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Monday, December 27, 2010


The year 2010 is drawing to a close and while the process of the curtains being pulled down is going on in full swing, the focus of my mind strolled towards a rather alarming yet unaddressed trend that’s erupting in Kodambakkam. Yes, this year will remain etched in the memories of our fellow beings as a year of corruption and hence I perceive that the media had a lot of other important things to talk about. I happened to come across an article recently, when I was busy getting myself ready for a morning show of “Red giant movies” Manmadan ambu”, which proclaimed that Karunanidhi had famously announced that his assets accounted to just “5.65 crores” and that he neither had any benamis nor had he sponsored any financial venture involving anyone else. Alright!
As I rode to the theatre, my thoughts wavered between the movie I was going to watch and the article that I had read that morning till a point of convergence was arrived upon. I started thinking about the producer of the movie I was going to watch that day, who also happens to be one of MK’s grandsons. The flow of thoughts refused to ebb. I started analyzing the success of other Tamil movies. Most of them had one thing in common: they had been sponsored by one of the three sons of the “sun” fraternity. The big three I’m referring to are: “Kalanidhi Maran”, son of the late Murasoli Maran, “Dayanidhi Azhagiri”, son of MK Azhagiri and “Udhayanidhi Stalin”, son of deputy CM of TN, MK Stalin.
The first one’s a media baron whereas the other two assumed charge of two of the biggest production and distribution houses in TN immediately after college. Well, that makes it a sensational story: the kind of financial upsurge that was experienced by only a select few: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, Sarath Kumar in the movie Suryavamsam and Rajinikanth in Annamalai and many of his other movies. Mark’s story is out in filmy form as The Social Network, but a film on how the children of Tamil Nadu’s first family mastered the art of becoming kings of the Tamil film production industry is yet to be made. Perhaps, the sons themselves would end up acting and producing the movie and I presume it’ll serve as a source of inspiration for thousands of poor youth; they’d be made to believe that a monumental rise is after all, not impossible. Logically, these “sons” should have started from scratch as MK says he never sponsored a third party business, even if it involves his family (which is incidentally contributing monolithically to the population explosion): MK is to be believed no doubt, cos MK is an honourable man. And so are the others, cos they’re all all honourable men.
The story is even more awe inspiring because the success rate of the “big” production houses is astounding. “Cloud nine” has a success rate of 80% with four of the five movies that it has distributed so far turning out to be super hits. “Red giant” has a success rate of 85.71% with six out of seven of his films turning out to be hits. “Sun pictures” has a success rate of 68.75% with eleven of their 16 endeavours proving profitable. We also have to take notice of the fact that “Sun Pictures” have produced two movies produced by actor Vijay, who seems to be having a horrendous run at the box office with a record five flops on the trot due to his horrible selection of scripts; he also seems to have run out of luck, which has often been instrumental in his occasional success. Hence Sun pictures’ success rate can be approximated to 78.5%.
All the aforementioned numbers seem orotund when we consider the fact that only 12% of the total movies that release in a year become hits. One family controls the whole Tamil cine industry, an analogy to the political scenario prevailing in Tamil Nadu! I also happened to notice another disturbing fact: an unassuming look at the list of movies that have been “made” hits by the all-powerful trio left me shell shocked. The fact that movies like Thenavattu, Masilamani, Aadhavan are able to churn out oodles of money due to “intelligent” promotion tactics, underlines the abysmal state of Tamil cinema. It’s plain and simple: the success or failure of a movie doesn’t depend on the actor or the director; it plainly depends on the house that’s producing the flick. “They” have monopolized the industry.
One important yet unlikely beneficiary of this monopoly seems to be another son! A son who’s not related to the “sun” fraternity; actor Sivakumar’s son Suriya (sun)! Suriya’s last five flicks have been produced or distributed by the terrific trio of the industry, which seems to have had a major influence on the outcome of the movies. His acting capabilities and adroitness at choosing scripts is unquestionable though one would be tempted to attribute the extent of success of his movies to the production houses.
A resolution stating that “big” advertisements in newspapers are supposed to be given out only on milestone days like the day of the release, audio release, 25th day, fiftieth day etc was passed in the producers’ council. It now looks like that bill has gone to the dumps. The trio is also having a ball by rigorous and continuous promotion on self-owned TV channels. Special shows featuring the stars, screening of the movie trailer every five minutes, repeated playing of the movie songs on their respective music channels have only ensured that 110 small budget films produced by “others” are still lying in the cans.
The trio has thus managed to seal the fates of small-time producers who dream of making it big. On the flipside, keeping the legality of the money that’s being used by these concerns to produce flicks aside, they have the capacity to constructively contribute to the growth of the industry by shelling out the big bucks to produce big budget movies so that the Indian dream of producing a movie of “Hollywood” quality can be realized someday. That again, is a debatable issue!
But we got to realize that the power is in our hands: regardless of the publicity, we get to choose whether to watch or to not watch a movie. Decide. Intelligently…

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Perpetually blissful pandemonium

The golden globe nominations are here. There seems to be a hush-hush about the whole episode, totally contradictory to last year’s scenario when the whole film fraternity seemed to be up in arms against Avatar, the big budget extravaganza by James Cameron as every critic in town backed the lesser known Hurt locker. This year, Christopher Nolan’s Inception seems to be the big favourite though a section may tip Social Network for its effervescent theme and solid storyline laced with taut screenplay. Black Swan though, seems to be the dark horse this time around. Darren Aronofsky’s consistency in delivering movies of the highest grade is well known and though I haven’t seen the movie, my instinct says this may be the one movie that may spell doom for the popular Inception. My instinct though is not irrational. My inherent voice received a vote of confidence after I saw “The fountain” today.
Well if you’re one of the many people who were totally awestruck at the circuitous thought processes behind the making of Inception, one of the many who thought this level of thinking has not been and cannot be paralleled, then its time for you to think again. No one recommended the movie “The fountain” for me and I stumbled upon it just like I stumbled upon the director’s “Requiem for a dream” which explains the barbarous potential of drugs to inject seeds of total devastation in a person’s life.
“The fountain” is a classic that spreads its humongous wings encapsulating a timeline stretching over centuries on either sides of the present. In the process, we are introduced to three parallel stories that occasionally run into one another. The tortuous nature of the screenplay is further intensified as the director locks horns with topics of obscurity and controversy viz. death, rebirth etc… The movie is a dedication to every passionate viewer in the sense that, at no point does the director take the intelligence of the viewer for granted. The director expects us to devote ourselves to the movie completely. He expects you to treat the movie seriously at every point of time and a laidback attitude for the shortest interval of time can result in total incomprehensibility.
The plot: Tommy Creo is a totally committed scientist madly in love with his ailing wife. Tommy supposedly makes a breakthrough in his research which may unlock doors to the realms of immortality. Meanwhile, his wife contracts a terminal illness, a tumor and Tommy believes his breakthrough may help him snatch his wife’s life from the jaws of death. But fate has other plans and Tommy is unable to apply his discovery on his wife; his wife goes too far away to be brought back. The preceding scenes tell us about the book Tommy’s wife had been writing and her premonitions and her total intrepidity regarding the same. A visibly worried Tommy (Hugh Jackman) is also instructed to finish the final chapter of the book following her death.
The book is about the escapades of a conquistador in search of the legendary tree of life. The same is shown onscreen with Hugh Jackman playing the heavily bearded conquistador in love with the queen of Spain (Rachel weisz) and in pursuit of restoring Spain in the rightful hands of the queen by gaining access to the tree of life; and thus granting access to the dominions of eternity to the nation. The third story is that of a bald man (Hugh Jackman again!) on a space trip inside a bubble with an unlikely old tree for a companion. He is shown to be conversing with the tree and eating slices of its bark regularly. He is regularly haunted by memories of the queen and Tommy’s wife. The wife haunts him by repeatedly uttering the phrase “finish it!” time and again. The climax is an expeditious culmination of the three storylines complete with explanation of the fates of the three central characters in the movie.
The climax is an explosion: literally and symbolically, thus entrapping us in the ensuing sea of chaos. I firmly believe that the director has left a lot of things in the movie to viewer’s interpretation. The following is my interpretation of the movie: I believe that the characters supposedly occurring in the past and the future are purely fictitious. The fact that the conquistador character can be extrapolated to be the past life of the scientist can be suppressed by one single argument: the whole episode is a depiction of what Tommy reads out from his wife’s manuscript, though there is a remote possibility of Jackman’s wife being in possession of extra-sensory powers wherein she can gain access to people’s past lives- the Mayan guide’s father’s episode that she narrates is a supporting case in point! The baldman’s episode seems unreal just because he has hallucinations about both the queen and Tommy’s wife; the supernatural spaceship can’t be assumed to be futuristic, thanks to its structure. So my wild guess is that the baldman episode is the finale of the book, written by Tommy himself. Its styling provides a veracious insight. The narration of the final episode is totally incongruent to the preceding chapters of the book, thus indicating that it’s been written by another person. The final episode seems to be more of an obituary column written by a loving husband, simultaneously fulfilling the last wish of his wife. The final scene where the baldman is liberated from the bubble seems to be a symbolic representation of his realization of the harsh reality of permanent separation from his wife; the bubble seems to be a representation of pseudo-hope of achieving eternal life and the emancipation from the same seems to be the realization that death and rebirth are a part of a bigger and importantly, a more important cycle. The end of the other protagonist, the conquistador, seems to be an explanation of a result of greediness and breach of trust. Thus I conclude that, the past and the future episodes are representations of projections of Tommy’s mind, which are translated as the last chapter of the book.
On a critical note, I would like to add that the aforementioned descriptions are my interpretation of the movie and the director might have intended something else. The director could have also intended each viewer to have his own interpretation of the script. Nevertheless, the movie is not to be missed because of the fact that the soul of the movie is unique and the backup in the form of technical support inclusive of music, editing, cinematography is purely magical. Acting is top notch and this movie, according to me, is a terrible underachiever in terms of magnitude of success and reach. I’m waiting to hear alternate interpretations and insights about the movie!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Manmadhan Ambu music: Has DSP’s name written all over it

