips around the world, grandpa brought back books, often choosing them above other things he needed to carry.
Just a year before he died, grandpa was able to move the libary - scattered among various rooms in the house - to one large hall on the first floor in his house in Nagercoil. On many days, he would stand in the library flipping through the books. Like many of the books he has written, the books he owned are also a part of his legacy. At least they are now. Last Saturday, the library was thrown open to the public. The address is here: 669, K.P.Road, Nagercoil - 629001.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tell a story, win a prize?

If Kiran Desai won the Booker for her book on immigration and issues associated with it, then Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel for rebelling against his homeland, Turkey. Shouldn't writers be winning awards for writing good stories?

S for Sucked

If Alan Moore knew what he was doing, the Wachowski brothers had no clue at all. I was bored out of my skull. A superb performance from Natalie Portman hardly made things better. The movie sucked big time. I am told (thanks to The Hindu) the local distributors cut off about 1/3 of the movie. May be that is why. Wonder why politics is so shallow in Hollywood movies. Thankfully Stephen Fry, the cuddly bear of an actor, appeared and saved the middle portion. A pity he had to have a Quran in his house. Really sad.

Emtan Mahan - a pleasant drama

I would never have seen this movie in the usual course of things. Except that a friend of mine saw it and liked it and was all praise for Nasser's performance. So I went and saw the movie last weekend.
Thirumurugan who made Metti Oli, a popular serial on Sun TV, is at the helm for this film. Perhaps because of that the movie is like a play. In an industry dominated by technical wizards, movies that absolutely lack any cinematic quality somehow manage to coexist. V.Sekar is another director who makes movies like this, only this one is much better.
SMS Emden is a German ship that attacked the Chennai Port, thereby becoming an euphimism for something terrifying. Emtan in the movie is Nasser, the parochial and dictatorial father, who raises his son in a harsh manner. Roles that risk our antipathy are so hard to play and there is no one better in Tamil cinema than Nasser who knows where the boundary lines for such a role are.
If you really hate the Nasser character in this movie, there is nothing much to watch because it's all about his transformation.
Bharath plays the Mahan - again risky beause he could easily be mistaken for a wimp. But Bharath is good enough to avoid being characterised like that, mixing his fear for his father and a natural heroic tendency in the right proportion. The danger to other actors is Bharath is fast making the boy-next-door image all his. Gopika is pretty and does her bit with ease.
But the star of the show is Vadivelu. Those who hate him better not watch this movie because he is the cohesive element, pasting together all the bits and parts. I wonder if he is in more scenes than Bharath.
I suspect Vadivelu writes his own dialogues because they are so tailormade. That's not to say they are not hilarious - they are.
The story is not new. (Are there any new stories left to tell?) Bharath wants to marry his uncle's daughter and neither the girl's parents nor his own want such a relationship. Nasser is not the sort of father who would hear of the word kaadal in his house and the girl's dad hates Nasser's guts. Much of the first half is spend underlining the strained relationship between Emtan and his Mahan. The second half is the story of the runaway kids and how the boy changes his father. The transformation part - where the main character realises his mistakes - can be a torture and is one in most movies. Here it's more tolerable, thanks to Bharath's and Nasser's subtle acting skills.
Wish it wasn't so much like a play, especially the music, which is ancient. But still it's a pleasant movie to watch.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Did anyone try the Yahoo Mail beta version? I am liking it. GMail recently put a fullstop to new products so that it can better develop the existing ones. They will have to do that fast now.

Dictionary.com, a site I regularly use at the office, seems to have undergone a much-needed revamp. It looks more accessible and easy to use now.

Pachaikili Muthucharam

Gautham's next after VV is strangely named after a song from the MGR movie Ulagam Suttrum Valiban. The movie's new title is Pachaikili Muthucharam. Earlier this movie was called Silandi. Sarath Kumar and Jyothika - her first film after her marriage - are in the lead. Andrea, a Chennai-based actor, is being introduced in this movie. Milind Soman will be the villain. I wonder what happened to Gautham's police triology because this movie from what I understand doesn't seem to be final film in that series. To be released for Christmas 2006. At least the expectations aren't that high for Gautham this time around.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Blog on e-mail, Feedburner

You can now get my blog posts in your inbox by clicking on the relevant message below on the sidebar or subscribe to my blog feed by using the feedburner icon, which is a small orange coloured thingy. You would still have to visit my blog to put in your comments. Have fun!

