Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Rose In The Bouquet...

As I have mentioned, I wanted to introduce you to some of family/friends. I have been a bit slack but I now introduce to you another jewel of mine.. She is my best friend, my guide, my psychologist, my groupie, my PR agent, my advocate and my adversary.. My Inspiration To Love..

Moana Pacific House

The creeking door makes known to all
The caretaker has not come since last fall
The cobwebs inside shine in the light
As darkness looms large on that foggy night

A whisper, a giggle and dry leaves make a stir
Footsteps can be heard as she comes closer
Then "Bang" opens a door, forever unlocked
One that was closed for whomever that knocked

As she scans the place, she notices a toy
A little dusty but cute and says "Oh,Boy!"
With her smile so bright and warm embrace
Even the lifeless bear has a smile on his face

With her positive energy sans any fear
Her caring hands wipe away any smear
She looks at the bear and cuddles it tight
"I'm here for you" she says in the night

The cobwebs start to fall and sun shines through
As the house becomes a home to someone new
Her presence changed everything for all to see
This is the home inside a heart for her to be

The years may pass and the house much older
And the lines of age become much bolder
But the door remains unlocked for her even now
As this friendship remains much like a vow.

I know its not much since she has been a part of my life for 9 years now but the experiences and emotions that I've been through with her is something that I can't explain but make her a significant person in my life. Love you,B.. for life..

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby's Breaths of Cinema That I Adore

Ok, now I know some are going to ask about the title. It goes back to the lotus/flower connection. When I am given flowers or are giving them, florists generally use greenery and/or babies breath as a filler. In essence, the main attraction is the roses. But this post is a dedication to some of my fav babies breaths of cinema i.e. sidekicks. Some are comedians, some are character artists and some are just junior artists. But in all, sometimes the proceedings were made interesting because of these people [in some they are the only ones worth watching].

During a time that I wasn't even born in, this man rocked the screens. He's a comedian/character artist/villain/hero etc.. Two words to simplify. Amazing performer! His most famous works are not in my collection but of some that I have seen, Nagesh was an all in all. I loved him in Nammavar, hated him Apoorva Sahodhargal (Appu Raja in Hindi and Telugu) and found him hilarious in Thiruvilaiyaadal. His close relation with Kamal Haasan proved to be a treat for the viewers eyes. A man that would be sorely missed and will forever remain in the hearts and minds of many.

Let's jump over to Telugu and the first name of a sidekick that I think about from an era that had the famous four ruling is someone that's doing well on forefront too now. I still remember him in Premaku Velayera as the forgetfull GM. Srihari maybe doing character role of late that seem to be all speaking with the same accent [Telengana I believe but dont quote me] but he's just a powerhouse performer in any role you give him. Whether its the sentimental brother in NVNV [as pictured, courtesy of Nikki] or the gunda-Bhai in King, he's just that character. An actor that I believe has still not shown his true potential, his pull with the audience still grows.

Sudhakar isn't acting anymore but I thought I'd given him a mention for those who have seen him in Tamil and Telugu as a hero and comedian. Piccha Kottudu Sudhakar [Athisaya Pravi/Yamudiki Mogudu] as some know has by far the most hilarious voice I have heard. And that too without trying to caricature funny. There are very few actors I eagerly anticipate their on-screen beating, just for the reactive acting after Koundamani and Senthil. He's worked with so many actors but whether its Chiranjeevi, Rajnikanth or Bharathiraaja, he is one that stands his ground and moulds with all.

Amongst the actor-comedian bunch, is a actor-comedian-director. Manivannan can be downright nasty or a total sweetheart on screen. In real-life this actor is described as a teddy bear. One thing about Mani that I love is that his acting is the kind that can be menacing yet has a comical element to it, much like his bestie Sathyaraj. Their combination is also one that has me in splits especially Maaman Magal. To me, he may not the prettiest rose in the bouquet, he's deinifitely not your ordinary thorn.

From one sweetheart to another, Sunil was never just a comedian. Whichever actor you see him with, fellow comedian Brahmanandam or Megastar Chiranjeevi, he always has a way of standing out. As much as he made me laugh, he made me cry when his dying scene in Mass came up [Sad, I know, but thats how involved I get]. Andala Ramudu was a turning point for this unconventional hero in TFI. Maryada Ramana cemented his status as one. Now while I still haven't gotten over Raye Raye, he is gettin ready for his third venture as lead in Katha, Screenplay, Dasrakathvam Appalraju with RGV. All I can say is if its showing here in Sydney, I am sooo watching it.