I was astonished when Kamal chose Devi Sri Prasad to take charge of the background score in Dasavatharam. But DSP came up with a neat backup job though the re-recording wasn’t the best. This probably influenced Kamal’s decision to rope in DSP for his romantic saga “Manmadhan Ambu”. The music was recently released amidst widespread speculations and a plethora of expectations. The soundtrack consists of six numbers and a theme score. This is what I thought after listening to it three times:
The first song “Dhagita thathom” starts off with a mild strumming (very uncharacteristic of Devi Sri). Slowly some peppy beats are incepted and the tempo stepped up, as we get glimpses of the familiar and infamous DSP zone. The music director seems to have been bitten by the jazz bug of late and the influences are there for everyone to see. The amalgamation of typical DSP beats and sudden jazz interferences slowly give way to the household sounds of kuthu. This makes us sit back and give up the bewilderment, as the stark realisation that this is just another DSP album creeps in. What saves this song is the man himself, Mr. K! He comes up with his trademark improvisations and makes this one a worthy listen. The composer even slips into melodious terrain occasionally to add spice to this number and gives it a Latino touch via the interludes; totally unimpressive refrains though. Listen to this one for Kamal’s class and the impressive percussions.
Next, I tuned into “Who’s the hero”, another song over-equipped with jazz influences. This one’s actually a nice attempt by DSP but what ruins it for him is the ironical combo of experimentation for the heck of it and shamelessly predictable instrumentation. You are almost able to sense the follow up and instrument preference after a line is rendered. Andrea’s horrible Tamil diction, a visibly desperate and deliberate attempt to show off her vocal range and ability to modulate are evident. The lengthy sustain towards the end is a case in point. One, it doesn’t fit in there, two it sounds horrible and three its improvisation for the sake of it. The trumpeting obsequiousness on display is horrible too.
“Neela vaanam” is the most wannabe melody I have heard in the recent past. Even Kamal’s rendition fails to save this one. The English lyrics that have been used to fill in during the initial stages of the song sound so irrelevant and stick out like a sore thumb. The absolute lack of continuity visible in the misplacement of an aurally pleasant string of notes caught me befuddled! To make things worse, we are treated to “Pallandu Pallandu” as it makes a guest appearance in the form of one of DSP’S “innovative” refrains. DSP also seems to be in love with his own songs as he occasionally steals a leaf out of his old books and slips them into his new ones. Glimpses of his tunes from “Santosh Subramaniam” and “Mazhai” are glaring here, even more so when his violin gets to work.
“Oyya Oyya” is your typical DSP song complete with words like jaggunakku and rathasaanire, which find an exclusive place in DSP’S dictionary. The beats in the background are tried and tested ones that have been successfully used in A.R. Rahman’s “New” and G.V. Prakash’s “Vellithirai”. The song features the typical kuthu rendition. DSP’s terrible sense of fusion comes to the fore as he tries to fuse folk-like harmonium notes with bassy string fill-ins. I wish this new craze among composers to begin their songs with nonexistent words sinks into oblivion quickly. The result is atrocious.
“Kamal Kavidhai” isn’t a song. It’s a rhythmic exchange of verses involving two people ruined by DSP’s ghastly fill-ins. The dialogues in the interim are intriguing and it’s absolutely heartening to see a Tamil speaking actress speak chaste Tamil! A fair bit of strain is visible though. Kamal the poet takes centrestage with this one and the end product is exemplary.
The title song has been sung by DSP himself. This cacophonous piece is complete with his traditional hooting and howling. The English lyrics make it worse. The lesser said the better.
Finally, there is the theme score which is decent enough to warrant mention. That doesn’t mean it has been spared of DSP’s signature howls and catcalls though.
To sum it up, this one’s a total slump. Just the kind of take off you would not want your movie to get off to. Hope Kamal makes up for it onscreen. And I also hope he exercises much more care in choosing a composer next time around. As for DSP, its time he gets out of the warp he has got himself into and composes tunes that atleast attempt to sound novel.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Redefining romance- The Graduate (1967)

Tamil cinema has given us a diverse genre of movies over the years. The style of film-making embraced in Kodambakkam is unique in its own way. There is a signature style of making movies here, regardless of the genre. We have had our share of stupendously creative scripts; this is undoubtedly the land of supremely talented technicians. The unrestrained potential left at the disposal of every director to explore genres has been effectively tapped to the best of abilities, without doubt. Considering the financial constraints and the ostensible perception of churning out “commercial potboilers” (if that’s what they call it) we’ve been doing fairly well to say the least.

But there’s always an exception to the general rule. According to me, action, crime, drama, horror and the like have had their green and salad days in our region. Romance is one domain that’s been craving for attention. Romance is an essential part of every single movie made here. There is not a single movie which is completely devoid of romance. Only, it’s always been horribly treated every time. Tamil cinema is yet to get a sniff of fresh air that awaits once it gets out of its clichéd puddle. It’s been struggling to get itself out of the “boy-meets-girl, falls in love, faces problems and overcomes them to live happily ever after” mess. Romance has always been considered divine. The darker sides have never been explored in this geographical region.

This region has had only two directors who’ve dared to “effectively” think out of the box- K Balachandar and Selvaraghavan. Though the former is one of the most celebrated directors, I have been quite appalled by the artificial and vulgar mechanisms utilized in his movies. Delicacy and poignancy are the last things on this director’s mind. The most unfortunate thing about Balachandar is his inconsistency. He comes up with blinders like “Sindhu Bhairavi” now and then. But he suddenly stoops down to abysmal proportions with movies like “Kalki” and “Parthaale Paravasam”. It’s criminal to meaninglessly oppose vulgarity. It can effectively project desired emotions and images on the viewer’s mind. After all, it’s a universal tool employed by directors all over the world. But vulgarity for the sake of it deserves unequivocal criticism. Not only does it leave a bad taste in the mouth, it robs the director of all the credit that he deserves for his creativity in the rest of the movie. The problem with KB is that he walks on the tight rope that separates vulgarity for the heck of it and the use of the same for constructive purposes. A minor error can lead to a monumental collapse. But this is one director who needs to be appreciated for his guts and his resolve to tread off the beaten track.

Selvaraghavan, according to me is an enhanced version of KB. This man has guts, creativity and is formidably audacious in his endeavors. The dialogues in his movies though, are occasionally over the top. The scene preceding the hallmark love-making sequence in 7g for instance. A beautifully woven scene except for the immaturity in dialogues. The emotions and the underlying facts to be conveyed are undoubtedly as close to reality as it can get, but the presentation which happens through the mildly unimpressive, overtly crass and overwhelmingly artificial dialogues leave a lot to be desired. The characters in Selva’s movies are people in the slums; hence his raw depiction is acceptable. But the immaturity in the dialogues are deplorable. The dialogues are intended to be just the way the characters in the slums communicate alright, but we get to see Selva’s perception of the communication under consideration; which incidentally happens to be light years away from reality.

Basically, what the audience here is missing is a simple movie like “The Graduate”. “The Graduate” has a solid script in place which rightfully assumes its position as the soul of the flick. The oblique screen writing has deliberately employed a slender streak of satire which efficiently festoons the on-screen drama. There is something about every serious scene in this movie that evokes a smile on your lip. Every moment of somber is followed by zestful reprieves filled with jest.

The script as such is very controversial and convoluted in its own way, the time of release escalating the significance of the preceding statement. The rigid mentality in our part of the world will start working overtime the moment our aural senses make out the susceptibility of the fundamental idea. I’m definitely not for copying the theme of this movie. On the flipside, it’s very difficult, nearly impossible I’d say, to adapt this theme to suit Indian audiences. But I sincerely hope that our filmmakers start opening themselves up to such different schools of thought. The casting definitely deserves mention. Dustin Hoffman as the nerdy graduate fits the role like a glove. Anne Bancroft as the lecherous Mrs. Robinson and Katherine Ross as the ravishing damsel provide wonderful support.

To put it plainly, the movie features the adventures of a newly graduated gentleman in a highly diplomatic society. It is a portrayal of the “growing up” of a boy, the evolution, the transformation of a boy into a man. The pitfalls, the consequences that arise out of his “adventurous” ventures, which eventually prove to be a hindrance in his love life forms the story. The movie’s biggest plus is its speed. This flick is furiously fast for a romantic drama. This 1967 classic will put the best of action flicks to shame when it comes to the pace of the narrative. One more factor that works in favour of the movie is the suspense factor. The twists and turns, the humps and bumps that this roller-coaster of a movie runs into are unparalleled. The director keeps us on our toes and his immaculate sense of story-telling makes it impossible for us to guess the follow up. Buzzing anticipation levels are pretty rare in romantic dramas that generally move at snail’s pace. This inimitability clicks big time in favour of the movie.

The dialogue exchanges construct the movie. The dialogues penetrate and meander in and out of the characters’ minds. The irrepressible need for diplomacy in the society then has been granted special emphasis; the consequently woven sequences result out of this materialistic necessity. The initial hesitation displayed by the graduate, his trepidations of getting caught and an inherent reverence to virtues and ideals before falling for the overwhelming prurience have been canned with finesse. The scenes at the hotel are exorbitant on the hilarity quotient. The exchanges between Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Ben, the graduate, at the hotel room are far and few, but they sure do evoke an uncanny feeling. The second phase of the movie witnesses the entry of Ms. Elaine Robinson and as a kind gesture towards Mr. Robinson, who happens to be Ben’s father’s business partner, Ben asks Elaine out; well against the wishes of Mrs. Robinson of course. It’s here that things take a wild turn and go haywire. After a few misadventures, Elaine and Ben fall in love. The climax and the racy build-up is a strenuously intertwined fabric laced with plenty of emotions, drama and gags. Editing is chic and the music beautifully sets the mood scene after scene.