To Ramona

Ramona, come closer,
Shut softly your watery eyes.
The pangs of your sadness
Shall pass as your senses will rise.
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times.
And there's no use in tryin'
T' deal with the dyin',
Though I cannot explain that in lines...

(This song is from Dylan's Another Side of Dylan. It's one of my favs. Read the complete song here.)

Hollywood directors I love

This is not a list of directors I admire. That list would be too long. These are the guys who provoke excitement and passion in me for the movies they make. These are the directors I love. So, in no particular order, here is the list:

Ridley Scott
He took horror to space, made a superb science fiction movie, and turned the swords and sandals epic on its head. When Alien was made, Hollywood was just beginning to conquer space and special effects. The film, which straddled the horror and sci-fi genres, was chilling and made Sigourney Weaver an action hero, a poster girl and a feminist icon. Blade Runner had the best sets for a sci-fi movie – created a whole new world for itself. My favourite, though, is Thelma and Louise, a wild chick flick starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. I really loved Geena Davis in this movie.

Steven Spielberg
If Spielberg had died having only made Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park, he would still be the most successful moviemaker ever in terms of BO returns. But then he had to go make Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. I actually loved Amistad though it was a horrible flop. Must be the most famous English movie director in India. Even my grandmom can identify him.

Cameron Crowe
Bob Dylan said the liner notes Crowe wrote for Biograph, Dylan’s three-CD collection, were the best part of his album, not the songs like ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘Like a Rolling Stone’.Then Crowe made Jerry Macquire, one of funniest and endearing movies I have seen. Endearing usually is a good word for sentimental tearjerkers but Crowe keeps this movie from descending into inanity. But my favourite is Almost Famous, probably the best tribute to Rock music that Hollywood ever made.

Martin Scorcese
Probably the greatest living Hollywood filmmaker. Has combined art house qualities with pure entertainment so effectively that it’s hard to distinguish his somber movies from the fun ones. Taxi Driver, a dark, moody piece, is as entertaining as the Aviator, which was criticized for not confronting Howard Hughes’s dark side. Departed got released this week to good reviews. My favourite: Aviator

Clint Eastwood
A director at the height of his powers, seemingly, all the time. Famous for shooting scenes in a single take, Clint is now working on his most ambitious project yet, Flags of Our Fathers and its companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima. Does anybody realise that Million Dollar Baby is rightfully a sports movie?
My favourite: Unforgiven

David Cronenberg
One movie that really disturbed me in my teens was The Fly. Scenes from this movie would keep playing in my head over and over again. But yet there was this cheesy, B-movie feel to this movie in which the lead character during a transportation experiment transmutes with a fly. My favourite: A History of Violence

Quentin Tarantino
New addition to the brat pack that once was the duo of Spielberg and Lucas. Has made violence of the blood letting kind fashionable, even stylish. Probably one of the most influential filmmakers in the world today. Lately seem to be running on his reserves with Kill Bill garnering mixed reviews. My favourite: Pulp Fiction

Woody Allen
One director who is prolific even if he has made some aweful movies. He may have found his latest muse in Scarlett Johansson. Explored the male-female relationship like no other director. Quintessentially American and funny. His movies are a great PR exercise for the city of New York.
My favourite: Annie Hall

(I did a cursory search for directors I may have missed but didn't find anyone. Who else do you think should have been on the list? The directors you include should have worked for 10 years in Hollywood so that we avoid the one-hit wonders and the newbies. And most importantly, they should be alive.)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Cars- Not so disappointing

