April 8th, 2013

Fan mail, a primer!

It must have started with Shakespeare and then moved over to Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy but it reached its peak with Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. While it continues to prosper even in this age, a book on fan mail only happens to very few writers. Read a sample below, and more.

Dear Mark Twain:

Writing this letter is one of the pleasantest duties I have to perform before leaving for “Hell or Hadleyburg” — which the doctor tells me must be soon now.

In fact I’m living beyond my time, — because he said Oct 15 was my last day “on live” — The only reason I didn’t die on that date was that I wanted to read your latest story in Harpers. Some people see Naples and die, — I prefer to read Mark Twain & die. I’ve never seen Naples, — and dont expect to. I’ve read almost everything youve written, — and when I finish your whole output I’ll give up seeing Naples and die happily without that privilege.

But —

I want to thank you for all the pleasure your books have given me during many years of confinement to my room. Life would frequently have been dull indeed had it not been for the companionship of Huck Finn, Col. Sellers, et al.

When I get to Hell the greatest torture that I will have will be the possible knowledge that you shall have written something else I shall not be permitted to read.

Yours gratefully
Benj Ochiltree.

February 2nd, 2013

Kadal – Uncharted

mani ratnam - kadal

Barring one fundamental flaw that equals Minnale’s Abbas/Madhavan flashback, Mani takes his beloved tamil audience to a place that is not only deep but has enough grey areas to ponder. Its understandable that the movie is already widely hated given that it makes one uncomfortable at places, just like any great piece of art.

With it’s cast providing great support, Jeyamohan’s story with rich characters and their back-stories lit up at right places, Kadal is Mani’s masterstroke that will be unfortunately overlooked due to one huge mistake, setting expectations. Kidnapping a literary story to people’s heart while marketing it to be a outright love story is deceiving and Mani will have to pay for that. For a Jeyamohan story, its not all that black given his track record but for Mani Ratnam this blackness is very new. Editor Sreekar Prasad and ARR have missed opportunities at right places to backup Mani with that extra cut or that punchy BGM but after all its the captain’s fault at the end.

As we drove back, my friend and I filled up the remaining holes by discussing and this is exactly what Mani should have done implicitly. Also should have had the heart to cut the Disney graphics at the end and should have stopped at the hospital shot.

Regardless, a work to rejoice for the cinephiles. 5 -8 years from now, this will be regarded as a classic. Come back to read this again.

P.S: My cheap shot sentence – And please stop saying the movie is about a 3 hour religious discourse. Get a life, become inclusive and take it easy, yo’all!

March 25th, 2012

Missing the appetite

hunger games

I’m not a targeted viewer for the Hunger Games movie. Yet I decided to watch it on the opening weekend and it was as expected, not very interesting. Having read a couple of similar game-of-death books and even watched a very comparable movie back in the day, to me, hunger games is a missed opportunity. It is very obvious that the producers decided to reduce a violent hungry movie into a PG 13 to laugh their way to the bank and it seems like ‘the odds are ever in their favor’. In that process they killed the possibility to make it into a spine-chilling thriller.

Here is how the screenwriter’s palette looked like – a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, an emotional family sub-plot, worker class revolution, gothic political rulers, game-of-death, a forest where every inch is monitored through video cameras and ofcouse designed-on-demand AutoCAD wild animals. The movie’s payback does not match the build-up to it. Mel Gibson would have aced through a story like this, just like how he managed to pull-off an apocalypto.

I was actually bought into the movie during the first 20 minutes and then as they delayed and delayed the start of the game, it seemed to me like they were going in for a kill but what do I know, just read the first line of the post again.

March 21st, 2012

Let's do the numbers!

Not a big fan of calling out birthdays and such. But it has been ten years since this and 35 altogether. So much has changed and to that note so much has not changed. As in corporate speak, let’s do some high level numbers –

From and including: Monday, March 21, 1977
To, but not including : Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It is 12,784 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date
Or 35 years excluding the end date

Alternative time units
12,784 days
1,104,537,600 seconds
18,408,960 minutes
306,816 hours
1826 weeks (rounded down)

March 17th, 2012

one little master

[from: sunil’s cove | original story ]

Thanks for all great moments of cricketing joy and ofcourse this innings that one could never forget.

