Monday, August 21, 2017

A post about a song...

Micheal Madana Kama Rajan is probably one of the most under rated film ever. If you think that this is an exaggeration, pause this post, go and watch the movie on Youtube. You can come back to me with your opinion. The chances of you not having seen this gem is almost nil if:
-         You are fan of good comedy movies (&/)
-         You are a fan of Kamal Hassan (&/)
-         You are a fan of Kamal Hassan & Crazy Mohan movies
So now that you have seen the movie let me celebrate with you one of the most enjoyable songs of the movie, a song that tells you many stories in one, a song that will bring a smile to your face, a song that will make you remember the movie all over again.
You would have guessed the song already but before I proceed any further let me state a few disclaimers:
1.     I am not a big fan of Kamal Hassan, read on
2.     Point No 1 is because I always feel that he is over bearing with his prodigious talent and tends to overshadow everyone else in the scenes
3.     Kamal Hassan tends to over indulge himself in his movies again to his prodigious talent that sometimes it becomes a little nauseating
4.     Nobody does comedy better, sly comedy is unparalleled, overdosed as we are with slapstick our new generation comedians need to watch and learn from the master Kamal Hassan, be it body langiage or voice modulation. Kamal with Crazy Mohan is legend levels but the other movies seem to pale in comparison
So let us come to the song, Vechalum vekkama ponalum…What a brilliant song! The choreography and visualization of this song are simply amazing, the song by itself is a short movie and is immensely enjoyable. I will leave the musical description to the experts and the purists but what I will discuss is the visual and the effect on the viewers.
You will know from the disclaimers above that Kamal tends to overshadow others but here there is not one Kamal but 4, there are 4 roles played by him and yet they do not overshadow anyone, sometimes the hero and heroine merge into the back ground while the supporting actors take over.
The number of characters in the song is more than a handful and each of them get their moments in the limelight (from Wikipedia):
·         Kamal Haasan as Michael (petty criminal), Madhanagopal (businessman), Kameshwaran (wedding and special events cook) and Subramaniam Raju (firefighter).
·         R. N. Krishna Prasad as Venugopal, a rich businessman and father of the quadruplets who abandons them.
·         Jayabharathi as Sushila, wife of Venugopal.
·         Urvashi as Thiripurasundari . Thiripurasundari marries Kameshwaran.
·         (An incredibly cute)Kushboo as Shalini Shivaraman. Shalini is a painter who falls in love with Raju.
·         Venniradai Moorthy as Shivaraman. Shalini's father.
·         S. N. Lakshmi as Thiripurasundari's grandmother
·         Nagesh as Avinashi, Madhan's manager
·         Praveen Kumar as Bheem, Madhan's bodyguard
·         Santhana Bharathi as Michael's foster father
·          RS Sivaji

Each of the above characters get their moment and the main characters of the song Raju and Shalini gracefully fade out. The music is good but may not stand out as a typical Ilayaraja gem but what shines are the little quirks for the scenes that unfold including the use of percussion.

I will not explain the song because it has to be seen to be enjoyed but watch out for the different body languages exhibited by Kamal at times in the same shot, the little interludes by the supporting actors including RS Sivaji.

Yes, much has been said about the other songs in the movie but for me this is my personal favourite simply because it gives me the movie in its 4 and odd minutes.

Go ahead, watch and have a smile on your face.
Vocals: Malaysia Vasudevan, S Janaki
Lyrics: Vaali
Music: Ilayaraja
Director: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
Sadly I could not track the choreographer online, but I would believe that Kamal and the director had a big role in the making of the song)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The WCCG 30 day challenge

On August 17, 2017 I took up a challenge by the Chennai Cyclists, Annanagar Chapter. I took up the challenge because I was desperate to get out of my extended spell of lethargy and do something about my shape which had started resembling a menhir of Obelix. The challenge was quite simple – a physical activity from walking, running, cycling, yoga, core workouts for a minimum of 30 minutes for 30 consecutive days.

Today after Day 17 when I am sitting nursing a blistered feet after a brisk 3km walk after 9 pm I looked back at what I have rediscovered after a long time:
-          You become disciplined: this is by far the first step to any fitness regimen. Self- discipline is the start of many good things that follows. It takes discipline to set a routine and stick at it
-          You become aware of yourself: you are now aware of your heart beat, your breathing patterns and you discover yourself. You realize what a miracle it is to simply breathe
-          You become responsible with your food: once you start a fitness routine you become responsible for all that you eat and all that you do not eat anymore.
-          You start to feel one with nature: you hear the sound of the birds, the cool breeze, the drizzle, things that you usually ignore
-          You enjoy your aches and pains: Instead of a painkiller that you usually pop in for a small head ache, you revel in the aches and pains from muscles that your barely knew existed, because you know that you are a little better than yesterday
-          You feel incomplete when you miss your work out: you find out that the day is not complete because you miss that adrenaline that kicks in each time you pushed yourself for the next step and the high at the end of it all
-          You realize that time and distance are incidental: despite all the physics lessons of years ago, after you get into a fitness routine both time and distance become incidental
-          You realize that the journey is more important than the destination: initially you may worry about small targets like weight loss, speed, mileage etc but after some time you delight in the process where all these are incidental
-          You realize that life is worth living: does it need to be explained?