Ben’s first outing with Elaine has been brilliantly conceptualized. The creator leaves your emotions hanging in mid-air- it’s something between pity for Elaine and amusement at the funny turn of the ensuing events. The movie enters many blind turn zones when the various characters get a taste of reality; these sequences bring out extreme emotions from the characters, leaving you with no clue about where the movie’s heading. The expeditious progress revs up to a rather abrupt finale though. The abruptness doesn’t take any sheen of the movie; it probably arises from a feeling that the director could have used his creative sensibilities to think of a better climax, though the end is fitting and credible enough.

Talking about inspirations and plagiarism, two people seem to have been tremendously “inspired” by this flick; Gautam Vasudev Menon and Harris Jayaraj. Any discerning viewer is bound to notice the script-wise similarities that have been “adapted, utilized and fitted in” to Gautam’s scheme of things. As for Harris, he seems to have seen the movie with Gautam; he has blatantly lifted the prominent and popular chords in his chartbuster “mundhinam paarthaney” from the BGM in a scene in this movie.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kubrick : Psycho, pervert, legend

I have always been a big fan of movies that test the viewer’s emotional stability. I have never really cried after watching a movie but a lot of movies have pulled me into their mystic web. That kind of an impact is what I look forward to. A lot of people feel that movies are supposed to be forms of entertainment. I agree to disagree.

I love passionately made movies, the kind where your thought pattern intersperses with the director’s. This wonderful confluence weaves a magical rug and the effect that results is the ideal kind of impact, the type that I look forward to every time I take a splash into the pool of the director’s imagination.

I dedicate this piece to one such director who created too much of an impact. The "psycho" who made me experience an inexplicable state of trauma and trance. The director of “Full metal jacket” and “A clockwork orange”. The legendary STANLEY KUBRICK.

There is something about these two movies that leave a lasting impression on you. The first one is a war movie and the second, a crime drama. Let me dive into details about the first one. The first half of FMJ focuses on a military training camp. The camera sways over the activities in the camp, the preparations that should eventually lead the trainees to a state of physical and mental toughness. The wonderful character sketching is the first thing that hits you hard and make you realize that you're in for something different.

The acting in the movie is effortless and the perfectionism proselytized and practised by Kubrick is evident. (One of the army camp scenes apparently had over a 100 re-takes). The guy who played the fatty was easily the show-stealer as far as acting is concerned, though the guy who played the trainer isn't too far behind. The fatty's inability to match the stringent levels of fitness and mental control evoke pity. It’s Kubrick’s dark brand of comedy at work here. A sense of comedy fills the air but you find it difficult to laugh. The emotion doesn’t translate into action. The interplay of emotions in the camp, effectively portrayed in the scene where the "joker" refuses to hit fatty in spite of a planned  attack by the other trainees underlines the fact that it’s impossible to be totally phlegmatic even when one’s pushed to such extreme conditions of hostility. It’s these emotional extremities that lead to the eventual killing of the trainer by the end of the film’s first phase.

 In this very intense scene, fatty snuffs himself after mouthing painfully nostalgic monologues that had been taught to him during the course of the training. The whole incident which takes place in an eerie room in the presence of fatty’s partner leaves us emotionally bruised. The second half of the movie is seemingly irrelevant to the first half but the legacy established in the first half is painstakingly injected into the second half. The mere impossibility of emotional unresponsiveness is subtly proved with logical backup in the form of circuitously woven scenes.

A war movie usually contains an overdose of blood spurting action, with scant emphasis on sentiments. This one has its share of hard-core action too, but this can safely be called a universal war film because it’s more about the emotional aspect of war than the war itself. The director gets into the heads of the characters and decodes it for us. It is mainly about the convoluted thought processes of the characters involved, the desire to survive and see the light of day. The screenplay is convoluted in an expressive sense and the film concludes with a sniper battle and a string of horrifying scenes.

A clockwork orange was a very controversial film at the time of its release in 1971. It was too raw and vulgar for the audiences. It is one of the only two movies which have been nominated for the academy awards in spite of an X rating. Public screening was banned and it was re-released in 2001 after Stanley’s death. Stanley’s raw treatment never came as a surprise to me but the colour tones he had chosen did take me by surprise. Very weird choice of backgrounds, the toning of the house for instance. The dialogues and the terminology used also stumped me. The choice of words of the protagonist and his gang of friends looked ironically childish; diametrically opposite to their actions.It could have been a deliberate act. Nevertheless, it seems to have paid off brilliantly; the dialogues makes you question the notions you've established about the characters as the movie progresses. You keep wondering if your assumptions about the characters are true. The characters are laconic; but they sure do make you think every time they have something to say.

The most lingering aspect of the movie is the music. The BGM can actually be totally credited to Ludwig Van Beethoven. Ludwig’s classics have been extensively used, in ways completely unthought-of. An overkill of graphic violence and nudity seems to have been employed consciously to arouse the desired influence. The rape scenes in the movie are shamelessly blatant. No effort is made to conceal the brutality involved, the director expects us to feel and comprehend to the pain of witnessing a horrifying act like rape, without any compromise. There is not an iota of sensuality in the depiction. It’s as horrible, excruciating and intolerable as it gets.

The success of the director lies in the fact that even after the protagonist commits so many unacceptable crimes, the next few scenes are painted in such a way that we end up feeling sad for the convict. After witnessing a slew of terrifying crimes being performed, who would have thought that the audience would end up empathizing with the guilty? The acting style is also surprisingly different. The way the characters converse is conspicuously different, not a wee bit artificial though. The lawyer’s behaviour and Alex’s antics are proper paradigms in support of the preceding statements.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two movies for their independent souls, their distinct identities. It’s impossible to classify these films into one single genre as they deal with a variety of issues. I miss Kubrick dearly. I miss his unique ability and resolute audacity to mould characters on his own terms, and his intent to be different and a cut above the rest in the process.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Raktha Charitra-Celebrates the purest emotion known to mankind

I have spent the past ten minutes pondering over how to analyse one of the goriest movies to have ever been made, justified gore I should say! The movie's tagline says it all. RGV cannot be blamed for choosing that famous title of his. The movie is just that- a bloody tale of reprisal and retribution. It’s a lucid warning- it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and the weak. The movie is all about blood splutter and splatter. A tale of how the first leads to the second. A tale of manipulation, blackmail, loyalty and absence of the same.

The movie starts on a chaotic and a rather comical note. One of the first slides to appear onscreen after the acknowledgements is a note stating that all characters portrayed in the move are fictitious and that, any resemblance to real-life characters is purely coincidental. The next note that flashes onscreen baffles us with a completely contradictory message- based on a true story. The second one is true, the director being the sole proprietor of the knowledge about the reason behind the addition of the first! The film narrates the story of dreadfully angry men who fought with staggering levels of animosity in their blood. The story of men who knew nothing but the ethereal ecstasy that arises out of feeling blood.

The film’s theme is striking and uniform. Every technical aspect, every move and action of every single soul behind the making of this bloody classic seems to have been bent upon celebrating the most spontaneous and purest emotion ever known to mankind- revenge. Any mild deviation from this sole aim of the passionate filmmaker that RGV is, any slight digression from this universal motive, is mercilessly followed up by an extra-passionate scene that re-ascertains the code of the movie. It’s this consistency and passion, the guts and raw treatment that keep us on the edge of the seat. On the outset this may seem to be a mindless unveiling of one bleeding corpse after another, an illogical display of hardhearted killing but only a discerning viewer will be able to appreciate the method behind the mayhem.

A few delicate scenes involving intricate emotions, which may have been indifferently picturised by lesser talent, find solace in the able hands of RGV. The scene in which Aashish Vidyarthy is killed is a case in point. The last minutes of a man’s life, which display the true traits and inherent fear, the few moments that kill the ego persistent in man, have been relentlessly portrayed. The ways Aashish begs in front of the portrait of lord Shiva, who’s happens to be lord of destruction and helplessly goes down the drain henceforth after being ruthlessly slain evokes an inexplicable emotion; an emotion that’ll never be fathomed by the inferior world of words.

The climax scene has been beautifully picturised- the traits of the diverse characters involved have been unimaginably projected, with minimal dialogue. The desperation shown by the Vivek Oberoi gang is showcased by the evident spring in their steps. The director gives us a ” can’t believe myself” moment when he evokes a rare smile on our face as a gang member kicks a football back to a boy on return after the mission. The impossibly natural veil of vengeance sported by a victim of the villain’s sinister activities leaves the audience stunned. The suddenness and rapid turn of events are the film’s biggest plus- the shootout at Kota’s house and Ashwini’s execution are stellar examples.

The film boasts of a powerhouse of acting talent and not a single soul disappoints- Vivek, a thoroughly under-rated actor and Abhimanyu Singh, deserve special mention for their noteworthy performances. The director has also got the best out of Kota Srinivas, Kitty, Shatruhan Sinha, Radhika Apte and Ashwini. Radhika Apte who plays Vivek’s love interest looks gorgeous. The team will have the supremely talented Suriya and the gifted Priyamani in their ranks in their next venture, the sequel. Logically speaking; it can’t get worse, both acting wise and script-wise, as Suriya is known for being choosy.

The BGM is quite impressive and the music directors have come up with quite a good album too. The director has strategically steered clear of any distraction in the form of songs. The one striking highlight in musical score is the use of silence- the scene where Kitty is killed by Vivek stands out for the haunting silence. After a brief pause, the composers stroll into a musical landscape again thus creating a beautiful impact. The cinematographer deliberately buries himself into the blood-filled air in this movie. The torrid terrains with unlimited open spaces and never ending, ugly barren lands festooned with pools of blood have been cunningly canned to create the desired impact. Dialogues spine the movie and the screenplay is taut and racy. The director slyly employs a deceitful screenplay that hides the lack of depth in the script. Crisp editing works wonders for the movie.