Enthiran Kamal
[ Image: Vikatan]

Shankar talks about the Enthiran that could have been and shares a sneak peak here in Vikatan.

February 27th, 2012

sujatha: one more year later

18. இதை வாசகருக்கும் எழுத்தாளருக்கும் உள்ள ஏற்பாடு என்று சொல்லலாமா?

ஒரு நட்பு என்று சொல்லலாம். ஒரு வாசகர் தனக்கு பிடித்தமான எழுத்தாளரை ஒரு நண்பரைப்போல் தேர்ந்தெடுக்கிறார். காரணம், அவர் எழுதுவது இவருக்கு புரிகிறது. கதையின் எதோ ஒரு பகுதியை வாசகரால் தன் மனத்தில் மீண்டும் வாழ முடிகிறது. அந்த எழுத்தாளர் அந்த வாசகரின் வாழ்வின் குறையை ஏதோ ஒரு விதத்தில் நிரப்புகிறார்.

19. அதற்குக் கதை புரியவேண்டும் அல்லவா?

ஆம். கதை வாசகருக்கு புரியவேண்டியதை மிக முக்கியமாக கருதுபவன் நான்.

20. சிலர் புரியாமலேயே கதை எழுதுகிறார்களே?

அவர்களைப் —- — ——.

– சுஜாதா [சிறுகதை: அடிக்கடி கேட்கப்படும் கேள்விகள், 1998.] [தொகுப்பு: கடவுள்களின் பள்ளத்தாக்கு]

February 25th, 2012

the first decade

(*the picture above has nothing to do with the post except it symbolizes a look back)

This is a customary post, the one that I do every year on this day, mostly. The reason – its the anniversary of this blog, a very special one this time. Its a decade since this blog started to exist back in 2002. A look back of why and how was blogged here six years ago. Even though the blog postings around here have gone south, as I get immersed in the weekly grocery purchases and large data sets, a ray of hope still hangs around that I can keep this going.

Winning 3 Indibloggies could be considered an achievement of this blog but given that we don’t have Indibloggies anymore it doesn’t matter. So having invested thousands of hours in this blog and related discussions, what did I get? To cut that long story short, here are some blogposts that I really really enjoyed (or felt sad) writing and interacting for various reasons. To save your guilt, this is a personal blogpost so I don’t expect anyone to read through this thoroughly. Feel free to read, comment or leave.

The first one for being the start of everything here. The excitement that I had for being able to publish oneself on the web and becoming a part a indian blogger clique which was not more than two dozen in 2002.

On completing 25. You now know how old I am!

I still feel silly writing this. While there are many more silly blogpostings, this one tops them all. Have developed a kind of respect towards artists and filmmakers in the last decade. One that tells me nothing is an easy job.

Nidhi! She had a lovely blog called the Sunshine where I learnt on how to bring the cheer to the blog. She writes no more. That being said, the inspiration to start a blog was defintely Mahesh Shantharam.

The one where I spoke my journalistic career aspirations and stopped such BS after this. But this one is true.

Probably the only post on Indian politics and I think I was wrong about the whole subject. It was never my area of passion so didn’t bother to write anymore about politics.

The first soundtrack review, movie review.

Google finds me.

Watching my first film in US.

Rahman Top 10, as of 2002. As of 2005.

Really loved writing this post on deepavali.

One of the handful cricket posts here.

Pheelasophy 1.

This changed the fate of this blog. One of the most famous posts here, the review on Anbe Sivam that brought more people to this blog than anything else. The number of comments on the original blogspot blog was in hundreds. I actually thought the review was raw and was’t thought through well.

The post that caught Sujatha’s attention.

From lazygeek.blogspot.com to kirukkal.com. Also launches.

A bit of carnatic music – Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Mani and Kamal come by the blog.

Rumbumbum, a dhwanii column starts. I actually only wrote less than 10 columns for them before the site went down.

Turning 26.

Pachai Niramey!

Thangachii!!! A TamBrahm marriage.

One of my favorite reviews that I ever wrote – Kadhal Konden. This one was written with full of joy and passion.

On getting published in mass media. A Kakkha Kakkha review on Rediff. It was badly edited but I liked being published.

A maathiyosi review for Shankar’s Boys.

Veesukindra Thendraley, a personal post repeats time and again. Suprisingly it repeats even now as I type this.