Earlier this year, Cars, the latest movie from Pixar, was not received by reviewers with the same enthusiasm and glee that preceded movies made by the studio in the past. Finding Nemo and Incredibles are just a few in the unbroken series of remarkably successful films made by Pixar. So when Cars, which features no animals or humans, came out, everybody wanted to jump on it and say that this was Pixar's first failure since 1995 when they made Toy Story.
But that was good in a way because I went to the movie with low expectations.(Disney has recently bought into Pixer but Jobs retains creative control.)
This is how the movie begins, with brief shots of a race that keep fading away. "Okay. Focus. Here we go. Speed. I am speed. One winner. 42 losers. I eat losers for breakfast. Breakfast? Sounds good. Maybe I should have had breakfast? Breakfast could be good for me. No no no. Focus. I am faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Lightning."
That is Owen Wilson, who voices Lightning Mcqueen, the rookie race car - brash, arrogant and ambitious, and with no friends.
The opening sequence is a grandly shot(?) sequence, with cars watching cars racing. Mcqueen ties the race with two cars and has to travel to California for the decider. But, in a cruel twist of fate, he gets stuck in Radiator Springs, a town that has gone off the map after the interstate highway was built in US in the 1960s.
Jesus Chrysler, ladies and gentlecars...the movie's endless puns on our usages are funny, but a bit excessive.
Paul Newman is the car that won the Piston Cup three times in the 60s. He becomes Mcqueen's mentor.
In the forgotten town of Radiator Springs, Mcqueen will learn about racing and working, will form friends and fall in love. All the while Mcqueen has to lay a road which he accidentally ruins. Sally, voiced by Bonnie Hunt, in a superbly envisioned sequence, tells him how Radiator Springs, once a boom city, had now become yesterday's story.
In this story lies the theme of the movie. Of unbridled development and the American dream gone wrong. (There are now officially more movies where the American dream goes wrong, starting with Citizen Kane). She also tells him of the need to slow down and enjoy life. As Sally puts it, before the interstate was built, "people didn't drive to make good time. They drove to have a great time".

Friday, October 06, 2006

Two-timing or is it three-timing?

I am also a blogger at Chennai Metblogs where I write about the city of Chennai. My book and film reviews and other assorted stuff are available at Desicritics. Some of these posts are not dated and still worth a read.

Plug 2: Sen's Spot

I found this post about Sundara Ramaswamy's book Tale of a Tamarind Tree (Oru Puliya Marathin Kadhai) on this blog.
SuRa, my grandpa, died last year in October. Through this month, I will be occasionally posting links that talk about his work.

The Departed

Martin Scorcese's much awaited movie, The Departed, starring Leonardo Di Capiro, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon is out. Read the NYT review here and the interview of the cast on Time magazine here.

I'm going to be 60, and I'm almost used to myself.

-Martin Scorcese

Six big Tamil films

Tamil movies to watch out for:
Dasavatharam: Kamal Hassan, Asin, Mallika Sherawat. Story about smuggling of idols(?). Kamal plays 10 roles doing one better that Sivaji in Navarathri. Dir: K.S. Ravikumar
Sivaji: Rajnikanth, Shreya. Director Shankar joins up with the superstar in this movie produced by Sivaji Productions. My heart sinks when I see the publicity stills, but hope the movie is better.
Pokkiri: Prabhu Deva turns director realising his adolescent dream. Vijay and Asin team up again. Deva has already made his debut in Telugu with this movie.
Bhima: Vikram has to live up to the audience's expectations after the failure of Majaa. I want him to pull it off. This movie is produced by A.M. Rathnam.
Aazhvar: I have almost give up hope on Ajith Kumar, who is always on the comeback trail.
The above five films put together cost over Rs 100 crore to make, says Kumudham. This is a first in Tamil.
Naan Kadhavul: A film caught up in a tremendous amount controversy over casting and pre-production expenditure. Dir: Bala.

Spelling woes

I have such terrible spelling that I would not hire myself as a sub.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Eldest - Christopher Paolini

"Christopher Paolini was only 15 when he began writing Eragon, the best-selling book that would change his life. The book was published when he was 19, causing book reviewers to enthusiastically call him a whiz kid and teenage sensation. Mr Paolini's young age, however, is never once betrayed in his writing. In fact, the book seems mature beyond his age."

My full review of Eldest is here.

Taste of skin

When many of us in Chennai don't have water to take bath, guess what these dudes use to wash themselves? That's right. Beer. Would you do that? Check out this link from NYT.

Plug: Literary Notes from Kerala

I chose the following para because of personal reasons. But the blog is really interesting and is here.
"Comparing it with contemporary literary scene in TamilNadu, there are so many brilliant writers and poets like Sundara Ramaswamy , Jeyamohan, AsokaMitran, Athavan, Pramil, Devadevan, La Sa Ra etc.. but there are not many publishers and no popular magazine is ready to publish their workss. They find it too heavy. I remember reading Charu Nivedita saying, ‘If my essays and stories got rejected in Kumudam or Ananda Vikatan, then I will send it to Mathruboomi. And I know, it will get published”


(This is more like a diary note than anything to do with movies. Skip it if don't like notes from my life)