If you are a fan of hardcore action, go for this one. It is sure to ruffle up your feathers. You will come out of the theatre with high adrenalin levels and desire of wanting to punch someone then and there. Rabble-rousing stuff! A truly extravagant celebration of the emotion termed vengeance!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My adventures with the Scooty and the Spikebuster

I had watched quite a lot of movies that week, entertaining ones at that. The moment I finish watching a movie, I feel an insurgent urge to comment on it. My pen, both instinctively and instantaneously, gets to work. But it was one of those rare days when my passion for cinema overcame my passion for writing. The urge to write was kicked downhill by the infinite thrust I experienced to delve into another movie. I had watched quite a few classics and a comment was long overdue. My prolonged abstinence from recollecting the highlights of those works of art by giving them a verbal form proved two things- one, the sheer quality of the movies I had been watching, as they had kept me away from my second greatest passion in life- writing (the first one, like it was for most Indian kids, was cricket). The second thing, a very queer and important fact I must add, is beyond the realms of my memory now! I assure you that the second factor is of supreme importance and that my mind seems to have lost track of the x-factor, though my inner conscience keeps telling me that it is something imperative.

But something stopped me from watching another flick- maybe the tired sub-conscious which was not quite able to appreciate the prospect of sitting in front of the monitor for another 90-150 minutes. So I turned to teen’s best friend in times of a catch-22 situation- the internet! Just when I placed myself comfortably on the couch and started breezing past political commentaries laced with satire and humour, my mom’s outline appeared behind the screen. “Enna maaa?” I said in disgust, extending the last syllable to outrageous limits to make my stance clear. She wanted to take a printout and since my Spikebuster had self-busted, I wasn’t able to connect my modem and printer simultaneously. So I was ORDERED by my dad to hit the streets to get a new Spikebuster. I painstakingly overcame the inertia that had resulted out of long hours in front of the computer. It was one of those exasperating days when I wasn’t able to hit the cricket field as it kept drizzling incessantly and it wasn’t raining hard enough for me to place a chair in front of the grill gate and enjoy it torment the streets. These incomplete things in life, painted with emulsions of deficiency always aggravated me. I love the extremes. The medians and means always end up infuriating me.

And so I took my Scooty out and twisted the throttle with all the ennui in the world as the vehicle zoomed forward. Its sudden jerk killed the intrinsic inertia and incepted a fresh lease of life. Every speck of hair on my hand stood up in response to the small drops of rain as a photoreceptive plant would stand up to the first beams of sunlight that penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. I raced to Nithya electricals and electronics, the only shop of that kind in my neighbourhood. After a brief negotiation regarding the price, an altercation I should say, as negotiation would be a diplomatic term, we zeroed in on a apposite price. I carefully placed the newly-bought object in my dashboard. My face glittered with an aura of pride and satisfaction of having settled a decent deal. The deceased inertia, the newfound zeal and an inherent voice took control over me as I took a detour and went up the incline of the newly constructed bridge instead of heading straight back home. I had always loved the view of the busiest part of my village, which was slowly moving up the ranks. It was now prosperous and portentous enough to be called a town. I could sense the village, ahem, the town, gleaming with all the pride and arrogance in the world. The bridge divides the two distinct parts of my village town- on one side is the market place and the characteristic development indicated by the economic sumptuousness. On the other side is the authentic village- the part which is trying its best to maintain the soul of my place, the identity. The village side has sprawling paddy fields, an old temple, two, no, three of them in fact, scintillating springs that silence your ego, stop you and make you salute the great one who created it and so on. I slowly descended down the bridge and bliss-filled men and women with traits of innocence looming large on their faces welcomed me into the other “world”. Children rode tyres and made strange sounds as I zoomed past. The great banyan tree stood right there, with all the majesty in the world. I paused to look at the fuel-meter. The tank was half full. My mind though, had its tank full. It was over-flowing with all positive thoughts, my mind in perfect confluence with Mother Nature. The rain turbo-charged my mind as I meandered down the shining roads, humming or should I say yelling, my favourite tunes. I presumed that a lot of curious eyes were glaring at me. Only, I was too busy to notice. It was the perfect time to ride, the raindrops rubbed against my arms and the feeling was similar to the one that we experience when the petals of flowers rub against our body. This was even better as it was soft, ideally chill and titillating at the same time.

I started behaving like a madman. I yelled and waved at the children in the street. The children returned the yells and the waves whereas curious looks were all that I got from senior pros. I got a feel of heaven as the Speedo-needle rose up to 40 and the colour green dominated both sides of the road. The visuals, the breeze, the temperature, the rain, everything around me seemed perfect. My typically occupied mind which is forever full of thoughts and ideas went blank. I forgot the vehicle, the surroundings and myself for those few moments. I was enlightened enough to experience those moments that spelt bliss- total, eternal, perpetual and complete bliss! And then the stupid Spikebuster, which I thought I had kept safely in my dashboard wrapped in a cover, slipped out from nowhere. I caught it on the verge of a fall. Some emotion filled my mind as I caught the stupid thing- something that was too mild to be termed anger. The extension of that emotion made me take a u turn. Again, the absence of thought processes and the sheer inability to think of anything, even when thrust upon by deliberation, staggered me. I wasn’t able to think of anything and my mind was devoid of any kind of thought! Suddenly, my Scooty stopped in front of a temple. One of those three I had mentioned. I walked into it and went behind it. There I saw, my gentlemen, one of the greatest sights that my eyes had witnessed. The lake, in all its glory, looked like a sea, an ocean. Waves hit the steps that were constructed on the shore with humongous force. A strong and steady breeze was blowing and there I stood as if I had been stupefied. As if the whole purpose of my life was to stand there and watch the action unwind in front of me. Quite an intimidating sight it was! The rain started intensifying as I regained “consciousness” and moved my hood over my head. I quickly rode back home and as I entered the threshold of my street, I saw my dad sporting a worried expression. He said something as I raced past him. I hadn’t taken my phone along (thankfully) and as expected, he was concerned. He said something as I sped past. I didn’t care to stop and listen because I was quite sure that he would start scolding me the moment he stepped into the house. I saved myself some aural strain and in the process, saved my dad some energy. He came back home and events rolled out one by one just as I expected them to! The Spikebuster was installed, the printout was taken and as is the case always, chaos reigned soon after.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hi everyone! The next Anokha update is here and we have got some nice and peppery news for you. With timelines thinning and countdowns glibly proceeding towards the finish line, anticipation is visibly omnipresent and we’ve rightly realized that the time is ripe to send the grapevines buzzing all over again. So here goes…
The second edition of Anokha will retain the blockbuster legacy of last year, Euphoria, which promises to hold on to the best of last year’s games and bring along scads of new and exciting ones. Novel ideas will be appreciated and can be mailed to us at
Starting out as a platform for speakers from the fields of technology, entertainment and design to share their ideas and opinions, TED has grown to encompass many more fields and now has spread to all parts of the globe.TED conducts global conferences with topics ranging from technology, science and nature to politics and other global issues. Leading experts in their respective fields with years of experience and a vast array of ideas project the same in the form of a series of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances to foster learning. On the 29th of January 2011, the phenomenon that is TEDx will descend on AMRITA, in the form of discourses by speakers like Mr. Kanak Gogoi, a renowned innovator, Mr. Aravind Gangaran Talekar, part of the noteworthy dabbawalas of Mumbai and master Siddarth.
Anokha’s website,, was launched a few days back amidst a whale of fanfare by Ms. Gayatri Buragohain, Ambassador of the Association for Computing Machinery - Women. The site’s been brimming with visitors ever since the day of launch and it contains every single piece of info you got to know about Anokha—from paper presentations to hospitality and accommodations. Comprehensive information about 50 technical events, 10 Workshops, seminars and many other multifarious events have been delectably distributed and the user-friendliness and the creative design of the portal make a remarkably rapid impact .The site is a mini representation of the mega fun that awaits the thousands who’re going to throng the ever-picturesque Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. So what are you waiting for? Tune into cyberspace to get a refreshing feel of the magnum opus in store.
Anokha’s adding yet another feather to its already overflowing cap, in the form of a flurry of cultural activities lined up for this year. Big occasions are oft synonymous with big names and legends like percussionist Sivamani, who is known to bring out the inherent dancing skills in a person, with his peppy beats, Stephen Devassy, the keyboardist, a person often accused of directing his audiences into an eternally ecstatic state of trance with his classy rendition of the most intricate of notes and Ravi Chary, the celebrated Sitar player whose music surrounds the discerning listener with warmth and bliss, will add glitz and glamour to the gala fest. We advise fans of music to start warming up, as a perpetual spring of music in its purest form awaits you.
Excitement levels are set to soar and the exhilarating chills and thrills of the event coupled with the extravagant stakes are sure to keep the participants engrossed and excited. The department stalls are expected to keep the techies engrossed while the food stalls will add the much needed “spice" to tickle your taste buds. The event will also witness an ostentatious laser show and is expected to conclude with a flamboyant dash of fireworks.

