Monday, January 26, 2009

Copy cat... :)

When it comes to Tamizh music directors, the title 'copy cat' was synonymous to Deva until a few years back. These days, though I hear occasional news about some track being copied, I was under the impression that at least a major portion of the songs were being composed originally. But I was disproved totally today! :) As usual I was spending time on Youtube and on this occasion I was listening to some very old classics like "Ennirandu padhinaaru vayadhu", "Ullatthil nalla ullam" etc; and ended up seeing a related video called 'Copy cat Harris Jeyaraj'. Harris Jeyaraj copying western songs isn't news; but the number of songs he's copied definitely is, at least to me. I mean, almost all his famous songs have been branded as plagiarized. This was disgusting to know and honestly if music composition is only about this, I could become a music director too. I wonder how the producers and directors encourage such things! Below are a few songs I found on Youtube and don't miss the last video that got me ROTFL :)

The point to be noted is that this guy has not even been for a decade in the industry and the list given here would pretty much cover 10% of his songs! All I could say is EKSI!

It's been movies and work all the way!

For the past few days, work has been real tight and personally I have the habit of taking frequent surfing breaks and that way I didn't miss Orkut or Gmail that much. But blogging on the other hand demands some time and thoughts and I haven't been too successful in finding both along with the mood to write, over the past few days. So apart from work, the only thing I've been doing is watching some movies and fortunately, I got to see some great movies. Let me just summarize them...


Amazing movie. A Prakashraj starrer directed by Priyadharshan. A classic example of beautiful art direction and camera. I initially thought it was a Brahmin bashing communist film from its name; but it actually turned out to be a completely different story. A simple story of how an inidividual weaver's life is affected by the exploitation of silk weavers in the last century; this movie is definitely a must watch for anyone who likes simple, well presented films.

The City of God:

More of a masala movie; but still it's definitely worth a watch especially for the stunning screenplay. Connecting n dimensions together to narrate a plot isn't easy and it has been handled very well in this movie. If you are a lover of gangster movies, this one is a must watch; and even otherwise you will enjoy the movie.


This one is actually a Korean movie; but for the first time (or at least the first time I remember) I enjoyed a movie made in an unknown language to this extent. The theme is sick and many might shun away from the taboo concept; but the impact this movie creates is mindblowing. It really takes a completely different plane of thoughts to come up with such a story and narrate it in such a striking way.

The curious case of Benjamin Button:

Again a completely different concept; but IMHO not as good as the above three. It's good, pleasant and different. But nothing in it says it is a must watch. The novel plot and the makeup carries the movie apart from a few exceptional dialogs and scenes.

Squeezing in time for these four movies was an achievement. So pretty much that's how I spent the last week... :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poo (tamil movie) - The synonym of unconditional love...

People generally get mad when I write stuff on movies (especially reviews) and pretty soon I'm planning to start a dedicated movie review site where the focus would be to review all the movie I've seen and I see, in a detailed way. But this movie, definitely deserves a post for two things - 1. A village subject in this decade that is really natural and unadulterated and 2. The concept. Personally I'm a big hater of Srikanth for his inability to act and that kept me from watching this movie for a quite long time. But I actually feel that I should've seen this movie a long back.

The movie story in one line - "Unconditional love that Maari has for Thanga Raasu"!

Biggest pluses:

The Concept - A heroine centered emotion driven movie that is a rarity in Tamil cinema, especially if the subject is village based.

Camera - Though the camera man tries to overdo things at some places, becoming predictable/wrong (the scene where she comes around the palm tree is a classic example... The lighting conditions between the tree she stands below and the tree that the camera revolves around differ drastically); the overall camera work in the movie is no less than amazing. Whether it is the shot that begins from inside the Hen's cage or the village landscape shots in vivid colors and that special blue effect or the scenes where multiple emotions are captured in a single frame with a higher depth of field, the cameraman has done a great job.

Perfectly natural screenplay - No extra additions, no exaggerations... Very practical and very good screenplay.

The cuts - From present to a flash back, to another flash back and then suddenly back into present; still remaining crystal clear.