Three friends whom I met through the blog tried our stab at group writing of stories. I never really took off. But a nod to that effort.

The most famous Sethu controversy. A detailed comment flame war. Such silly things we once did.

Winning Indibloggies 1.

Viru Viru mandi Virumandi. A review that got some real appreciation.

On Ajith 1 & 2

A lazy marriage invite. Life takes a turn.

World Themes for Indian Cinema. Anand Chandrsekharan and I co-wrote this series. Enjoyed the change. The entire series.

A post for raaja.

The first ever of Happy Birthday Dude! series. Bharathi, Rajini, Rahman, Kamalhassan, Sujatha, Spielberg and the entire series.

An evening with Ashokamitran, Sujatha, Jayamohan and SR.

RK Narayan and I. An ode to purasawalkam.

A man called Steve Jobs.

Once upon a time a lovely Barkha Dutt.

Sivaji passes away.

This post on cinderalla pattu paavadai ad got a lot of comments, don’t really know why.

Yaar Yaar Sivam.

The Rajini (f)actor. A rajini tribute. Some remember this post even now.

The most famous post around here. Atleast from search engine’s perspective. Still bring about 100 visitors a day for this image. Its all a mystery!

MS Subbulakshmi passes away. One of the saddest days. Blog closed for a day.

A post on the dramatic need in stories. This is the kind of a typical blogpost I wish I wrote all the time. Never happened.

On a personal Tusnami experience. I loved the title.

Ashokamitran, 50 years with the pen. I want to say Indian Charles Dickens.

Leaving India. Arriving Seattle and Starbucksing my life. Netflixing a little later. And mastering a subway sandwich. Finally a HondaToyota conundrum. The HondaToyota conundrum comes back. I get all desified until RK Narayan teaches me a lesson.

Sujatha turns 70, i blog about his rant, he comments. purpose achieved!

The fun of being a naive desi who writes about shallow consumer tech.

Yet another article that had tons of great comments(148 to be specific) – Nayakan on All-Time Top 10 Ten.

Kubrick, a favorite guy.

Death of an abused blog. Really such things did happen int he life of this blog.

And I started feeling remorseful to not being raw, naive and unfettered.

The most personal blogpost. My car, an atheist. Appa said this was the only thing he liked so far. Done deal.

I start to run.

Too much heat for this Sivakasi review. Loved every bit of it.

The brief return of Hemanth’s Teakada.

The blog is wordpressed and ad-free.

Saluting Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Review.

A friendly new year wish.

Lifetime achievement at Indiabloggies aka Mavaney Inimey Ezhuthuvey!

Camel ‘Marudhanayagam’ Hassan. And a trailer for that crazily superhit blogpost.

Blogasm, a quick column for a tamil blog, Gilli.

Yet another personal post, The I and the my.

The beginning of the end of lazygeek, Don’t Read This. Part 2.

Kollywood Car 1. The entire series.

I’m proud for this. A personal all-time favorie.

Hee.hee. Some fun and flame.

Taking a sabbatical from the lazygeek blog. The sabbatical page. Come back exactly after a year.

Starts a Tamil blog, Kirukkal.com.

Really enjoyed writing in this tone, in tamil.

Writer Sujatha passes away. A very sad day. Blog closed. 100s of people leave their touching memories on this page. Acute onset of writer’s block. Sujatha Anniversary 2009, 2010 and 2011. Sujathoughts.

A handmade ideal template for Kirukkal. This is the current template until I find myself convinced to use something else.

First ever published tamil story, Appavin Thanksgiving. The second one. And a fantasy filled third. A weird fourth.

Kirukkal Awards 2007 and 2010.

From Kodambakkam to Kodak Theater. Live tweeted the oscar show.

Ashwin comes around. Life takes another turn.

A pedestal for Selva’s Aayirathil Oruvan. Review.

The etcetra series part 1 in tamilpaper.net. All the 24 episodes.

kirukkal.com and kirukkal.com don’t exist seperately anymore. They are a part of this domain, kirukkal.com. subbudu is a pseudonym that I picked up for the tamil blog and still retain. A link to all the posts on this blog and BTW, Thanks for the journey!

February 7th, 2012

Oh very young!

Caution, this can cause tripping!

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