So get ready folks!! It’s time to rejuvenate and rejoice!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Epitome of entertainment

It’d be stupid on my part to talk about the pre-release hype surrounding “Endhiran”. After all, this is the first Indian movie to have spent a whopping Rs. 15 Crores on publicity alone!
Coming to the movie itself, the director’s got to be appreciated for three things: one, for making a “non-rajinistic”` Rajini movie devoid of punch dialogues, an opening song and an ostentatious introduction scene. Two, for conceiving the characters in a realistic manner: Dr.Vaseegharan, the robot’s creator using his brain instead of brawn to save his lady love from a prurient labourer (Kalabhavan Mani). Three, the audacity, ambition and perspicacity to materialise a project of such a humongous scale in a relatively small industry like Kollywood.
After vacillating from one super-star to another, one industry to another, Shankar decided to rest the unimaginably heavy burden of carrying his magnum opus forward on the old but vivacious shoulders of Indian film industry’s miracle man who has a glorious history of having sent most of his producers laughing all the way to the bank. But, Rajini the actor had sunken into oblivion after the emergence of Rajini the star in the 1980s.
The movie presents a tremendous opportunity for the actor in Rajini to stage a comeback. And to just say that the superstar has grabbed it with both hands would be a shameless understatement. He has pounced on this mouth-watering prospect like a lion (bears incidental resemblance to the first line of a song in the movie, Arima Arima). Rajini’s adaptability is the most striking feature of this special innings of his. The glib and graceful transition between the multiple roles makes this one Rajini’s best performance till date: a vivid portrayal of intricate sensations as the scientist, the phlegmatic dialogue delivery and corresponding expressions of Chitti, the fiery-eyed love-struck monster’s egregious transgressions and disparaging contraventions, his villainous ways, unconventional(in every sense) style and the unflinching attack he launches in pursuit of saving his love interest leave us puffing, panting and gasping for breath. The distinguishing evil laughter as robot 2.0, the helpless heave as the stranded scientist, the gape arising out of astonishment and pleasure after getting kissed by Ash, speaks volumes about the neglected actor in Rajini. WHAT A MAN!
Aishwarya Rai plays Dr.Vaseegharan’s, and later Chitti’s love interest in the movie. Her acting is as inconsistent as her make up in this movie. She looks ravishing in certain scenes, so much so that even a robot falls in love with her! Shankar, who has attached so much of importance to all the finest details in the movie, has unpardonably neglected Aishwarya’s over-done make up in the song sequences.
The song sequences, one must say are a disappointment, considering Shankar’s proven expertise in this arena. But he can be excused on the grounds of lack of proper support from his ever-reliable ally, A.R.Rahman, who has composed a few forgettable numbers in this movie. Having said that, Chitti’s cute conducts, the dizzy heights and dazzling scenery in Machu Pichu and the glossy sight of Rajini walking with two chained robot-like lions in the songs Boom-Boom, Kilimanjaro and Arima Arima remind us of the Shankar we know when it comes to canning song sequences. Aishwarya dominates the song sequences with her nimble footwork. The awesome costume design works to her credit and she makes jaws drop, thanks to her hour-glass figure! And Thalaivar meanwhile, impresses with his classy and agile movements in the Chitti dance showcase. The songs have been festooned with witty lyrics too.
Rahman, on the other hand has come up with quite a decent background score with shades of brilliance, the delivery scene and the substantial orchestration in the sentimental and slightly melodramatic climax being noteworthy examples of poetic background scores.
Cinematography is another highlight in this landmark movie. The filming of the scintillating oasis in the Kadhal Anukkal, the maddening camera angles in Kilimanjaro, the classy stunt sequences and the consistently calm and pleasing-on-the-eye camera work deserves special mention.
The one feature that sets Endhiran apart from all the other movies to have been made till now, the one feature that’s bound to set the cash registers ringing, the feature that takes the movie and in the process, Tamil cinema, to the next level is the awe inspiring special effects. The last half an hour showcasing the various formations of the robots are bound to keep us on the edge of the seat. The graphics look flawless and the quanta of work put in by the technicians deserve accolades. The technicians involved better start warming up as a lot of awards are headed their way for sure.
Though a lot of factors have contributed to the over-all appeal of the movie, only one man manages to steal the thunder occasionally from the super star. It’s the man himself, Shankar. What an idea sirji! His ambition, creativity and path-breaking imagination offer a lesson to budding film-makers of today and are sure to inspire them to dream big, as the result is there for everyone to see. It’s not a flawless piece of work by any stretch of imagination but the innovative thought process and the indefatigable and intrepid work force deserve infinite credit. The screenplay sags towards the beginning of the second half though the brisk pace resumes towards the end and the movie zooms towards a racy climax. The movie would have been a lot better, had the length been curtailed and the editor’s to be blamed for the slackening in pace.
The movie features a few immature and unwanted scenes like the scene involving the interaction between Chitti and a mosquito. On the hindsight, the movie also features a few stunning scenes. The most stunning scene in the movie according to me is the scene in which robot Rajini identifies the “black sheep”. The dialogue build up to the movie and the follow up is fantastic! The songs also prove to be an unwanted aberration and the sub-standard quality of the songs and the visuals make the experience even worse and test our patience. Dialogues act as pillars of strength in this movie and Sujatha’s witticisms are sure to be sorely missed by Shankar in his future endeavours. The laconic replies of the robot and the wispy philosophical undercurrents that run through the dialogues are a treat. The movie refuels the never subsiding debate again: “Can man play god?” A lot of thinking has gone into the making of the movie in terms of consideration of logical feasibility of scenes. On the outset, one may dismiss most scenes as no-brainers but one needs to understand that these scenes have been deliberately fabricated in such a manner. The director has safely, and intelligently at that, expected us to dive into his pool of imagination. To sum it up, it’s time to do away with your thinking caps and take a refreshing splash into the ace director’s sea of thought. The movie is a visual projection of Shankar’s dreams and Kalanithi Maran has been magnanimous enough to finance this venture. As a token of appreciation of his daredevilry, this flick’s heading in only one direction- a blockbuster!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kalaignar’s theory of opportune atheism

This article is a dedication to the connoisseur and founder of a non-religious religion termed opportune atheism. The great soul in question is none other than our “Manbhumighu” Tamil Nadu chief minister Mr.Karunanithi. According to the genius (no pun intended), one can choose to believe or not believe in god with regard to the situation. Hence, you may end up being a theist for 60% of your lifetime and an atheist for the rest of your life in spite of having the “privilege” of calling yourself an atheist during the whole life span.
I can’t help marveling at the power of this philosophy which has worked wonders for “Kalaignar”. God ceased to exist when he was campaigning for the DMK in the open grounds of Tamil Nadu in front of the masses but god sprang back to “life” when Karunanithi was “begging” the self-styled god-man Sai Baba shamelessly to offer financial help to clean up Cooum. He went to the extent of equating Sai Baba to god. Where is the question of comparing someone to god when one believes that god doesn’t exist? Kalaignar was all smiles when his own family members and “wives” fell on the god-man’s feet. Does this man have no convictions? I can’t help feeling bad for this individual because his own family members don’t seem to be having any kind of respect for his opinions.
He allegedly shared the stage with two more spiritual gurus, Mata Amritanandamayi and Sakthi Narayani Amma. Consistency and belief find no place in Kalaignar’s dictionary. Selfish motives and promotion of family interests seem to be his only preferences. It looks like a deliberate attempt to change his image and acquire acceptability amongst theist masses.
While he expects everyone to accept his command over Tamil in spite of the absence of a graduation certificate in Tamil to his name, what prompts him to think that lord Ram couldn’t have been an expert engineer because he didn’t possess a certificate to endorse his prowess. While he chooses to believe in the Tamil legend that Kannagi set the city of Madurai on fire in spite of absence of proof of her prowess in such a mystic art, why does he choose to not believe in Rama’s mastery in engineering?
Karunanithi is entitled to have his way. But what is he trying to achieve by means of mockery of popular beliefs? Has all these years of experience done nothing to instill a feeling of responsibility and respect for others’ feelings in this octogenarian? When is he going to address his own inconsistencies? Tamil poets like Thiruvalluvar, Avvaiyar had no doctorates to their credit! Does that make them lesser mortals? By virtue of possession of a piece of paper which looks inconsequential, does he feel he has become the greatest exponent of Tamil to have ever existed? Is there no end to this seemingly eternal spree of egotism?
The chicken in Karunanithi came to the fore on the thousandth year celebrations of the Brihadeeshwara temple. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated just a few weeks after she visited the temple and took the eastern entrance. Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and Karunanithi’s old buddy, M.G. Ramachandran became sick after taking the same gate and never recovered! This self-confessed rationalist and dispeller of superstitions clandestinely chose to take an alternative entrance. Hats off, sir!
Cho Ramasamy, noted journalist was shrewd enough to note that Kalaignar was wearing a white angavastram instead of the usual yellow one. White angavastrams are known to ward off evil forces and Karunanithi could have possibly acted as per the advice of an astrologer.
I'm not against atheism. It’s personal opinion. But hypocrisy has to be condemned. There should be no two ways about it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three commercial monsters!

After a splash in the pool of realism, which proved to be uncomfortably lengthy and monotonous, Tamil cinema is now testing the waters of the long forgotten (or so we thought) formula flicks. The commercial success and critical acclaim showered on three recently released flicks stand testimony to this fact. Naan Mahaan Alla, Boss (a) Baskaran and Inithu Inithu have cashed in on the sudden surge in the quest for proper entertainers and the evident reason for this trend change seems to be the innumerable and predominantly boring reality-based movies that have been dominating the kollywood arena for a pretty long period of time.

While the above-mentioned movies can be easily be classified under the infinite domain of masala movies, each of them are different in their own way. While NMA was a hardcore action flick, Boss… was a rip-roaring comedy and Inithu… was a true-blue romantic tale that explored the realms of college life poignantly. A sneak peek:

For NMA, a power-packed performance by its lead actor Karthi, who is rapidly emerging as an actor to watch out for, unbelievably crisp editing and a racy screenplay has worked wonders. Karthi, with his fierce eyes, impresses in a not-so-challenging role and also excels in romance (a wonderful chemistry with female lead Kajal warrants mention). The actor was found wanting in the unexplored terrain of romance in his previous venture Paiyya, but he returns with a bang and manages to astonish us with his decent comic-timing too! I’d be failing in my duties if don’t mention the awesome villain gang that have been gruesomely portrayed in NMA. The director deserves special accolades for casting this brutal group, who make the oversized goons we’ve been repeatedly exposed to, look like comedians. Their eyes spit fire and every move of theirs instills cold fear in the viewer’s mind. Jayaprakash, who plays Karthi’s father in the movie, comes up with a classy performance and so does Soori, who gives us the much-needed comic interludes in this exhilarating roller-coaster ride full of chills and thrills. Yuvan’s Iragai pole is an absolute beauty and the sad Dheivam Illai, is a touching number complete with heart-warming lyrics. The background score is decent and so is the cinematography.