The poetic approach - This is one of the biggest pluses actually. Some of the scenes were simply outstanding in the way the happenings are portrayed. Some examples... the scene where the heroine expresses her mixed emotions to her friend when she is questioned whether she is not sad at all about the happenings, the scenes where the heroine's mother comes in... Amazingly subtle portrayal of her grief. The childish things that the heroine does to impress Srikanth. The way metaphors are used in the scenes to convey emotions, as in the scene where she hugs the goat and says "just because it's sold it doesn't mean we need to forget about it". The "Penakkaarar" character and the self respect he wants to command - the climax dialogs about dreams. The words she pens down to express her love...

Minimal role to Srikanth - Though Srikanth could say he is the hero of the movie, he is used very minimally in the movie and the whole court is given to the heroine. It's good in two ways - we don't need to see Srikanth screwing things up and secondly the story is conveyed in the way it is supposed to be conveyed.

Now the negatives...

Cast - Srikanth is an obvious bad choice especially for a village role. I'm not saying this out of personal hatred; but still the director should've got someone else who can mould into a villager. Perhaps he was the only actor who was ready to act for a few thousands! :D The heroine has performed excellently well in some scenes (especially the scene where she talks to her friend about what she has in her for Srikanth) and so artificially in some others (especially when she is supposed to cry). Other than these two characters, since most of them are actual villagers, I don't really think it was too tough to choose people for the roles. I loved the selection for the heroine's brother and mother.

A few overdone things - For instance, the heroine going out at midnight for stupid reasons. I agree that it's a highly important thing from the heroine's perspective; but still a village girl, that too a timid one, frequently going out at midnight doesn't sync in too well.

Comedy - Not too funny! Period... :)

Some silly mistakes - TN 57 (dindugul registration) number plate on a Sivakasi TVS 50 :), the language that is more Tirunelveli and Nagercoil than Madurai/Sivakasi, the periods (from the heroine's young age to the most recent) aren't handled too well and the mother looks the same in both these sequences, the shots about Srikanth's friend's kid (the reason why he is residing out of the village) look like camcorder shots, the hero's dad wearing gold, white and white when he is actually not very happy, etc.

Overall, I'd say this one is a must watch movie despite its flaws purely for the storyline and the way it is handled. If you believe in unconditional love, Poo will definitely touch your heart like the petals of a freshly bloomed flower...

No idea...

A continuation of the F section memories I should say; and this one was one of the trademarks of the class! :)

Almost everyone who completed college would have an idea on how lecturers reprimand the students when they are not attentive in the class; and the most popular trick is to ask questions on the subject and when the student couldn't answer, they start giving advices that are no longer connected to the subject. Depending on the age of the lecturer, the tone would differ and let me try to give you a few examples...

A lecturer in late twenties through mid thrities - "Don't try to act smart. It'll take you nowhere. All this might sound funny. But you know for a fact that I control your internal marks... So better beware"

A lecturer in forties - "Kids these days hardly have any respect. When you face life, you would know how tough it is and not a day will go by without you repenting for these bad things and lack of attention in your college life"

An even older lecturer/professor - "When you look at life from your perspective it might sound too easy and careless. But when you cross ages and gain experiences you would know how tough it is to survive in the never ending competition. Professors are not your enemies. They are like the light that takes you to the............(continues until the bell rings)"

We had a physics lecturer who was (I believe) in the second category and we had nick-named her "Simran"! Somehow her way of teaching would remind me of my high school physics lessons and I hardly remember a word of what she taught us... Actually we had two physics lecturers and the other person was nick named "Nambiyar" since he always had that villain look on his face and his dialog delivery was typically like that; but he used to escape from our direct insults because he hardly cares about what students think or do during his sessions. Ocassionally he used to say "If you wand to talku, you can get outu"... That's all! So there was a gentleman (?!) agreement between us that neither of us would disturb each other...

