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Weekendies !!

Kaadhal Yaanai of Anniyan is the latest buzz in kollywood. Srikanth has a good technical review of Anniyan. Prabhu, the kadhal mannan of Chennai Blogosphere get a niche area to review. He reviews the Anniyan lyrics. Great going. I ain’t writing any reviews for Anniyan music. Not too inspiring to write about. However I’m glued to acid looping[ as Srikanth says] of Kaadhal Yaanai. Rest, let’s watch with the movie.

Chenthil blogs about Madras Book Club function felicitating Jeyakanthan for being awarded the Jnanpith Award. Makes me miss Chennai again.

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani ? is a great read. This short story which is a sublime commentary of the current social mindset by using the history, was awarded First Prize in Thinnai Sci-fi shortstory contest, judged by Sujatha. Another one which I liked was Bhimba Uyirgal by Arun Vaidhyanathan. The one by Karthikesu on Kofi Anan was an intelligent thought.

Tiger should be out by today. The latest OS offerring from Apple for Mac seems promising. The most talked about feature is like Google to the Mac. Spotlight, a feature in the Tiger Mac OS can search just about anything in the computer with the text you type. They have also added a Robot to the OS, Automator.

After sometime, the competition starts getting annoying. It was as though Yahoo was waiting for Google’s release of personal search, their release of My Web just tailgated Google’s release. Peace to both the dudes !!

Finally, over the weekend, they predict a little sunshine in Seattle. Planning an outdoor party on the shores of Lake Washington in Mercer Island. Sunshine, I hope.

Uncategorized

Hmm…

Paatezhuthi paerr vaangum pulavargal irukiraargal, Kutram kandupidithey paer vaangum pulavargalum irukiraargal, reads a dialogue in Thiruvilayaadal. You know what I am talking about. I could spot some really gross paradoxes which he has created himself in this article, Critics…Rascals. Having read his book on Lagaan and the caste system, which was cynical in my opinion, I hate to waste time in de-mystifying the facts which the article advocates. Judge it yourself.

Living Seattle

Mastering sub-meals on the way

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[Click Pic for a bigger version]

For an aathu payyan like me, there aren’t many choices on the Subway. Either I go with the foot long bread stuffed with cheese and other vegetables about which I have no clue or I end up drinking just Pepsi producing countless burps. Been eating on this sub-way for a while on what was recommended to me. This time I had a special recommendtion from a friend and it worked well. So if you are sub-beginner trying to catch hold of the rocket science behind a Subway Footlong [Salad Sandwich], here’s the formula –

Roasted Garlic bread
Provolone Cheese
Olives
Onions
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Capsicum aka green pepper
Cucumbers
Honey Mustard Sauce
Oil & Vinegar Sauce
Parmesan Cheese powder
and finally
Salt & Pepper

This makes up for a delicious veggie footlong and when combined with a Lays onion sour cream chips + Pepsi, works well. Still, when I came back home I had some sambaar saadham with vendakka curry. Mega Delicious.

Film Reviews

Chandramukhi – The Second Coming of Super Star

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Kann Emaikkum Nodiyill Ada Ethuvum Nadakkum
Ithu Enakku Therium Naalai Unakku Puriyum
Hey!! Anjukkulla Naala Vaiyu
Aazham Paathu Kaala Vaiyu

reads the lyrics of the superhit song Annanoda Paatu in Chandramukhi. You might wonder if they were written based on the Baba’s lessons learnt document. May or May not be. Baba wasn’t the first of Rajini’s movie that failed in box-office. Yet it was a notable fall because the media was on all-time high about Rajini. It wasn’t the be a crucial time in Rajini’s career. He wasn’t in one of those if-this-fails-i’m-lost-forever times of his film career. Still, Rajini tasted the failure gracefully and refunded the financial loss to his distributors. What about his diehard fans ? He deceived them with Baba. He never repaid them nor even reassured them. Was completely out of the movie scene for more than 3 years after the Baba disaster. He probably wanted to go by his own dialogue, Sonnathaium Seivaen Sollathathaiyum Seivaen. Comes back with bang in Chandramukhi providing wholesome entertainment for the entire family. He treads in the most popular and the most safest roads of movie making that encompasses entertainment values for the masses.