From established to upcoming, Karthik Sabesh is pretty lucky with a dual intro in Tamil and Telugu. For those who don't know, this is the actor I mentioned in my Kadhal Solla Vanthen Review. He has also acted in Thakita Thakita as Subz. I know I have already said I wanted to see more of him but this was more apprent in Thakita Thakita than Kadhal Solla Vanthen. The latter had him standing step by step alongside with Balaji but the latter lost him in a confusing screenplay. I'm hoping that he doesn't get lost in the big world of cinema.

Venu is one actor I adore for one film, Munna. He has been in others and noticeable too but whenever I see him, I always think back to the bike scene. Although his entire track in Munna is worth more than a mention since I found it to be the lifeline that tries to save the film. But that's a different matter. I do, however, intend on watching the other 30 odd films he's been in.

What do I say about Tanikella Bharani? He's awesome which pretty much sums it. Whatever the role, comical or not, this man is all out and his voice modulation is super supportive too. I did not want him in Azhagiya Thamizh Magan as I knew he'd have nothing to do but more because of the dubbing. And as feared, the movie released and became the insignificant intro for him as I suspected. Yet I still remain an ardent fan of his work in Ashta Chamma, Malleshwari, Ready and Godavari to name a few. A talented dialogue writer [Gaayam 1]and playwright, he makes any shade of grey appealing.


Brahmaji is not seen as often nowadays but I loved him in Ninne Pelladatha and Athadu. Yes, its the comedy side of him that I adore more but that is surely not the only side of him. His performance in Sindooram and Gulabi put him on the map for me and he is one actor that surely deserves more than what he been getting. 

I think it would be safe to say alongwith me, a lot of people took noticed to this curly haired  actor in Ayan. Jagan's origin is unknown to me so if you have any info on this guy, please do share. At present, he is the only reason why I am interested in watching Nil Gavani Sellathey. I'm hoping he becomes one of the multi-faceted actors in Tamil Cinema and not just a sidekick but even as one he stands out. Even if his character wasn't developed well enough in Ayan, for a good portion, he is what drives the story forward.

I don't know about you but I mistook Shafi to be an oddball in Chatrapthi the first time I saw it but in all honesty, he is perfect as the oddball with a grudge. He was apart of Nandita Das' Nandi winner Kamli which I am waiting to release here. But till then I have Khaleja. Trust me, beyond Mahesh[now thats a big distraction] I watched it just for his disciple-following-his-saviour act. He adds another dimension to the film within his limited role as Siddhappa.

How can I forget the first time I saw Rao Ramesh in Kotha Bangaru Lokam. Completely unaware of his heirtage [Son of late Rao Gopal Rao], as usual I thought he was a newbie and thought to myself this guy has spunk. Then I saw him in Avakai Biryani as the village head/villain. From a cool professor to the village bum dictator, I was stunned it was the same person. But this man has more surprises each time he comes on screen. Would love to see him flaunt his comic timing a bit more but the sinister side still has amazing appeal. A baddie that looks half decent in an older man way [Reminds me of a younger Prakashraj, before the massive paunch]

But this list doesn't stop here. As you may have noticed there aren't any females in my list.. That is for another post. But for now, these are a few guys that I feel make it happen and this is my way of saying thanks.

[Part 1 of 3 part series]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Va- Quarter Cutting Review

If there's one thing that was clear from the trailer of  Va Quarter Cutting is that there is no room for thinking. Just watching. Considering Oram Po is still a favourite of mine and I still watch the trailer for the antics, director duo Pushkar and Gayathri's next film has taken a long time in my books. Add to that the unconventional lyrics to some music by G.V.Prakash and the comical duo from Saroja, Shiva and Charan, and naturally expectations rise as well as anticipation. But without babbling much further, lets open this bottle.