What doesn’t work for the movie is the air of deceit that runs through certain scenes in the movie: the characterization of Karthi and his dad for instance. They seem to be too nice to exist! Though the stunts look believable, the idea of Karthi single-handedly spelling doom for the four villains in the climax seems a little high-handed. This thought receives a pat on the back and a logical justification after the preceding scene, where the youth effortlessly maul the formidable allies of Karthi, who happen to be one of the top goons in the city! The romance is sweet, but looks totally fake- the clichéd heroine introduction scene and the subsequent characterization re-ascertain this fact! But the director seems to have compromised on these factors as a result of donning the robes of commercial cinema. And I guess he can be excused on the grounds of inexperience and his unquestionable promise. He also deserves a special mention for making a mockery of all superstitious directors, who give a “divine” start to their movie with the camera zeroing in on a popular temple and sound of bells hurting our ears, by kicking off the campaign with a rape scene. Hats off!

Calling Boss… the boss of all comedies that have released in the recent past wouldn’t be an understatement. After Saroja, this is the first movie that doesn’t take itself seriously at any point of time. Every time you sit up and start expecting a serious scene to crop up, the director deceives you, much to your delight. Santhanam is the hero of the movie and Arya is happy to play second fiddle. The young and boisterous actor continues to impress with his choice of roles and doesn’t mind taking the backseat if a nice script comes by. He’s been proving it time and again by essaying roles like he did in Pattiyal, Arinthum Ariyamalum, Parugu, Ulllam Ketkume etc… After Oram Po, which surprisingly bombed at the box-office, Arya takes up a full length comedy and hits the bull’s eye this time around.

Santhanam, who seems to be an ardent fan of Koundamani, is closely following the legend’s footsteps and is making rapid strides with every movie. His punchy lines and comical timing are totally impeccable and his expressions and intonations are enormously enchanting. Nayanthara, as always, is a big letdown. The director seems to have deliberately modeled the character artistes like the ones we get to see in our daily soaps and the experiment pays off brilliantly. The Nanbaen Da dialogue is a tremendous hit with the masses and the continual digs that Arya and Santhanam take, at the superstar and themselves, bring the house down every time. The music, by Raja jr. is a big disappointment. But the bgm during Nayantara’s intro scene strikes a chord with the audience. All the other technical aspects fade into oblivion as Santhanam and Arya steal the limelight for most of the time, though one feels the editing could have been a tad better. The movie sags towards the beginning of the 2nd half but picks up speed after a brief interim. Jeeva impresses with a catchy guest appearance and the movie ends on a feel good note as expected. Hearty congrats to the team for coming up with a classy comedy for the entire family.

Inithu Inithu, a Prakash Raj venture has been raising eyebrows right from the day of its launch for two reasons: one, Prakash Raj, the actor, is absent and two, it is a remake of the highly successful Telugu movie, Happy days. Prakash Raj, known for the quality of his production ventures, comes up with a poetically presented love story set in the backdrop of an engineering college. The director impresses with a very decent portrayal of college life unlike sub-standard Tamil movies where college scenes usually involve students making fun of teachers and teachers being depicted as idiots. Ragging, hostel life, love, lust, seniors, teachers, students etc… have been handled in a very mature way and the realistic performances, strong characterization and breezy screenplay take the movie past the finish line comfortably. The scenes featuring the ultra-glam English professor, the t20 match played between the juniors and seniors are unwanted aberrations. The fact that all college love stories don’t end happily has also been given due respect and is one of the many tweakings in the script that deserve a special mention. Costume design deserves a special mention for keeping vulgarity at bay. Our costume designers oft take college based scripts as an excuse to showcase skimpily clad female artistes and thankfully, Inithu… doesn’t feature such immature compromises. The costumes are vibrant, decent and realistic at the same time, a rarity in cinema now-a-days. Cinematography is another highlight and the lush green VIT campus is captured vividly in the movie. Music is average and the lyrics (Vairamuthu), gratifying. A classy campus tale artistically captured!

By dismissing such innovative ventures as Masala or commercial flicks, I think we’re doing grave injustice to the makers’ talent. After all, cinema is all about getting the economics right and walking home with deeper pockets. We also need to appreciate good cinema packaged in the commercial format instead of blindly endorsing sub-standard gore that we encounter in the name of realism.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rahman’s torrid tryst with techno

Intro: With the most saleable star in India, an innovative, trendsetting director known for his visual grandeur, an Oscar-winning composer and a technical crew that any director would love to have at his disposal at the helm, Enthiran has been raising a lot of eyebrows ever since the day it was launched. The music album was launched recently amidst much fanfare and was attended by the who’s who of Indian cinema. The music, however, seems to be a big letdown!

1. Pudhiya manitha, rendered by SPB, ARR and his daughter Khatija Rahman appears to be the opening song of the flick. The Rajini-SPB-ARR combo has delivered the best of songs in the past, Oruvan Oruvan, Emberu Padayappa and Balle lakka to name a few. The expectations for the opening song of this flick sky-rocketed as expected and unfortunately, Rahman leaves us disappointed. Even the ever-reliable Vairamuthu disappoints with this one as he has unnecessarily penned lines like ‘En thanthai mozhi tamizh allava’. SPB’s spirited rendition proves to be the only saving grace in this song in which musical sensibilities are taken for a ride and the listener’s ears seem to be ill-fated victims.

2. Kadhal Anukkal, a breezy romantic duet is an aural treat. A pleasant prelude that’s marked by a stupendously pleasant strumming of the acoustic guitar reminds us of the Rahman we know. Vijay Prakash is slowly establishing his stranglehold as Rahman’s favourite. This song though, belongs to Shreya Ghosal. With this one, she can safely stake her claim as India’s best female singer. The song progression and the classy interludes weave tales of euphony(@soupy: machaan, is this Bilahari by any chance?) in the listener’s heart and this is surely the standout track of this album. But thalaivar singing about neutrons, electrons seems a bit hard to digest and I have been trying to visualize the picturisation of the song and it has proved to be a thorny task!

3. Irumbhiley oru irudhayam, sung by ARR is a DJ’s work! This song seems to have been completely conceptualised by the sound engineer (Resul pookutty?) and this song can’t be termed a “composition” by ARR! The rap lyrics add to the discomfort. Another hugely disappointing number that doesn’t warrant a second listen.

4. Chitti dance showcase is an intriguing experimental piece which seems to have worked in Rahman’s favour. This mini-instrumental, power-packed with konnokhole, rhapsodical guitar work and soothing fillers dominated by violins and flute is definitely an appreciable piece of work!

5. Boom Boom robot da is the worst song of the album and is a total disaster. Nothing goes right for this song right from the beginning. Be it yogi b’s irritating rap, the deliberately childish rendition or the incredibly fussy lyrics, every single aspect of this song is atrocious. Rahman has paid a heavy price for over-experimentation with techno and the result is a cacophonic string of notes that tries its level best to qualify itself as a song. Statutory warning: Try listening to this one at your own risk!

6. Arima arima is one of those songs that flatter to deceive. The pompous start signaled by the grand trumpeting gives way to weak vocals (surprise surprise: hariharan!) Sadhana sargam’s tamil rendition would give Kalaignar a heart attack fo sure! But listen to this one for it’s spirited instrumentation and an engaging chorus. You can forgive the boring stanzas and force yourself to sustain interest and listen to the full song!

Rahman’s over dependence on techno and the imposition of a blanket ban on other genres is this album’s greatest weakness! The men behind the mayhem are bound to come up with excuses like “this is a sci-fi film” and “the script demanded techno and experimentation”. But these are definitely not sufficient explanations for the composition of bad songs. This is surely not the composer who enthralled us with the revitalizingly new sounds in the film “New”. A big thumbs down!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Power, passion and energy are the three words that can be used to best describe the drumming extravaganza organised by Jus drums.

Vani mahal was abuzz with activity. As I meandered down the space separating the two divisions of the auditorium, I realised that the hall was jam-packed and finding a place to sit proved to be quite a menacing task! As I quietly grabbed an elusive seat, the show got off to a rousing start with a clean rendition of the song that’s slowly establishing its stranglehold as the Tamil anthem, Semmozhi. Expectations graduated to the next level when the host, Drums Murali, who also happens to be the man in charge of the troupe, announced that the next song to be played would be Rakkamma kaiyya thattu from Thalapathy. The announcement did raise a few eyebrows, as it’s known for the highly intricate nature of the prelude and magnitude of difficulty in playing the song live. But the invigorating initiation settled all doubts and the troupe owes the scintillating response for the song to its lead keyboardist, Karthik Subramaniam. Karthik and his counterparts breezed through the toughest parts of the legendary song with consummate ease and élan.

Next up, it was time for All drums, an avant-garde performance that appealed to all sections of the audience. All drums was just that, an extraordinary exhibition of various percussions that had shades of innovation and improvisation painted all over it. The recital awakened the audience to the various traditional percussion instruments. The effort was evident and the experience, a pleasurable one but they should have worked on curtailing the length of the song. This was followed by yet another Ilayaraja classic, the divine Kalamkalamaga from Punnagai Mannan, which stood out for the energy-filled rendition by the female lead. The evergreen engeyum yeppodhum from ninaithaley inikkum, spiced up with aggressive vocals by the male lead that combined well with the novel ad-libbing.

While Bharani, the lead singer, impressed with his creativity in engeyum, his attempts at striding off the beaten track bombed big time when he tried singing the celebrated classic, Meri sapnon ki rani from Aradhana. The troupe’s tryst with re-recording established their versatility. Three famous clippings known for convoluted BGMs were screened with the volume muted, as the troupe effortlessly played the background score. Their work on the unforgettable temple scene in Guna will remain etched in the audience’s memory for long. The recital sounded so much like the unassailable original score. A small clipping highlighting the achievements of the organisation followed and then it was time for the ensemble to finish with a bang.