Just like any AVM flick, Chandramukhi has an amazing proportion of commercial cinema for everyone. There is a ‘story’, some suspense, comedy, super hit songs, stunts and hey as a bonus it also has Rajini in it. Instead of the story getting twined around Rajini, for a change, Rajini ties all the elements together. If only it was the other way, he had to do more gimmicks and adhere to the silly formulas. More of this a little later.

Chandramukhi premise is ripped-off from a wonderful Malayalam classic, Manichitrathazhu. A haunting and a realistic movie directed by Fazhil has become a suspense thriller with lots of exaggeration[the graphical anaconda snake] and commercial compromises. I would hate to compare Chandramukhi to Manichitrathazhu because they just have the same story premise but the intention behind making them are a lot different. Apples and Oranges. The video shops are going to be haunted for Manichitrathazhu video allowing more people to understand the taste of malayalam movies.

Chandramukhi is a story of a girl suffering from multiple personality disorder also known as split personality. A curious urban girl comes in contact with a ancient story of a dancer Chandrmukhi, becomes interested in her and in the process of knowing more about her, gets affected with MPD. Before she gets too dangerous for others to handle, a psychiatrist treats her appropriately by risking his life. I didn’t want to write even this storyline but it’s just to show the point in which Rajinikanth’s character gets importance. It’s only in the last 20 minutes Rajinikanth does something closer to his character. Until then he just there to provide fun time for his viewers.

Jyothika the wonder girl does a great job in the title role. It’s probably the movie for which she will be talked about. Even though there is just too much kajal in her eyes, trying to dub her as a ghost, she gives a performance that will be rewarding. For someone so charming and fun filled even in the movies, a ferocious role must have been a challenge. She walks away with full marks for the acting sequence in the final scenes and her version of tounge twisting flirt, Laka..Laka..Laka. If only they would have downplayed her make-up and didn’t glare her eyes with those extra lights, the role would have been remembered for a long time. Nevertheless it’s her movie and she emerges as a grand winner.

Going by the popular mis-conception that there weren’t many punch dialogues for a Rajini movie, Rajinikanth’s tightrope walk in Chandramukhi paid-off well. If only there were many of the so-called-punch-dialogues, they would be analysed in every possible angle by the media and they would wage a virtual battle between him and some unassuming political star. Rajinikanth’s huge fan club must be having a great time watching their Thalaivar coming back to the Rajathi Raja type comedy where the story dictates comedy dialogues and not the other way.

With that Matrix stlye introduction Rajini’s character gets pulled into the movie real quick. But his character stands out for a long time until he starts to unleash the Chandramukhi mystery. It’s true that his voice has lost quite a bit of it’s grace. Still he has a powerful on-screen presence and has a fairly good sense of humour. Though it’s mostly of the slapstick genre, we enjoy it thoroughly. While he comes in the disguise of the king in the final scenes, he reminds the villainy roles he played during the yesteryears.

Rajini probably wanted to get out of the political blackhole into which he was drawn into with/without his consent. He probably wanted to relive his good ol’e days of Super Star. In that manner, even though Chandramukhi doesn’t showcase or boast the superstar status with magnificent BGMs or Vishk…Vishk sounds, Rajini comes back full swing. Choosing a story for his re-launch after Baba was so important for him. Chandramukhi which had a perfect script for an entertainment movie, was also successful in Malayalam and in Kannada which must have pushed him to use the script in his favour. It worked magic for him. While there could arguments as to how the movie could/might have been taken, with the given output it brings back the Super star as he was celebrated in the late 80’s. Welcome back !!

Prabhu, a very good actor gets very little chance to make an impact. He was probably very worried about the business of Chandramukhi being the producer and didn’t wanted so much on-screen presence. Vadivelu is on the track. While I would have still preferred to have Janakaraj as Rajini’s sidekick, Vadivelu was also comical. Nayanthara does her part neatly. But she was over-hyped during the pre-release promos. Good artists like Nasser and Sheila get wasted in the not-so-important roles.