My Dad, who died in May 2001, loved the movies. I inherited that trait from him. Dad's affair with the pictures began when he was in college. He and his friend would buy an anna worth of peanuts and walk the three km to the nearest cinema hall munching the nuts slowly so they would last for the way. Week after week on this brief trek to Trivandrum's Sreekumar theatre, they did the same. Most English movies that were released in TVM then were trash. A few though were liquid gold like say, Lawrence of Arabia.
But the picture that my dad most liked was You Only Live Twice. He knew that the movie was just an entertainer. But the circumstances in which he saw the movie were such that it occupied a special place in his heart.
After completing his MA in Sociology, Dad hunted for a job for about eight months. He became increasingly depressed that it was taking him so long to become independent financially. After failing to land a particularly sought after job as a psychiatric social worker, my Dad came to his hotel room and worried about his uncertain future. Deciding to shake off the blues, he went for a walk that ended in a movie hall, which was screening YOLT. When he left the movie in which Bond famously lives twice, my Dad believed he had a second chance. A month later he landed a job in a bank.
I began watching pictures with my Dad as a kid. In our neighbourhood in Nagercoil, English movies were taboo because of their sexual content. Even the now acceptable levels of sex in James Bond movies were then frowned upon. But my Dad, being an enthusiastic Bond fan, took me watch some of these pictures. My mom, who was too ill to accompany us to the theatre, would make him promise that I would be sent out of the hall during the kissing scenes. I distinctly remember watching Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery's last brush with the Bond franchise, in this comic fashion.
In his middle age, Dad's interest in films waned and he began enjoying the more mindless movies, like Narashimham. That was the last movie I saw with him.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Graceland - Paul Simon at his best

If you have listened to Simon and Garfunkel in The Graduate, you may not recognise Paul's voice and compositions for his more recent solo album Graceland. And I should defenitely add to that list you won't recognise, Simon's unique lyrics for this album. After having listened to Graceland for every night over the last week, I feel Simon's lyrics to this album are among the best for any rock album - and that should include Dylan as well.
Graceland is the name of Elvis Presley's estate in Memphis. (More here) But what Simon does with his album is borrow some really beautiful instrumentation, chanting and howling from the traditional music in Africa. Yes, howling. It's great to listen, btw.
If S&G were singing sweet ballad like songs with enchanting lyrics, then Graceland is in part African, in part Jazz, in part Rock n Roll and in part Rock music.
While Graceland found its way into Rolling Stone's best 500 albums ever list, it was also taken to task by some reviewers like this one.
But I have now listened to it more than a few times and I really do like it. I find it a liberating experience to listen to music which is from the 'other'.

Some of my other posts about rock music are here.

Movie review - My say

William K. Zinsser is the author of this wonderful book called On Writing Well. It's a practical guide to writers - of all sorts, not just the journalists. The book was recommended to me by the former dean of the Asian College of Journalism.
I found the book useful in that it gave me some good advice on how to write well.
In the arts section of the book, Mr Zinsser makes the point that movie reviewers should reflect in their writing what audiences can expect from a movie. Film critics are the audiences' representative, he says.
Though I agree and have enthusiastically implemented many tips from Mr Zinsser, I beg to differ with him over this.
Here is what I think: I have no clue what audiences are likely to feel while watching a movie or after it. I only know what I liked and disliked and why. If I say that in clear English then I feel I have done my job. I never bring the audience into the equation. In fact, I don't even care much about them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

As a journalist

An article in The Times of India attacks bloggers saying that they are writing murders on the web.
"Bloggers claim in their hifalutin tones that they want to give a voice to the voiceless and replace the newspapers with their journalism. It sounds good, but look at the way they are doing this. Their vision is apocalyptic and their language is acidic. It's good fun, but this is no journalism. Learning and mastering good journalism is tough. You learn it in libraries, on flooded streets, in front of a rioting mob, in the middle of crossfire between a militia and a military, in war trenches, in the corridors of power and in the hamlets of deprivation."
Here is the entire thing. And the delicious reply from India Uncut.

And then, there is something from the NYT Public Editor's blog that might interest you. Compare this with what happens at The Hindu here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

V for Vendetta

Two new movies coming up soon in Chennai may be worth watching. Monster House from Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg and V for Vendatta, which an ardent comic book fan told me is no good. But still I gotta check these two movies out. V is especially interesting because of its political content.

Something, Something, which I saw yesterday, is reviewed here.

Stalin rocks Chennai

According to this report, Stalin, a Telugu film, is No 1 in Chennai. Oh wow! What will happen next? I am waiting for the day a movie like Downfall is at number 1. Then at least, our guys will start making good movies. The surprise hit seems to Em Mahan. Nasser apparently is superb. Have to see this one.