Meet Sundarajan alias Sura[Shiva]. He's your average joe from Coimbatore on his way to Saudi for work. When he is told that there are 3 conditions to his stay in Saudi, he gets worried. The first two are ok as he can do without his meat and his girl but the last one, no alcohol, gives him a panic attack. So with his sister's boyfriend Marthadan[SPB Charan], Sura sets out to taste his beloved 'Quarter' before his 6:30 am flight.  Simple? Not really. There is bandh[strike, I think] in place because of the elections that will finish the next day. A little too late for our hero so he drags Marthadan along to find some of the illegal variety. Along the way they meet a politician[Kalyan], a police officer[Abhinaya Sri], a boyish wannabe gangster[Craig], 3x 12th fail candidate with suicidal tendencies[Lekha Washington], a gay Prince and his casino-kingpin father[dual role by John Vijay] and a bunch of misfits which includes some new face and old ones too. Their connection to Sura and Marthandan? That you will have to watch the film to find out.

I'll start with the hangover on this one since its short. This is a no brainer story that doesn't have a message["Yenda ellathukkum message thedure" line from the trailer comes to mind]. A very basic story but a screenplay that will confuse you until the end. With so much going on, its a wonder that Pushkar-Gayathri were able to finish their film. Of course the notion that all of what happened, happened in one night itself is impossible but even with this kind of screenplay, there is a lot of clutter. I was literally scratching my head with Manikkam Vinayagam's singing act that popped up every now and then. In fact, with so many characters, you could feel the drag in the film as they inserted a new track in each time. But barring the Babyface and Retta Papakal, and to a degree Saro Stupid [Lekha] episodes, everything else has a reason that is evident at the end.

There is method to the madness and its clear thats what this duo has intended. Not spoofiness, but MADness.With cinematographer Nirav Shah, art director Santhanam, action director Dileep Subbrayan and music/background score director G.V.Prakash in tow, the duo that brought Oram Po, has handled a different kind of 'all in one story'. Kudos for bringing this kind of cinema to Tamil. If they won have the battle with the film looking like Chennai at night, Prakash adds to the quirky quotient with his score. I must say that this kid has some great vocals. I hope we hear of him more as well.

Shiva is definitely rising in the comedy caper ranks. The actor who effortlessly pulled off the over-the-top spoof fest Tamil Padam, is back with his trade mark serious face but comical situation and that too, with an Coimbatore accent[My fav for some odd reason]. Charan, Charan, Charan... where have you been hiding?! The actor has a distinctive voice tailor made for this food crazy ammanji Vet Doctor role and holds no bones about his physique. The two are delightful and are worth keeping an eye on. Lekha Washington isn't your typical cutie and it shows with her film selection. From Saro Stupid to Super Saro, she doesn't get much time on screen but she puts in her two cents worth. As does Abhinaya Sri and Kalyan. The item girl has actually no dancing in this flick but add to the entourage. Kalyan, however, is apt as the crooked politician. John Vijay deserves a mention on this one after disappointing in Bhale Pandiya. Personally, I preferred his King character which is a mix of Indhiran Chandran Kamal Hassan and Karunanidhi. But this actor has improved and its apparent.

So what do you rate a movie that could possibly be just a mokkai[crap] film that I enjoyed just for its mokkainess... 

Rating: 4/5 

P.s Given that I did enjoy this film for what it is, I've updated the rating to reflect it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dil Ka Funda..

Have you ever had that moment when you get a bunch of questions popping into your head when you hear about something or see an incident? Well, I've been reading and seeing articles about relationships for quite some time and felt compelled to write about. If not to vent my own frustration, to find out if anyone else feels the same. If you don't agree or have an answer to any of the these questions/statements, please do comment as this is something that has me somewhat dumbfounded.

Having written an article on Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif's recent break up, I have been reading a bit about what each have openly said to the media and how many articles have been written about them. But it wasn't just them that got me thinking. Now yes, I am talking about couples in the limelight of Indian Film Industry but what I witness as well is how the aam janta - my family, friends, colleagues or even people that I follow on Twitter - respond to it including their emotions, ideals and/or morals on the topic.

Its evident that as people change relationships will as well but certain fundamental principles seem to have no place in today's society. But the desire to be in a relationship and be loved by someone still stands. The issues that I have been witnessing over the last few years, and more so in the last 6 months, seems to boil down to one thing. Self. That is the importance given to oneself and ones needs/desires/wants. Ultimately, remaining in a loveless relationship and being abused either mentally, physically or emotionally is not something that I endorse but at the same time, the threshold for the common person seems to have reduced. I know that circumstances in life dont stay the same and my life is perfect example of what can happen if you hold on too long or get into something that you dont believe in. But the amount of broken relationships that one witnesses is increasing and there is no age limit to it either.