Vidyasagar would get a second chance with Rajini for his next film. His BGMs thrills and keeps the tempo of the movie, high. Annanoda Pattu is the ‘once more’ type. Raa Raa is a melodious song and everyone watch it just for the Lakka Lakka sequence. My personal favorite is the Athinthom song which had shades of Illayaraja as mentioned in the music review. Some fine piece of artistry by Thotta Tharani. However it could have been avoided which would have made the film more realistic. But a Rajini film requies this grandeur. Director Vasu would be a happy man from Chandramukhi’s success. He has did a good job of bringing the best out of the crew except that he could have reduced the hyperboles to the story.

Leaving all the pre-concieved notions of recent Rajini flicks, if only you could be open, Chandramukhi is a paisa vasool. If you are the nitpicky type, trying to grip on the loopholes of the movie, Chandramukhi isn’t for you. Truly, not many are criticizing with a Rajini movie. For this is even more a special film, announcing the second coming of the Super Star. If only Rajini would stick to same film-making rules as of Chandramukhi, his fans would be the luckiest of all. For this way, instead of falling for the image trap, Rajini can play roles of his age which would be readily welcomed by kollywood. Hate being cliched but then this could just a beginning. There is a definetly a long way for him to go.

Kollywood

A whole-lot-of Gautam Menon

Ironically it was only here, I was able to grab a DVD of Kakkha Kakkha. A lot of my friends pushed me to watch the DVD version for the reason that it had Gautam Menon’s directors commentary. I think it is the first time for a tamil feature film, a DVD comes with a director’s commentary. An opportunity missed by many including Mani Ratnam, KB, Kamal Hassan and a others. They still have time to release the next versions of DVDs with director’s commentary. Let’s talk about that later.

At first came the biggest disappointment. Gautam’s directors commentary was in English. He probably wanted Kakkha Kakkha to reach a wider audience. Appreciate that thinking but it would have more interesting and more grounded if only he had done it in tamil itself. Gautam was able to skim through the movie so easily that he had made a year back. Except that he kept saying, a-whole-lot-of, repeatedly through out the commentary.

We know that Kakkha Kakkha was made out of a shoe-string budget of 2.40 crores on first-copy basis to Thanu. And when the budget exceeded Gautam had shelled in 40 lakhs to complete the movie and carry it to the screens. During the commentary, he kept re-instating as to how the budget constraint hindered them from making it a better production. Atleast he should be happy now that his next movie with Kamal, Vettayaadu Villayadu is sporting a huge producer. Gautam could have elaborated more on the Kakkha Kakkha story and what prompted him to pen a story like that[Other than Fugitive and other cop flicks from hollywood, about which they was a huge argument in the blog a week back]. The whole commentary was about how the movie was shot. Instead of saying, we shot this at a crowded Nesapakkam and we had hundreds of onlookers, Gautam could have taken time to talk about the Cop called Anbu Selvan. There is always a next time. Probably it would happen with the Kamal flick, I hope. All said and done, hats off to Gautam to kick start the trend.

A director’s commentary is not a feature for everyone. For fans and movie buffs, a director’s commentary is a treasure. It’s only yesterday, I watched Steven Spielberg‘s first film(tele film for ABC) Duelon the DVD. It had a half-hour interview with Spielberg about making of the movie. He was able to recall his mindset when he shot duel and he spoke with an entusiasm of a first-timer. His director’s commentary for Saving Private Ryan and E.T are still my favorites.

How about our kollywood legends like Mani Ratnam, KB, Bharathiraja dub a commentary for their movies. Not only they enable us to see what went on inside their heads, it also would give them the pleasure of re-living ‘those’ days. Twenty years from now when they will be long gone, their movies will talk their genius, no doubts. If only they sit for a good three months and strech themselves to a commentary for all their movies, it would nothing but a jackpot for the future movie-makers. Imagine Mani Ratnam talking about Nayagan and why he was so moved by Coppola’s Godfather script that he I only wish all Bheemsingh & Sridhar movies had such commentaries. I only wish, I get a chance to see KB talking about Server Sundaram, Bharathi Raja about Muthal Mariyaadhai, Kamal on Raja Paarvai, Hey Ram & Virumandi. I wish.