Monday, September 29, 2008

Raman Thediya Seethai

I've been out of movies for quite a while (20 days perhaps but that's too big a duration for me) and Raman Thediya Seethai (RTS as they call it) has been the ice breaker that brought me back into the magical world.

I was under a determination that I should not post many movie reviews in my blog (partly because of the feedback from my friends and partly because it tends to fill the space) but it'd be an injustice if I don't write one for this movie. A meaningful Tamizh movie after a considerably long break, I'd say because Subramaniapuram (the last sane Tamizh movie I saw) was good too but it was more of a character based entertainer than a story-based, theme-driven movie.

A simple story line and a powerful screenplay are the biggest plus points of RTS. Cheran's character and the incidents that happen in his life are so neatly intertwined without the cinematic masala; and the director deserves a special applause for framing such a good sequence of incidents. Pasupathi has also done an excellent job as ever and his body language fits just so neatly into the Nedumaran character. You can never spot a peck of blemish in the way he walks, talks, his sniffing mannerisms, the way he plays a piano or anything he does. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, he is one of the unsung heroes IMHO. Cheran has done a great job too but if you are looking at the film from a reviewer's angle, you could see that his performance has some occasional hiccups. The heroine on contrary has acted so well and it was a pleasant surprise to see a character based heroine role enacted by someone who can really act. :) Another department that deserves a special mention is the camera. The backgrounds, the editing and the frame coloring for the songs as well as the scenes are just so superb. I also enjoyed a few interesting visuals like a girl crossing a depressed Cheran, busily talking over phone while a pair of youngsters are involved in the usual romantic chit-chat when the lyrics read "Ulagam yennai vittu suttrudhae...".

The last 15-20 minutes of the movie were dragging I should say. The unnecessary last song and Cheran's inability to understand a girl's love (when she becomes so dull knowing that Cheran is planning to meet another girl) were all fillers as I'd put it. The moral of the story however seems to be partly true and partly wrong. For an individual who lacks perceptional abilities, 5-10 mins couldn't be of great help in understanding someone. But for a person who can read one's eyes and the body language, it isn't too hard to understand the kind of person he is talking to given 20 mins of conversational freedom.

Overall positives: Story, screenplay, Star performance, Camera
Overall negatives: Slightly lengthy second half, Unnecessary last song and very poor match between the heroine who looks like a stallion and Cheran who is so puny.

I'd say RTS is a must-watch movie though it is not completely picture-perfect.

Monday, September 22, 2008


A casual post after a quite long time on a topic that almost everyone loves... :)

Be it a train to Guruvaayoor, a bus to Paappanaayakkampatti or an airplane to the Alps, travel is an interesting experience. Unless the purpose of the travel is something disastrous, quite a lot of noticeably interesting things happen in our journeys and I usually correlate the time spent traveling to that of life; for life in my view is an elongated journey where you know the origin but not the destination! (Ok... no more philosophies... I swear!)

You could see all sorts of characters as though someone really followed statistical techniques to create the sample. People who lock their 1970s model Aristocrat briefcase with a 3 feet long cast iron chain with such a meticulous perfection without realizing that one punch on the face of that briefcase would give two (unusable) briefcases, people who travel short distances with loads and loads of luggages most of which is packed with food and snacks (indha oru vaai saappttu padutthukkappaa... Ippao dhaanammaa murukku thinnaen), people who try to show off their kid's wit/intelligence (amma paer enna, maamaa enna color shirt paottrukkaaru), people who rush to restrooms as soon as the flight takes off as though they've been holding their leak for hours together just so they can be the first to use the restrooms in the plane, people who always choose upper berths in trains just so they can start snoring with the first whistle of the engine, people who stare at vacuum as though it's the doom's day with their ipod plugged to their ears, people who are so curious about others or those who try to be way too friendly... Such a variety that leaves you no short of entertainment.

The best entertainer of the lot I'd say is a flight journey especially if you are taking a 12+ hrs flight from one part of the world to the diametric opposite end of it. Don't know if its the prolonged flight or the curiosity, people are at their hilarious (or may be it's just me) best in such trips. If the neighbor happens to be a good looking chick, all possible gimmicks would be on to impress her. Turning on that cool look, heavily accented English, denying drinks that were his targets when he boarded the flight and trying to talk to her at every single opportunity are the symptoms of flightfigurophilia (Now don't Wiki that!! :)); one of the most interesting diseases on the planet. But I often commend Murphy for his laws and I'm not sure a Nobel was awarded to him (if not it's a grave injustice). You never get a good looking girl for your neighbor and almost always your neighbor is a guy who has the dumbest looks on the planet and keeps drinking every flavor of alcohol that is on board. Some other times, you keep praying for an empty row just so you could stretch yourself and sleep; and there comes the most talkative neighbor you could think of, not even allowing you to watch a movie in peace. :)