Wish we luck for the next 12 days.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Tale of a shark and trolls

If you missed out the trolling of a journalist by fans of actor Vijay simply because she commented that she did not  like a film made over 7 years ago, then take my word, you are better off not watching any more of actor Vijay’s movies.

The movie in question Suraa (meaning shark) is abysmal and the general consensus among people I know is that that it is so bad that watching it will give those without a migraine one and those who have migraine the agony of watching it relief from their migraine.

What makes a terrible movie? Many things but this movie will be on the heap of other similar movies made by movie makers who wanted simply to milk the star value of the actor. Another movie from back then called Pudhiya Geethai also would give similar migraine effects to those brave enough to watch it, but for now let me say that there are movies and there are bad movies and every actor has his share of bad movies and it is part of their professional life.

Suraa had everything going right and therefore it went wrong. The basic premise of a do good fisher man has been tried and tested by many but I guess in the popularity stakes it will be won by MGR hands down. Coming back to the ingredients:
-         A super hero who does everything right without a cape and the fisherman’s garb is incidental
-         A villain who does everything wrong and will get his butt kicked in the end
-         The dumb blonde heroine, ok that is going too far, we do not have blondes here, so the dumb blondesque heroine whose antics made you wonder how she ever signed on to this parody
-         The one line of a story which got lost in the middle some where
-         The obese comedian who still gets repeat play on the comedy channels for his lame jokes and toilet humour
Everything above are caricatures, while it is acceptable in the typical masala movies how do you manage grotesque caricatures after a few minutes? How much can you suspend disbelief? There should be a tipping point somewhere and this movie was it.  

To see a troll army hounding a journalist who makes a personal opinion with abuse is pathetic. These hero worshippers are nothing more than parasites that are living off their frustrations in the exploits of their celluloid hero and when their bubble gets pierced by someone who is grounded they vent vitriol. It is these misogynist failures who do not understand what it is to respect women forgetting that they will not exist if it were not for the women in their lives. These clowns believe that stalking a woman because their hero got a dumb blonde will land them dumb blondes forgetting that the joke is on them.

If these trolls are encouraged by the silence of their star, then the star has lost a fan of his better movies. Yes he has a good body of work among the trash.

To the trolls, keep trolling, as your hero said this world is a circle. “What goes around, comes around”

Friday, August 04, 2017


Recently I wrote a letter. No, it was not the official respected sir type, this was the simple humble dear type. You may remember before we started using WhatsApp, emails and social media to interact there was the option of writing to one another.

Uncharitably called snail mail today the simple act of writing and posting letters is something many will never do. There is some magic in writing letters and words may not be enough to explain it. I had pen pals in school and they included some from overseas too. We kept in touch with a letter every fortnight or month and these letters kept us closer than the social media of today where despite knowing much we still did not know enough to reach out to the other.

Those were the days when the unopened letters brought about a lot of excitement and expectation when they were received. Once read and usually savoured then starts the task of replying to the letter, a good habit that is rapidly on the decline. In this age of instant messaging, people have stopped acknowledging the messages because they receive too many. Every development in communication seems to have kept people at a distance.

When ecards replaced the conventional cards many sent cards but today greeting cards both offline and online have become a rarity. I remember many pleasurable hours spent in Archie’s and Landmark spending time to select the best card for the occasion. Each card was selected that they spoke to the receiver as if it was said by the sender and I miss those days. Emails replaced snail mails and though earlier we did use Hotmail (now dead), Yahoomail etc till the gorilla Gmail took over and changed the way we communicate.

I miss the yahoo messenger of old with its cute emoticons which spiced up many a chat room and personal chats. The line “Aiyo unoda intelligence paathu kannu koosudhu!” was a gem among many others. I miss reaching out to people and genuinely sharing with each other by mere words when pictures did not take up so much of our communication. Yes we had our photographs but they were few and far in between and so did not become so ignorable as today. A picture may speak a thousand words but that is for the verbally and mentally challenged, the combination of words and the human imagination is a far better combination and can spark more than a thousand words.

So what are the benefits of writing letters?
In no particular order:
-          A letter is a physical thing, it is something tangible that can be seen, felt by everyone and it works even without power
-          A letter connects people both the writer and the reader in a way that an email cannot
-          A letter calls for effort on the part of the sender, good hand writing is essential so that the other understands
-          A handwritten letter that has no corrections  is the effect of a clear mind that has already drafted it before the pen hit the paper
-          A letter requires patience, diligence, neatness, clarity of thought, eloquence, brevity and so much more to convey the right message to the receiver
-          A good letter becomes a part of history and gets preserved for the future generations
-          A letter usually elicits a reply and the circle continues which brings the two persons closer
-          A letter is usually a part of the person who sends it and can become a part of the one who reads it
-          Writing letters was the first step of people in the media industry including authors
-          An open letter carefully planned and executed makes celebrities of even wannabes
-           A letter is usually an act of love

Try writing, it may make a difference to you and the person you write to.

Images courtesy: Google Images

P.S. I have posted the letter now waiting for a reply, excited.