Coming back to Miss. (Now Mrs?!) Simran, she was particular in making sure that everyone listened to what she taught and as a result, during the initial days she resorted to the text book approach of questioning the defaulters about some crappy formulae or integral equations. Just like anti-bodies that come up with some defense mechanism for every known attack, we formulated a way of tackling such things - the "No idea" scheme. The basic concept of being an anti-social element is simple. You always need to be united as a group... We all knew that the college wouldn't go too far to debar the whole class considering the scores we had (despite all our misbehaviors our average score was way higher than the averages of other sections) and that the management wasn't too stupid/sensitive to debar a class for these minor misbehaviors. If you are an individual, the situation drastically changes to adversity though! :)

The idea we formulated was simple. If someone is pointed out for mischief and asked to getup to answer a question, the person should say "No idea" even before the question was asked and even better, the next guy will voluntarily wakeup and say the same. This would continue till either the whole class is standing or the lecturer loses patience and either leaves our hall angrily or asks us all to GFO. The first day we implemented this idea, we were all ROTFL ing after the session and Ms. Simran was literally clueless about what was going on! Believe me... As arrogant as it sounds, it is one of the best memories we share and the contagious spirit with which we used to say "No idea" still lingers in my ears. Though we were rebels, the extent of unity we had was unbelievable and I could hardly imagine another class that could've possibly done the same thing. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

'F' section...

Disclaimer: The 'F' in title is no way connected to the 'F' word... :)

Films and books tend to exaggerate college life way more than what it actually is, but sure enough it's one of the best phases of life. Unlike the kids in US or any other western countries, Indian kids enjoy the most comfortable phase of their life at college (though they never realize it when they were actually in that phase :)) because they are not bullied like the school days or forced to make money like the later stages of life. When I think about my college days looking at an email from a good old friend or holding a cup of coffee during a break, lost in thoughts; I often feel I could've lived it better... I haven't even talked with everyone (especially girls) in my class! :) I got some good friends, gained some exposure and had my share of fun during the later years but the best part of it was definitely the first semester... We were in the 'F' section when the college was adjusting to the expansion and we had weird timings (some days our classes started at 10:30 and went up to 6:30 while some other days, they begin at 8:00 and end at 3:00) that left the management with no choice to move people using the college transportation into one class. During this relocation stuff, it so happened that 'F' section was full of guys because all girls wanted to use the college transportation... It was like a demonstration of how bad a class can be to the lecturers and how good a class can be, for the guys. Among the whistles, claps, 'proxies', hilarious comments and spoofs, if I say, we enjoyed the semester, it would be an understatement...

I couldn't list out all the incidents at a stretch in a single post but let me tell you the most hilarious (most insulting from the lecturer's view point and I personally felt bad about it too) incident that happened towards the end of the semester... We had an English lecturer called Mr. Sadasivam who was a very soft person and his voice reflected it too. Imagine an English class where the lecturer delivers monotonous mumbles! Naturally, the guys enjoyed spoiling the sessions; and most of the guys wouldn't even turn up to the class. On that day, there were just 20 or 25 guys in the class whose full strength is about 70; and as usual our lecturer was mumbling something about English grammar. The guys started off their part - clapping hands for some statements made, laughing too long when the lecturer tried to be humorous, et al. Towards the end of the session, the lecturer made a note of the attendance and with the same person repeating 'Yes sir' and 'Present sir' over 5 or 6 times, the register showed just two absentees when there were about 50 persons absent... I mean, the whole class was blank and the register was brimming with attendance :D

So he said "You people are giving proxies" (clap... clap... clap) "I don't mind that at all." (Clap... clap... clap) "All I'm asking is don't stay in my class and disturb it. I'm not here to tame animals" (Clap... clap... clap). He took a long pause and said "I'm calling you animals indirectly and still you don't understand" and the guys started clapping once again! That's it... He was never seen in our class once again! We heard that he was supposed to handle the second semester English sessions for us; but he declined to teach us again... Though I feel he could've handled the sessions better, I think we overreacted, considering the type of person he is. But still, I couldn't control my laugh everytime I think about the incident.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Childhood memories...