I maybe wrong in that its only now this is happening but in all honesty, the ratio of failed relationship have increased for sure. It isn't that I am looking for these situations either. As a sort of agony aunt to my friends and relatives, my exposure to relationships is limited I know but at the same time, the above mentioned articles plus the on-going buzz about certain relationships does make a impact. Further to that a friend said that I shouldn't take relationship in filmdom seriously. What is that supposed to mean? People are people. Whether your famous or not, it doesn't make a difference. The fact is  things that once had importance dont seem to exist anymore.

Yes there are people that still value the concept marriage, including myself, and family. I would be stupid to look past some of my favourite on screen couples that have proven themselves to be normal yet made for each other in real life too [Suriya-Jyothika, Ajith-Shalini, Madhavan-Sarika]. But these people are hard to come by. The concept of arranged marriage still exists but the number of times my younger cousins or non-Sri Lankan/Indian friends are me why I'm agreeing to it is testament to how absurd they feel it is. 

So while on one side you have people that see marriage as a hinderance and prefer to remain as "partners" or a "living together" couple. On the other side you have people that aren't hesitating to form a relationship even while they've been in another for years. Then you have people that have spent close to a lifetime together and separating for the most peculiar reasons. Yes, I dont know the history and there may be valid reasons for it all but like I mentioned, this is a thought of mine. Why is it that after spending so many years of their life together, couples separate for the same things that were present at the beginning of the relationship? Why does there seem to be a rush to start and end things officially? Have the traditions of 'Till death do us part' died with previous generations? There are alot of girls that I know that dont entertain the idea of living together relationships only because they cant find the right guy and there parents would have a field day. I know parents that are aware of their childrens' relationship with someone they don't approve but say that 'its an age thing, they'll get over it' as they turn a blind eye to it.

I recently read a a weekly magazine that had tidbit articles about the latest gossip topic of Prabhu Deva and Nayanthara's open affair. Beyond my opinion of this relationship, the article talks of supposed compromises between the parties and whatnot. But there was a question-answer section that said if Prabhu [Sivaji's son] and Khushbu were together now, they would have stood a better chance now than in their era. I don't know about you but that doesn't sound like a good thing to me. 

Standing by your friends is something everyone agrees on and has followed for years but where has the era gone for people who lived their lives with one person? Circumstances out of our control can forgive people who love again but in all honesty, is being someone's ex a title worth having..

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Uthama Puthiran Review

Remakes are a tricky business. Sometimes, having seen the original, the audience may not want to see a remake with different cast. In other cases, the comparisons themselves act as deterrents. Then there's the flip side where the remake garners more success or recognition than the original. But from what I have witnessed it, the key doesn't lie in just the story or the cast. If the person behind the camera calling the shots doesn't have a clear understanding of his target, all hell breaks loose. Titled after the 1958 Sivaji-Padmini flick, Uthama Puthiran has Mithran Jawahar and Dhanush joining hands again after Kutty and Yaaradi Nee Mohini, two other remakes from Telugu. A remake of the film Ready [Ram and Genelia] which is a personal favourite of mine, I have been interested in this film for quite some time but quite fearful that it would fall into the trap that Kutty fell into, turning into a complete disaster with regional adaptation and miscasting of characters. Thankfully, that's not the case.

Siva [Dhanush] is a part of a joint family that lives together. Cheeky, fun yet loyal, he will do anything for the people he cares about. After helping his cousin Kalpana [Shriya in guest appearance] elope on the day of her wedding, his father Raghupathy [K.Bhagyraj] refuses to allow him back in the house and orders the family to not even utter his name. Missing home but still upbeat they will accept him back, Siva goes back to college. Here he finds that his friend needs Siva's help in his own elope act. But Siva's plan backfires this time as instead of kidnapping his friends' girl, he and his gang pick up Pooja [Genelia]. At this point Siva is instantly struck by cupid, but Pooja is no easy rose. Although she is grateful they kidnapped her from a pending wedding she was being forced by her uncle Chinna Koundar[Jayaprakash Reddy] to go through with, they are not going to let her off easy. The chase now begins as Siva helps Pooja to get to her friends place but on arrival they find out she is not there. With nowhere else to go, Pooja enters Siva's house and finds refuge but as she quickly becomes one with the family and in turn, recuperates theirs and Siva's affection, the lie she uses to stay with them is caught out by the family, just as she is found by her uncle Periya Koundar [Ashish Vidhyarthi] and taken away. It’s now up to Siva with the help of Emotional Ekambaram [Vivek], to convince Pooja's family and get his girl without the bloodshed they resort to in other circumstances.

