Sunday, December 31, 2006


I always smell Nagercoil before I see it. During this trip home, when the train chugged into my town, I smelled that distinct smell. It was barely dawn and I hardly could see 10 feet from the train. And yet, the feeling was indescribably good. As Woody Allen would say, wunnnderful!

I keep asking myself what is it about us that we yearn for things from the past. In a single word, the answer is nostalgia. There is not another feeling that makes us feel so good.

I am in Nagercoil for the next week. My plans after that are very tentative. I beg readers of this blog to be patient with my erratic posting. And Happy New Year to you guys. I am sure many of you are planning a blast. If not go ahead and have one. Don’t wave at these moments as they pass by.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I fell ill

I have had a hectic month. Besides I fell ill. Now after spending three days in hospital last week, I am together again. I should be again posting regularly in the new year. Sorry to all the readers who kept coming back in the last few days. Good news is I have seen some good movies and will be posting about them.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Randoming again

Another blog about nothing much at all, except my thoughts, which opposite to everything I have learnt in Journalism School, are horizontal rather than vertical - inverted pyramid. This blog, never made public before, is from around the time G.K.Vasan quit as Cong Chief.

Have you ever felt the need to write? Like this bubbling, overflowing feeling that you have to spill your thoughts on paper or in this case onto a blog? What do you do then? Well I, for one, am gonna sit on it. Have a cup of tea, smoke a while. Sleep might come, after all.
What was the lead in the paper last night? EC is trying to get political parties to agree to something very simple: Spent only Rs 25 lakh on a Lok Sabha seat and Rs 10 lakh on a Assembly seat. But parties won't agree. The debate is between whether a cap can be put on how much the candidate spends in addition to what the party spends or just one these. Bigger parties don't want cap on candidate expenditure. The Left, as usual can't agree on what it wants. Nitopal Basu wants a cap and CPI's D. Raja doesn't.
The other major story is that G.K. Vasan is being eased out of the top post in the TN Congress Committee. He is put in charge of the election panel, but an unknown, Krishnaswamy, will head the party in the state. It's tough job, mine, to edit these stories. Because on the above stories, reporters write about 700 words each. Who will read this crap I don't know. For me the story of the day was, a robot named after Philip K Dick, the short story writer, going missing. Now that I will read 200 words on that! On the EC story give me three paras. On G.K.Vasan give me one. I think papers should publish just two pages of news with no pictures. May be a graphic once in a while. Who approves?

I kinda burned out. Will be back. see you after Christmas. BTW, I don't believe in Christianity, but I like Christ. He was a good man. Have you read The Idiot?

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Watched E yesterday. came back feeling very disappointed. this anti-hero thing is turning out to be the worst thing that happened to Tamil cinema in this decade.

Let's assume that Danush in Pudhupettai was the prototype for this behavior. I get a creeping feeling that the anti-hero in his complex form is just gonna keep evolving for years until we are sick and tired of him. he will just get more and more vulgar and obscene as time goes by. In E, the hero justifies his lack of morality by essentially saying that he grew up in poverty, had no father and the villains are all anyway much worse than him. Here are the laws of behavior of the anti-hero and their love interests.

1. Guys are either mafia henchmen or smalltime porukki. They cheat and murder as if to make up for the time when heroes in Tamil cinema never murdered.
2. Girls fall in love with the porukki because they sense that beneath the gruff exterior is a good man.
3. Girls place smartness over goodness.
4. The baddies are only slightly worse that the hero. they dont even have the moral centre that heroes have. we identify with the hero not because we see ourselves in him but because they simply spend more time onscreen than the villain.
5. Girls make half hearted attempts to reform the hero, but are never successful.
6. Women are more brazen than men when it comes to sex. males in the audience are supposed to feel thrilled by the sexual permissiveness of the on screen female.

Sigh, I yearn for the days when the hero was the knight in the shining armour and the heroine was the damsel in distress. I yearn for the days when violence and revenge was a romantic idea and was not so cinematically real.

To be fair, there are wonderful moments in the movie. But all in all it just got too sick for me. May be the movie wasn't funny enough or ironical enough or something.

A word on Devi Bala. Pathetic theatre. It's in the basement, where there is no mobile signal and, worse, no oxygen. the sound was bad and from the back row about four inches from the top of the screen was cut off. I suppose it will be better when the renovation in Devi comes to an end.

My room

The bed in my room is six feet long. My life is spend in a 10 feet circle around it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


(I was supposed to post this on Metblogs, but can't finish now. May be you will read it. I intend to finish it sometime in the near future...)

I imagine a lean choreographer cycling to meet K. Balachander to get his first break in cinema as actor. I imagine this man, who looked a bit like Bruce Lee, to be passionate and talented. This man was to influence actors and audiences in India more than any other that come to my mind.

Born in 1954 in Paramakudi, Kamal Hassan had a spectacular debut in film, winning as a six-year-old his first National award. He would later dismiss his performance. “I was just following instructions,” he has said in many interviews.