Childhood memories are perhaps the best treasures a man carries across his life; and the moment we start thinking about the good old days, we start feeling young at heart and that feeling is just priceless... I believe this is true with anybody except if your childhood happened to be as horrible as Kaadhal kondaen Dhanush or something... :)

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of my childhood is the 'without' travels. People from Tamilnadu should be understanding what 'without' means but if you are not aware of the term, it means traveling without a ticket in a bus or a train or anything that expects you to have one. :) I've done quite a lot of that during my school days especially the high school days. Ever since my VII or VIII stds, I've been traveling around in my bicycle and towards the end of my schooling till date, bike has been my companion; but even before the days of my bicycle, I used to travel a lot in the PRC buses (the TNSTC buses as they are called now). The tickets from my home to the school used to be One rupee and ten paise back then, and my pocket money was 2 rupees per day... :) The first day of the week my dad gave me 5 rupees and I was supposed to roll over the balances to maintain the 20 paise deficit per day and my favorite way of rolling up better sums was a 'without' travel. Frozen milk coloquially termed '1 roovaa pepsi' (Small traders give a damn about copyrights :D) was extremely popular those days and I used to spend one rupee per day (at least) to get my favorite chocolate flavored 'pepsi' and that means my one way trip is already destined to be a 'without' trip. :) Sometimes the pepsi count may become two which means the next morning's travel was also added to the list of classics...

There was a guy called Sundarrajan who used to stay near my place and we used to run a contest on who does the maximum 'without' travels in a month; and the pride of winning and the taste of 'pepsi' had me going for years in the trade... "I have a pass annaa", "I've already taken the ticket" and a lot of other ready made replies combined with an innocent look (seriously I was looking innocent back then) usually got me out of any troubles even if the conductor asks for a ticket.

This was going on for quite a few days (or should I say years :D) until the D-day came... It was another day in the contest between me and Sundarrajan and the day's credit were shared equally or almost equally until we got down... Just when we were about to get down, the conductor asked "Show me your tickets..." to both of us. As luck would have it, he was already two steps down the stairs and I was just about to get down the stairs... So the moment the conductor asked for the ticket, the guy jumped off and ran like crazy... Obviously I didn't have that luxury and I clearly knew that the conductor was not someone who is going to buy my 'pass' or 'already got the ticket' stuff. So I did the most foolish thing I could've done at the moment... I pulled out 1 rupee and 10 paise from my pocket and I said, "I forgot to buy the ticket. Could you please give me a ticket from SS colony to simmakkal" (there were like 12 stops inbetween... Moreover the bus was more or less empty and on top of it the bus was at the simmakkal stop :D)... The look on the conductor's face and the advice he gave for the next 15 mins can never be forgotten and it sure was an embarrassing moment back then. But whenever I think of the incident, I smile at my 'brilliant' idea and I couldn't resist smiling... :D

P.S: Even after that incident, I was travelling 'without' for a while (naangallaam...). As much as I smile at the 'without' travels, I wish I didn't do so. These days, even if I'm not even obligated to get a ticket, I walk up to the conductor and make sure I pay for it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Opis komedies...

Title inspired from my friend Srini's series, this was a topic that I wanted to write for a quite long time especially after seeing the regular posts on these lines by Srini... But somehow, office never interested me and to think of office outside work sucked big time! And right now I'm in an office where I work 12 hrs a day and I'm expected to put in more horse power when the others in my team work not a minute more than 8 hrs. Indian, contractor and too many other qualifications got me into this note worthy post... :))

Anyways, this post was intended to be hilarious and so be it! :D To begin with, let me introduce you to the work 'atmosphere' that I have in my office... My project is a truly globalized project because within a small team of 4 members, there is a mix of culture from 4 countries... Yes... All of us are from different countries - India, Pakistan, China and (thankfully at least one from) US. The manager is Pakistani and he is middle aged while the Chinese lady and the American guy are pretty old. My team apart, for every US company listed in the stock market, there will be a Desi (Indian) vendor and there will be a bunch of Indians loitering around in their offices... My office is no exception too and interestingly in a group predominantly comprised of Manavaadus (telugu speaking folks) the guy who sites behind me is a Mallu... The best part is that this state has a lot of black population and I swear to God, "it ain't no simple to follow 'em man"! The guy who sites right across me crowns them all and he has an office that is so crowded with stuff that you wonder how on the world could a 5X5 cubicle be converted into such a deep mess.

Now that you have an idea of the 'atmosphere', I'll tell you some of the very funny thoughts that ran in my mind...

The guy across, eating chips with the pack fitted into his mouth, turning the packet upside down...
Mind voice: Why am I being reminded of an elephant here?