A theme based song, which happens to be a routine that they have been following for the past ten years, was based on limiting the use of plastic. It started off with the cacophonous sound that arises out of crushing a plastic bottle and it was followed by a groundbreaking composition with the instrumentalists restricting themselves to plastic buckets, barrels and mugs to play the opus. A very well thought out piece of euphony indeed. The tiny tots who performed were conferred with certificates and after a few wise words from the chief guest Rev father Jegath Gasper Raj, the curtains were drawn. An evening to cherish.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Intro: Yodhakaa, a contemporary Indian music band which performed on Saturday to
signal the launch of “Purple note”, has been visibly inspired by Latin music, blues, jazz
and Arabic music, but the original Indian flavour has been intelligently retained.
The corporate office of Sathyam cinemas was the place to be on June 26, as it
reverberated with refreshingly new sounds, thanks to Yodhakaa, a contemporary
Indian music band. “Think Music” launched a non-film music label Purple Note. Priya
Krishnan, head of marketing, “Think Music” says: “Purple Note is a contemporary non-
film music label. We work with artists who are unsigned with other labels and help them
get their first album out. We hope to contribute in our small way to their dreams. It is a
division of SPI Music, owned by the creative managing Directors Mr. Kiran Reddy and
Mr. Swaroop Reddy”.
The evening sprang to life as Yodhakaa, came up with six revitalizing songs. They
started with their improvised version of the Mudhakaratha Modhakam, which stood
out for it’s innovative instrumentation and novel progression. The song was simple yet
captivating. The next song, titled Srihari sounded like an extension of the first song and
the guitarist Pradeep impressed. The next song Gnanam was the best of the lot and the
band had the audience dumbstruck with the simply exhilarating percussions and the
soul-stirring vocals. Next in line was Shwetham Baradaram Devi, which raised a few
eyebrows for the band’s bizarre choice of instruments that were totally unconventional.
Infact, the percussionist was the cynosure of all eyes as he effortlessly moved from
one “instrument” to another. A lot of effort was put into negate unnecessary noises that
could arise on doing away with the toy-like instruments. The final song Jatakatha had the
band performing at their energetic best as they ended the concert on a high.
A lot of research on Sanskrit slokas has been done and the band has achieved a fair level
of success in giving a new feel to traditional songs. The band must also be giving a lot of
credit for choosing Sanskrit, as it is a classical language that’s zooming into extinction.
They have been visibly inspired by Latin music, blues, jazz and Arabic music, but the
original Indian flavour has been intelligently retained. Yodhakaa is definitely a band to
watch out for, as they harmoniously blend world music with Carnatic. Fortunately for
Yodhakaa, “Purple note” gives the copyright of the songs tuned under their label to the
band members, though they initially retain the marketing rights unlike other popular
music labels. It certainly turned out to be an invigorating start to a brilliant concept!


My city My story
Intro: Singer Ujjaini talks about Chennai’s auto-drivers, their nasty language and
the process of her acclimatization to this wonderful city and the people of Chennai.
I came to Chennai in 2003. I am a Bengali and the first few days here were horrible, as I
didn’t know Tamil. I had a torrid time communicating and trying to put messages across
to people who didn’t understand English. Auto rickshaw drivers “took me for a ride” as
they reaped a fortune out of my innocence. The absence of metered autos proved to be
menace as I found it difficult to protect my hard-earned money from the occasionally
fraudulent auto drivers. Slowly, but surely I started understanding the “tricks of the trade”
and my Tamil started blossoming. I owe it all to the auto drivers here, whose nasty dialect
inspired me to get a grasp of the language and give them a taste of their own medicine. I
graduated from “left la ponga right la ponga” to having a full-fledged verbal tussle with
an auto driver.
With the passage of time, I started understanding the way things work here in Chennai.
Slowly I started making a lot of friends and finally managed to decipher a methodology
to communicate normally with auto-drivers. Now, I can safely say that I am a Chennai
girl. Everything here is so cool. I love the people out here as they give due credit to talent
and most of them connect with you at an emotional level, unlike other metros where they
don’t care about your existence once they get their job done out of you. I love hitting the
beach and “Landmark” is one of my favourite places here as it has a wonderful collection
of books.


Good times with Gary
Intro: The second day of the centenary celebrations of the sanctification of the only Parsi
Fire Temple in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala was characterised by style, music
and rollicking fun.
It was a day when the name “Gary lawyer” was on everybody’s lips. As is the case
with all commemorations, so much of importance was attached to nostalgic talk. One
octogenarian after another crawled up to the stage to educate the restless crowd about
their green and salad days. The air was brimming with expectations. The dance floor
and the multihued lights sported deserted looks as the audience started craving for
Finally, the man of the evening arrived. The old men finally decided to sink into their
chairs and taste wine. Gary walked up to the podium to tremendous applause. He wasted
no time unlike the others who had graced the stage before him and the man with the
golden voice, regarded as the finest Indian artiste in the field of western popular music
stole the limelight. The bass baritone immediately struck a chord with the audience and
his impressive modulations proved to be one of his many assets. Gary’s biggest plus
is his range. He is equally inspiring in the tenor range and in his favourite bass-toned
numbers. And then comes his versatility. Rock, pop, jazz, country or folk, you name the
genre and he comes up with a brilliant rendition of a song in that genre.
Rock n roll seems to be his forte though. He began his campaign with a few melodious
songs that stood out for their lilting tunes. But sensing the theme of the occasion, he
started playing to the gallery by immediately switching to rock. And he sure did rock,
as he got every single member present in the auditorium to walk up to the dance floor
and perform a jig. A vibrant and highly flexible performer, he has a repertoire that has
something for audiences of all ages and musical tastes. The music appealed to hardcore
music enthusiasts as well as people who had come there just to have some fun. The
performance was power-packed, engrossing and an amazingly gratifying experience.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Sudarshan Varadhan
First Published : 07 Jul 2010 11:12:00 PM IST
Last Updated :

A few words with Arun Venkatraman and you immediately realise that this guy is different. Runner-up, Gladrags Mr India, nine-time national swimming champion, Afro-Asian Bronze medallist, six-time Asian silver medallist and many other feathers fighting for a place in his already over-flowing cap, Arun opens his heart to Expresso.

Foray into modelling

I hurt my shoulder a few years back. And three years back, I had to stop swimming, as I wasn’t fit enough. Around the same time, my ex-girlfriend, a model herself, advised me to try my hand at modelling. Thus began the journey.

The right mix

I work out for three and a half hours a day. I have given up on rice and unhealthy oily food. I am 6”2’. I have an almost flawless body. And I do work really hard on maintaining high levels of fitness.

Highlights in modelling career

I walked the ramp for Kitkat Lite and Nokia. I have also been featured in TV commercials for Naidu Hall and Fashion Folks. And then, Gladrags is the biggest thing that has happened to me. And I’m really proud of the fact that I’m the first person from Chennai to have achieved that.

Message to budding models

Love yourself, strive to be the best. You may have to “compromise” a lot to progress. Work towards achieving an ideal body and get in touch with the right people. I plan to move to Mumbai, as Chennai is really conservative, definitely not the place for a model. I also plan to start a business and may foray into acting if a good role comes my way. I’m definitely not desperate and I strive for perfection in any field. So I’m planning to play a waiting game for now.


Sudarshan Varadhan
First Published : 01 Jun 2010 10:52:37 PM IST
Last Updated :

IT’S summer time and every day is proving to be an absolute scorcher.

Olliyum Olliyum Entertainment is providing Chennai an enterprising option to counter the simmering heat.

The Music Academy is the place to be on June 12, as three dancers of repute, Rukmani, Suma Mani and Agneeshwar are expected to set the stage on fire with their respective dance performances.

It’s going to be an Indian contemporary dance show that promises to be one of a kind.

Thirty dancers from three groups will exhibit their talent in a 120 minute long spectacle which is bound to spell class and grandeur. Agneeshwar will give a head start to the campaign with his Animal Instinct, a fight based choreography, which will explore the compassionate side of the king of the jungle.

This visual treat will have the dancers styled like animals.

No Indian dance performance is complete without involving Lord Krishna.

Krishn, a performance by Suma Mani will be an exquisite display of Krishna’s characteristics and his exploits over the asuras.

The final act, Vipina will be rendered by Rukmani and is based on Lord Shiva, the God of dance and the destroyer of evil. This is expected to be a feel good performance and will wear a comical look as it explores Shiva’s ornaments and the events in Lord Shiva and Parvathi’s marital life.

The event will take place on June 12 at the Music Academy, Chennai at 6.30 pm.

Tickets for the show are available at Landmark, Subway and the website


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 01 Jun 2010 12:01:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Jun 2010 12:22:17 AM IST

The first thing that strikes you the moment you have a glance at Guthrie Govan is his dressing sense. On May 30, when he walked up to the podium and started strumming his guitar in the Russian center of science and culture for his performance cum workshop, he was confronted with an array of bizarre looks. The legendary guitarist was sporting a Mexican look- a brown tee, a torn dirty pair of jeans and a weird beard that hardly suited him. Only the hat was missing.

The barbaric catcalls from the ill-behaved audience notwithstanding, Govan slowly got into the groove. The fluency and the confidence with which he handled things were an instant hit with the audience. Minutes into the show he was interacting with the audience as if he had been playing to the same set of people throughout his life. All of a sudden, the auditorium was reverberating with refreshing sounds and a fresh lease of life.