After a brief period in which he was choreographer, Kamal entered the first great school of modern Tamil cinema – K. Balachander. Apoorva Raagangal, was a typical Balachander film, both experimental and contrived. The director, without really meaning to, was to introduce the other great star of Tamil cinema Ranjikanth in the same movie. Though Kamal had acted in many films before this one, it was this movie I imagine really launched his career.

Strangely enough, Kamal, however, kept his romance with Malayalam cinema alive. I imagine he would have loved its quiet, independent spirit. I have seen him in some of these films. His accent is deeply flawed, though his mastery over the language is admirable. It was, perhaps, this early flirtation that would enable the actor to emerge from Balachander’s shadow when his own box office power enabled him to turn producer first and then ultimately director.

Even as MGR and Sivaji Ganeshan’s star was on the decline, three films released in the late 70s would prove to be important for Kamal. Sigappu Rojakkal and 16 Vayathinile, his movies with the other great director of modern Tamil cinema, Bharathiraja...

Friday, December 08, 2006

On Mel Gibson

"There is a tendency, at least among journalists, to take Mr. Gibson as either a monster or a genius, a false choice that he frequently seems intent on encouraging. Is he a madman or a visionary? Should he be shunned or embraced? Censured or forgiven?

These are the wrong questions, but their persistence reveals the truth about this shrewd and bloody-minded filmmaker. He is an entertainer. He will be publicized, and he will be paid."

A.O. Scott, in his review of Apocalypto.
Read the full article here. Another article here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Random stuff

If you are a Chennai Metblogs reader, you want to read this first.

Ok, that done we can move on with business. I have seen Blue, Elephant and Alphaville. Will post reviews soon. The reason why I am getting to watch so many nice movies is because I have finally started buying DVDs. Pirated. 80 bucks each. If you are in Chennai, mail me for the number of the guy who can home deliver it.

My grandma returned from the US this week. My aunt, her husband and their newborn are visiting too. I went to the airport at midnight and stood there patiently for two hours. Got a gift-wrapped chocolate box to show for it. Last night, when I retrieved the box from the fridge, it fell down and all the chocolates, which are wrapped in gold foil, scattered. Guess what I was thinking? How could I blog about this? The chocolates, when I tasted them later, were yummy.

Have you heard of this site called PutVote? It's a social bookmarking site. Here's a dummies guide to putvoting from Prabhu. Read that and try to vote for blogs you like. I have found it to be fun.

New additions to film reviews on sidebar:
Thavamai Thavamirunthu, Casino Royale, Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I got time to link, but not to write. Here you go then,
Stephen Hawking on forming colonies in space.
3-year-old Power Ranger saves a life.
and two links I stole from India Uncut,
Kingfisher swimsuit calendar-2007
and why you ought to be a fan of Rushdie.
And finally, here is Bob Dylan with Like a Rolling Stone in this 1966 concert.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Solaris/Les Diaboliques

IFFI ends quietly in Goa with Babel. A Chinese film, The Old Barber, won the Golden Peacock.

Solaris, a film by Tarkovsky, is a slow-moving but excellent science fiction film. Space-psychologist Kris Kelvin is entrusted with the task of deciding if the exploration of the sea of Solaris has to end or be kept alive. On board the space station close to Solaris, he finds that each astronaut has a guest formed from his own memory (or is it conscience?). Kris's own wife, who died 10 years ago, soon accompanies him. And no matter what Kris does, she won't die or leave him alone. Tarkovsky, who is a great hit with serious film buffs in India, sets out on an exploration of love, death and limits of knowledge using this intriguing and exasperating plot as an excuse. Like 2001, this movie too is about the human spirit rather than technological wizardry evident in recent science fiction movies. Belongs up there with Blade Runner and 2001. Was remade by Steven Sodenberg with George Clooney in the lead in 2002. The remake features a dreamy dance sequence in space not fully realised in the original.

Clouzot's Les Diaboliques (The Devils) was made in 1955 and is thought to have been an influence on Hitchcock's Psycho. Michel Dellassalle, the principal of an elite boarding school, is killed by his wife and his mistress. His sick wife owns the school in which the mistress is a teacher. After the elaborately planned murder, the body is dumped in the pool of the school. But next morning it disappears. Michel's suit returns from the dry cleaner's and later a schoolboy claims he saw the principal. In the background of a newly shot school photo, the principal's face may be visible. The two women freak out and start blaming each other. Who's guilty of murder? The movie is like the basic template of the murder mystery film. The title sequence music sounds familiar, no doubt because it was repeated in many Tamil films. The acting is quaint, but if you can get over that, the movie is really interesting. Not the arty farty kinds, but one with both feet on the ground.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


All thru Dec., which promises to be a busy month for me, I will feature links to posts and articles that you will like. May be you will start your own linkfest. Here then are the first five posts in the series:

B. Rangan bids goodbye to Altman
Peter Jackson splits with Newline Cinema on The Hobbit.
Guardian Blogs recommends 100 poems to learn in a year.
Chandrachoodan on Tamil nationalism.
Desigirl on A.R.Rahman

Friday, December 01, 2006


Comedy king Vadivelu makes out with a bear, pukes on people and has his balls squashed. Funny or vulgar?