Mallu guy talking to some clients... "The cOmbleet desayn is kOnstrukkkkkktad Offshore andu vee veel be moovingg the fayals tumaarow..." (The complete design is constructed offshore and we will be moving the files tomorrow)
Mind voice: Setthaan edhiri... (Poor Americans!)

The old guy in our project explaining me the logic to copy and archive files...
It ain't gonna do good if the file don't be there. Somthin shoots up and we say no way we lost it all... Send 'em back. So we gonna tell the scheduler Backup... Don't do no delete... Put it up in a folder and gimme a copy. But he's gonna tell you..."

I had a doubt about the way a certain module is built and I was too lazy to go through the code. Since the chinese lady in our project was the only one left, I had to ask her and I had no choice...
Me: Can you tell me if this is written in Java or through an Oracle job?
C.L: Laximan didndnt tall mee iz was phebruary code. Aye checked zhe log paails anzh I thot I didndnt gettu zhe idea... When I go too zhe logs, I see zhe files dare"
M.V: Idhukku code-ae paravaalla (Digging the code sounds much better...)

My manager and I were discussing a small piece of code... He doesn't have much of technical knowledge and Java somehow greatly surprises him...
Me: It's not a good practice to hit the database when the poller actually does nothing until the files arrive. So I've moved the database connectivity inside the if block. I've also eliminated the thread that is causing the memory leak in the scheduler and instead I'm bringing that functionality in here"
Manager nodding all the way...
M.V: Purinjaa maadhiriyae thalaya aattu... (As if you understand...)

:D :D

P.S: Basically all of them are good folks and it's just that at some situations, the mind voice of the Maduraikkaaran invariably crops up... :D

Monday, January 5, 2009

Abhiyum Naanum -- Is Radha Mohan's viewpoint right?

"Everyone is an individual... So just because you are an individual's parent, don't try to control his/her life" -- this is the crux of Abhiyum Naanum and I'm sure this is not a spoiler because Radha Mohan himself has stated this in the press meet. When I saw this movie a couple of days back, the first thing that ran in my mind was to blog about the movie, not in the usual "Wow! Radha Mohan rocks... Hats off to Prakashraj" tone; but to analyze the point he made in the movie.

Well... West believes in this independence of individuals concept and we practically see what is happening with them. I'm not a basher in anyway and with all due respect to their culture and tradition, we see that the western society is just falling apart and a strongly knit family is becoming a rarity here. One simple reason behing that - independence. One of my lecturers at college often uses the sentence "There is a difference between freedom and independence" and when it comes to relationships and family, the latter is diabolic. Mom, dad, brother, sister, husband, wife or any other relationship that man has defined relies on the mutual respect and bond for each other. When the freedom crosses the limit and makes this bond insignificant then there is no point in having that freedom at all. After all, won't a father really understand the needs of his kids? I'm not saying that parents are always right. I'm just saying that they have all the rights on the earth to make sure you are taking the right path. If they are not convinced about your path, either make them understand or don't take that path at all. But I'd never accept the statement that parents are nothing more than two humans who mated and gave birth to somebody; and beyond that point that somebody is a completely different individual. If we are down to that level of practicality in relationships, then we are better off going back to the good old days of nomadic life than being a part of a completely mechanical, loosely knit, baseless society.

Another point made in the movie... Grand weddings alone consume about 2000 crores of money per year in India. If so, then that is the happiest news one can hear because a wedding is not a one man show. Caterers, Maids, Decorators, Photographers, Videographers, Property owners, Car companies, Flower sellers, Fireworks factories, Grocers, Printers, you name it. Almost every segment of the economic society gets benefited in a marriage. What kind of an economic genius (who is close to the PM perhaps because he is a Sardar) will ignore such a huge capital flowing into the society? After all, isn't this consumption driven self-sustained economy the need of the hour?