Govan’s sense of humour soon joined the party and the audience was treated to a slew of one-liners. One guitar enthusiast came up with an uncanny question “Sir how do you play the song Feed my Frankenstein?,” “Badly!” he quipped. The workshop was a special one for fans of Govan as he added a personal touch to the show. He started off by enlightening the audience about his humble beginnings and drawing parallels between learning a language and learning music. He also delved into the philosophies of music as he talked about picking up the sounds of nature and connecting emotionally to the spirit of music. Dynamics and acoustics of the guitar were also given due importance.

He followed it up with a variety of ideas and tips on the intricacies and the technicalities involved in playing the guitar. The awestruck enthusiasts watched him explain the process of playing the most challenging tricks ranging from tapping to hybrid picking with consummate ease and élan. The most distinguishing feature of the show was that it appealed to the layman as much as it appealed to the veterans. After a riveting interactive session, he switched tracks as he plunged into the concert mode. He played some of his best compositions as he harmoniously blended classical western music with hardcore rock. The audience were on their feet marveling at their master perform a stunning feat.

He concluded with his chartbuster seven and by stressing on the importance of maintaining the tempo and finishing a song on time. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 07 Jun 2010 12:12:25 AM IST
Last Updated :

Half past two, a hot Saturday afternoon and I was typically bored, not knowing what to do. It was World Environment Day and I thought it was time to keep myself updated. Thankfully, the British Council helped me do something relevant and constructive.

I attended the UKEFF special preview of five short films organised by Nat Geo and the British Council, all of which shared a common plot — climate change.

The first film to be screened was Notes From A Green City, a film about the various measures employed by the city of Surat to mitigate the impact of climate change at the municipal corporation level, which can serve as a prototype model to the other cities.

The second film, Wheeling In Change, glorified the blistering comeback of the least expensive, yet long forgotten green vehicle, the bicycle. The film forayed into the lives of a group of motivated professionals who’re doing their bit to bring climate change to a standstill by cycling their way to their respective offices.

Next in line was Blocks Of Green, which ventured into the relatively unexplored arenas of green buildings in Mumbai and Kolkata.

It stressed on the importance of rainwater harvesting and made the idea of power conservation and control of carbon emissions look ridiculously easy. It provided a refreshing insight into the world of an architect and the obstacles, costs and benefits that he encounters while planning a green agenda. The penultimate film was a piece of cinematographic brilliance pertinently titled Melting Paradise, which layered on the sensitive issue of disappearing glaciers in India’s own Kashmir. The Miracle Water Village, a documentary about the remote village of Hilware Bazaar that receives a scanty supply of rain every year, proved to be a fitting finale. The village that lies on the right side of the Konkan coast receives a meagre 40 cm of rain every year but still manages to reap a fortune year after year, thanks to their unity coupled with a steely resolve to keep things afloat.

Noted celebrity couple Nagarjuna and Amala Akkineni gave voiceovers in the brief interims between the films. The programme came to a close after the audience had a brief interaction with Ajay Bedi, maker of Melting Paradise. The evening left me thinking about a lot of things. I was inspired and motivated like never before. After all, no one wants to see polar bears under palm trees.


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 17 Jun 2010 12:10:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 17 Jun 2010 09:11:23 AM IST

The little theatre, as a part of The little festival, proclaimed to be Chennai’s first international theatre festival for children, staged Kingdom of Joomba on Tuesday at The Museum theatre, Egmore. They performed in front of a small turnout, most of who seemed to be friends of the on-stage performers! But to their credit, they came up with a fairly engaging performance, which entertained in parts.

It was a day when a lot of things went their way. First and foremost, the ambience at the venue was outstanding, setting the stage for a riveting performance. Secondly, the audio and the lighting were extraordinary. Kudos to the men behind such intricate work. But the plot was a big letdown. How many more times are children going to be treated to the same old “Prince in trouble breaking all barriers to eventually marry the princess”? It’s high time that scriptwriters started thinking on their feet. The script was disconcertingly clichéd and the dialogues were banal to make it worse. The play was festooned with grandiloquent monologues and poetic lines loaded with oodles of love. Unfortunately, the writer seems to have forgotten the fact that this play is meant for children and not for fans of Shakespeare and Wordsworth.

Six actors playing 14 characters added to the disarray and perplexed the already befuddled children, many of whom failed to come to terms with what was happening on stage. The actors played their parts quite well though. Karan, who played the prince and Ashley, who played the evil cook, impressed. But the show stealers were undoubtedly Abishek and KK, who played Gamma and Mamma respectively. Their punchy one-liners and outrageously funny antics had the audience in splits most of the time. But the performance of the sole female actor in the group, Nanditha, left a lot to be desired. I wonder who told her that sounding like an amplifier helps you win children’s hearts. Her loud outbursts, which were supposed to melodramatic yet funny, only managed to frustrate and test the patience of the audience. Joel, who played grandma Bo, could have worked a little more on his body language.

One would also expect a children’s play to be full of colourful props. Regrettably, it wasn’t the case. Though the actors infused life into their performances, they hardly connected with the audience, Mamma and Gamma being noteworthy exceptions. The directors of the play should have focused on better stage usage and makeup that would suit the characters. Dr Kuyilan, in charge of the music, did a fairly neat job and so has Ashley, the choreographer. It was a good attempt that could have been a lot better had they filled up the loopholes that loomed large on the majestic stage.


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 17 Jun 2010 12:23:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 17 Jun 2010 08:57:16 AM IST

I started my interview with Lokesh, a rising rockstar in photography. “I am a people’s photographer,” he smiles as he settles into a comfortable position on the couch.

I was convinced by then that it was not going to be a formal interview and I presented a slightly extended version of my first question, “What’s that?” “I’m someone who can make anybody look and feel like a professional model”.

“How did you start?” was my next question. “It was a hobby initially. And then, as I started following Nat Geo photography and started travelling to different places and observing different cultures, photography started growing on me. It’s like first love, it grows on you with time”, he quipped. And about his teachers and fans, “My teachers — Mr. Bharath Ramamritam and Mr. Vikas. They’ve also been my friends and my best critics. They help me rediscover myself every time and keep me going.”

He also recalls that his trip to Rajasthan where he had to live in harmony with the “real India” was one of his many life-changing experiences. He doesn’t restrict his domain to photography and his interests extend to the fields of dance, martial arts and fitness. When asked where he’d like to be ten years down the line and his message to the budding photographers, he said, “Ten years down the line, I’d like to be one of India’s best photographers and for all those who want to make it big here, just follow your heart and work towards your dream”. The theory behind becoming a hotshot photographer was never so simple!

Contact the photographer at 9884023484


Sudarshan Varadhan
Express News Service
First Published : 19 Jun 2010 02:04:14 AM IST
Last Updated : 19 Jun 2010 09:49:20 AM IST

Where to chill out

Hold hands, play colony cricket, share stories, head to the spa or invoke the gods. We give you the options to unwind, bond and celebrate

Musical day

* Make it a positive morning, head to Santhome Church for the morning choir at 9am.

Ph: 24980758

* By now if you’re craving pancakes with maple syrup and some spicy-sausages served with mash, head to Sandy’s at Rutland Gate. Avg cost for two: Rs.500 . Ph: 42303852

* Event: Solder Live at Bucks Theatre, YMCA Grounds, Royapettah

* Often there is something musical about tranquility.

Head to Amethyst and do some lime and honey shots and dig into chocolate chip cake slice.

Ph: 28351143

* After the relaxing caffeine break, head to Unwind Centre for some lilting music and live performances.

Ph: 65379572


* B e g i n with a breezy walk on the Elliot’s beach, followed by a moist sugar doughnut at Funk Jazz (Rs 50) and a piping hot coffee. Ph: 43018585

* Pamper yourself at Aura, The Park Spa. A luxurious back scrub with some de-stressing strokes and kneading costs - Rs 2000+ taxes.

Ph: 42676000

* Stride in with confidence into Annalakshmi, the pure vegetarian fine-dining restaurant.

With its unique concept of rotating chefs and tourists preparing the meal, you’re bound to delight daddy dearest with a burst of flavour that is easy on the pocket. Avg cost for two: Rs 1800 Ph: 28525109

* Head to GRT Radisson Temple bay for the rest of the evening. Lie on the hammocks, sip on chilled beer and delight in the cool ambience under the shady trees and floral stretches. Take a dip in the infinity pool and down some margarita’s before you head to The Wharf, a bay facing seafood eatery, complete with world-class wines.

Avg cost for two: Rs 3000. Ph: 66500000

* On the way back, catch a movie while relaxing in your car at Prarthana Drive-in theatre. avg cost for two:Rs.500 Ph: 24491692

Get Sporty

* Wake up to a sunny day. And head to Taj Coromandel for a soak in the pool. Ph: 66002098

* Then head to Prego, the in-house Italian eatery at the hotel for an elaborate lunch of lobsters, pasta's, oysters and crispy hot plates. Avg cost for two: Rs 2000 Ph: 66002827

* After a nice indulgent lunch, head to AKDR golf course on the OMR and play a game with dad or just watch him play and spark off an interesting conversation.

Avg cost for 2: Rs 750 Ph: 24961617

* Then head straight to café coffee day and order a couple of cups of creamy cappuccino and crispy samosas and hot sandwiches to your menu. Avg cost for two: Ph: 64625575

* Go back home and try organising a intrafamily carom tournament after bonding over a nice and light home made dinner with your family.


* Wake your dad up early in the morning and make him the best filter coffee. Take him to the nearest temple and invoke the blessings of the almighty.

* Follow it up with a light hot breakfast and spend some time with him as you listen to nice melodious music on your music system Surprise him by getting his old pals home. Rejoice and remain a silent spectator as you watch your dad recollect the best moments of his green and salad days.

* Organise a movie screening at home after lunch and watch his favourite movie along with him and his friends.

* Take him out for a nice long walk along the seashore and conclude it with tea and snacks at Saravana bhavan as you discuss a variety of topics like music, art, cinema and politics.

Ph: 28191255

* Let the day draw to a close with a nice light hearted discussion along with your family members on the terrace as you feel the titillating sea breeze blow past you!