As you can see this isn't rocket science cinema. It’s a love story but the central focus is the family sentiment. Considering every other film is a love story, this one doesn't fall far from the tree but the appeal is apparent with an ensemble star cast, good music and great dialogues. While Mithran has once again, brought a Telugu story to Tamil, he has made this his own film also. Unlike the Telugu film, he has changed aspects of the film and the characters which has added his own touch to it. Aiding him in a vital way is Dhanush. This is a guy that some would question his hero status but I, for one, find him to be an amazing actor in an unconventional package. Totally casual and in his element, the actor is in control and flaunts the fact he is apt for the role. Co-starring with Dhanush for the first time, this is the second role Genelia has reprised for a remake [first being Santosh Subramaniam/Bommarillu]. She is one of the few actresses which give a fresh look to her character each time and her acting just gets better. It would be unfair to say she does the same as she did in Telugu but within her well accustomed role, she shines and her chemistry with Dhanush is adorable. A special mention must be made for Jayaprakash Reddy and Vivek. Jayaprakash Reddy has a unique voice and I was worried that he would be dubbed for like other non-Tamil cast members but he surprised me by not only doing his own dubbing but successfully pulling off a distinct native Tamil accent. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Ashish Vidhyarthi and Surekha Vani [Oy, Ready]. While Surekha scores on the acting and loses as the voice clearly doesn’t suit her, Ashish dubbing artist leaves us confused on which accent he is supposed to have. Vivek on the other hand, tones down his advise-comedy and brings the house down with his expressions.

It’s confession time. I am and have always been very wary of Vijay Antony’s compositions. Yes, they are catchy but given that he is the guy that ripped Rihanna’s worldwide hit Unfaithful and I felt that some of his compositions just don’t make sense, I wasn’t all that pleased with the selection of Music Director. But Vijay proved me wrong and I left the theatres with Ussuma Laresay in my head. However, the songs that are sure to catch your eye for the choreography or visuals would be Ulagam Unakku and Kan Irandil. You may need to watch Ulagam Unakku twice to get over the choreography and superb show of Aarthi [Padikkathavan] busting a move in time with all the boys including Dhanush. In fact, the visuals i.e art and cinematography [M. Thiyagarajan and Balusubramiam] are commendable throughout the film as well.

So what are the cons? Its length. The film isn’t perfect for sure. There are points of the story that you can feel the drag but at the same time, there is a jump in the story that leaves you wondering if the movie had pieces cut afterwards. And the climax is a dampener. While it is a family comedy, the way the director finishes the film leaves a lot to be desired, a thought I had when watching the original as well.

Rating: 3.5/5 – A nice family entertainer

A Tattooed Rose

I wrote a piece called My Inpirations To Love and said I'd introduce a few of these reasons to you. But in all honesty, I don't own that phrase myself. The girl behind who I am today is now not so close but her impact will always remain the same. She is the reason I have felt, experienced and enjoyed so many things in my life. She is my inspiration.

Moo Moo

A shadow lingers in the afternoon light
As your thoughts remains in my mind.
What was a reality is now a dream,
And a connection is hard to find

The memories are still filled with laughter
Flashing before my eyes, now and again
As your presence left no place untouched
While the fear of losing you creeps in

As efforts to regain a momentum shatter
The facts stand before as clear as day
There was never a reason to begin with
But that never stopped us from play

Now times maybe rough and rigid
But however far this may go
History has been written in stone
For anyone to read and to know

This post is in dedication to a girl that I have known half my life and will forever be grateful for her being there for me. She is a reason that I was looking for and a path that showed me the light. Missing you, Moo moo.

I've been asked why I say that she is not so close anymore. Its just that life has us going in different directions that hasn't allowed us to spend the time we used to. I'm not finding fault in this as that is life but it seems to have put a strain on the friendship. I guess this is my way of letting her know that I'm sorry if I have neglected her or not shown how important she is. No matter what, she will remain a major factor of my life and all we need is another chance to meet again. For old times sake.

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