Third comes the exaggeration part of it. If reality is portrayed as such in a story or a movie, chances are that it doesn't seem too interesting. So friends are turned into lovers, bruises are turned into surgeries and 100s are turned into 100,000s when it comes to movies. That's acceptable. But trying to defend a weak and meek storyline with exaggerations is something I never expected from Radha Mohan. Whether it is the pre-KG interview/admission scene or the 'shouting from the boat at midnight' scene or the scenes where Trisha almost acts like a stranger in her own house, Radha Mohan miserably fails and the worst part comes in the form of Manobala, Thalaivasal Vijay, his wife (I wonder if she has a dialog in the movie) are completely useless in the movie apart from the 'jaalra' scenes where they say the sardarji turned all their lives into beautiful blooming roses.

Except for a very few niche Radha Mohan scenes, Abhiyum Naanum as Srini rightly mentioned could be considered a movie from the director of Ponniyin Selvan and not from the director of Mozhi...

All in all, Abhiyum Naanum was not a bad movie; but it failed to impress me both in terms of the tag line and in terms of a Duet movies -Radha Mohan combo...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No time to write some blogs... :D

I remember reading a poem in my high school, called "Leisure". I believe it was written by William Henry Davies... The first couple of lines are still fresh as morning dew in my heart

"What is this life full of care... We have no time to stand and stare"

I feel the same thing... But in a modified way

"What is this life full of clogs... We have no time to write some blogs"

Work has been really tight over the past couple of weeks and I'm just managing a few 5 or 10 mins breaks in between, which are consumed by gmail, Orkut and occassionally a few (very) short stories. The rest of it is caught in debugging and fixing one of the worst codes I've ever seen... :) So not getting too much time to write about everything...

Wanted to write about Slum dog millionaire (an amazing, must-watch movie), Abhiyum naanum (good film but not good enough), some of my old school memories, my work and a flood of other things; but I hardly managed to squeak in some time. Today, I did but I felt that I should be writing on the technical error that drove me nuts, before I write about anything else. So pretty soon, I'll try to clear up the backlogs... :))

[jk_ajp_common.c (651)]: ajp_connection_tcp_get_message: Error - jk_tcp_socket_recvfull failed

This is in no way a technical blog, but to go with one of my new year wishes - helping as many as I could, a small piece of info for people who are facing difficulties with Mod jk configuration (usually connecting Apache httpd server and Tomcat web container)

[jk_ajp_common.c (651)]: ajp_connection_tcp_get_message: Error - jk_tcp_socket_recvfull failed

This was an error in the mod_jk.log that was driving me nuts for almost three full days and I tried to use every possible life line I had; but I couldn't spot anything remotely useful. This bug database had some suggestion about setting the maxProcessors of Tomcat and maxClients of Apache httpd to the same number; but in my case I was the only person hitting the test server that was running Apache 1.3.27 (yeah it was pretty old ;)) and Tomcat 5.5.x on a Solaris 9 Unix box. So naturally that solution didn't help. I believe this whole maxProcessor, maxClients thing has been taken out in the latest version of Apache or at least I didn't find it when I configured Apache 2.2 on the same server...

The simple reason behind this error is that - the library file that is referenced by the connector code was not built properly. The list below would be my order of troubleshooting and fixing the problem:

1. If the application is really loaded heavily and the error happens once in a while (not consistently), I'd try to check the maxProcessors, maxClients stuff mentioned above first.

2. Try to build the once more. It's really this simple. The instruction also comes with the source download. If you end up in System errors during the build or the code doesn't compile without errors, chances are that the gcc/cc compilers that you have in the system are not functioning correctly or (in case of a CC) the compiler might not be ANSI-C compliant. The simplest option is to download the latest version of GCC (in my case it was a Solaris 9 box and I got the installable from here), install it and then build your once again. If you are new to installing stuff on Unix, this link may guide you (again Solaris specific but other flavors of Unix shouldn't differ too much).

3. If you ever had an option of upgrading Apache and your connectors I'd blindly go for it. The whole process of installing a fresh copy of GCC, Apache, Tomcat and the Connectors should not take you more than 4-5 hrs at the maximum; while troubleshooting some System error like that might kill you for days together (that too when your 'technical zilch' boss is having a keen watch over you :)). And the best part is, if you go with the latest version, chances of ending up in a System error like this is extremely remote and naturally many of the previous known issues would've been fixed in the current release.

Hope this helps and stay happy! :)