All in all, there are two best ways to kill boredom - call for a meeting or plan a short trip with your eyes wide open!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

LHC and India

The Large Hardon Collider (LHC) has been the talk of the town for quite a while now, at least among the educated mass. An extremely simplified explanation of this experiment is that it is an effort by a bunch of nerds to identify ('try to identify' to be more precise) what has been happening after the big-bang. So what the hell is big-bang? That is the way most of these nerds would like to explain how the universe came to a state it is in, today. One particle of extreme energy and density exploded (the explosion is called the big bang) and poof came the elements in this universe. Text books that were prescribed to me back in the higher sec days used to tell that this theory is intended to explain the creation of the universe. But actually there is no theory till date that explains how the universe was created! These theories rather assume that 'something' existed to begin with and then they explain what could've happened in that 'something' that resulted in the evolution of this universe. Okay... enough on the theories part! Let me get to the point that I wanted to get to... :)

As much as I appreciate the efforts by the scientists to really know and understand what happened/happens in this universe, IMHO these experiments eat up way too much funds. When millions of fellow humans are dying out of hunger, poverty, thirst and malnutrition every year, spending billions of dollars on experimentation and research seems really weird. People who were ready to spend so much money just to know how universe was when it first came into existence are not ready to spend as much to make sure none in the world dies for the want of food. In a way, aren't these 'developed' nations responsible for the underdeveloped status of African and Asian countries? Isn't their past jingoism responsible for the extreme underpricing of the African, Asian currencies in the international market today? But I'd partly agree with people who say "Yeah! It's my buck. I decide how to spend it" because as much as it doesn't make sense in the humanitarian view, it does make sense at least from a commercial and practical point of view. So let me set aside the countries with surplus budgets for now.

India as everyone knows has never seen a surplus budget in the recent past and when I see that India has offered 1000+ crores (1 Crore = 10 Million) for this LHC, I was dumbfounded to say the least. We don't have sufficient power to keep our houses bright. We have a considerable chunk of the population that earns well below 10K a year. We are running deficit for the past 50+ years. The infrastructure is horrible to say the least. But we are offering 1000+ crores to know how the universe was when it came into existence!!! Reminds me of a comic quote in Tamizh - "Pullayaarae perucchaali la paoikirukkaaru... Poosaarikki bullettu kaekkudhaa!!". I guess you could make out what that could mean based on the previous statements! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black swans?!

"There is no culture out there", "They don't value relationships", "What kind of a living style is that" are some common phrases that one could commonly hear from Indians who have never been out of the country. If you are wondering whom they are commenting on, it's none but the westerners which in Indian dictionary means US for about 75% of the time and UK for the rest. Trust me... the world map has only a very few countries in the Indian perspective :)

But let's see how much truth is contained in the aforementioned opinions... Perhaps these opinions are based on the "My kids and your kids are playing with our kids" part of the western life. A few days at the Indian metros would clearly indicate that this culture has started spreading its wings in India too! With the traditional Hindu culture vanishing pretty quickly especially in urban India, we are no longer the source of the beautiful and unadultrated cultural light. That apart, do we have any great plus points that we can boast of?

Suspicion, lack of respect for others, fraud, needless hurry and so many other flaws can be easily spotted in us but still we claim that westerners lack culture. People might object this view especially mentioning that it's subjective but to be honest, I've seen the proportions blowing out in our people than the others. Hindu mythology says that a swan can extract just the milk out of a milk, water cocktail; leaving behind the adulteration. It is often quoted as a sign of being selective; and selective in a positive manner. But I strongly feel that we are being negative selectors just getting what we aren't supposed to get and forgetting what we need to get. Physical fitness, empathy for others, discipline, honesty, harmony and a lot of other qualities are out there in the west for us to learn or rather re-discover. But in reality we insist on seeing the black dot on a white sheet.

If we fail to understand our culture or their culture completely; and get into this coccoon of artificial cultural supremacy, we are not too far from facing the bitter reality and when we do, the impact would be much more negative than we expect it to be.

Did I stop blogging?

The longest breaks I've been taking between posts have been increasing over the past few weeks. Does that mean I've stopped blogging? Not really! Lots and lots of thoughts have been piling up in my mind like December snow but somehow framing that into a view and then into a post has been on hold for a while like a silent observer gathering data to paint the final picture!

Now that the flakes of thoughts have piled up into a hill, I'd soon be delivering processed bits with my trademark writing style :D "Adhi viraivil" as Tamizh movie producers put it... :)