Happy Birthday Dude !! – Sujatha Rangarajan

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A friend of mine came from India last week. He brought along some Ambika appalams and Manga thokku bottles. I threw them aside and got hold of something else which I wanted desperately. Sujatha‘s Selected Shortstories Part II. He gave me a wierd look and said, “Machan Itha ethukku eduthundu vara sonna ? “. I smiled and started reading the first page. He wasn’t bitten by the Sujatha bug. I was, badly.

It wasn’t until I read Nila Nizhal I went gaga over Sujatha. Like Sidney Sheldon, I was thinking Sujatha was a female writer initially. I was amused when (s)he wrote about teenage bloopers in Nila Nizhal. It was just a beginning and it was there my journey alongwith Sujatha started. From the Purasawalkam’s Tana street potti kadai to Tambaram Sanitorium library to Mylapore Azhwar Kadai, I have bought/read/enjoyed Sujatha everywhere. I even carried a Sujatha novel to my first interview. To read when I got some spare time.

As a teenager, I was quite amazed how could realistically write a teenager’s mind in Aathalinaal Kathal Seiveer and that same amazement follows me through the wineshop scenes of Shankar’s Boys. When I watched Enn Iniya Iyandhira on cable, I had the book in my hand to follow it real close. With Anithaavin Kaathalgal, I was convinced that this guy wrote better romance fiction than many contemporary tamil writers. With Kanavu Thozhirchaalai I was sure that my interests matched Sujatha. I read Madhyamar and started worshipping. Roja, Indian, Mudhalvan, Kannathil Muthamittal and Boys continues to say what an interesting dimension a book writer can bring into a movie. I am still positive that my interests match Sujatha’s. What a stupid statement you would think. I am not bothered. But I relate to him so much. A millions of other fans join me. It’s probably this USP of relating to him makes him supreme than others in Tamil writing scene. Just last week, I completed reading his Madhyamar and Thoondil Kathaigal, again, in the bathroom. Though till day, Guruprasadin Kadaisi Dhinam continues to reamin as my all-time favorite of Sujatha.

Why would directors like Mani Ratnam and Shankar go back to Sujatha when they are savvy enough to pen screenplay & dialogues by themselves. When Mani Ratnam shot Uyire[Dil Se] he discussed the story with Sujatha. Sujatha then wrote the story in a novel format. The format was then converted to screenplay and dialogues were written.

Sujatha’s first story was published in 1954 in a magazine named Sivaji. His next story Athirchi was published six years later in Kumudam. So if we assume 1954 to be his official start date as a writer, he completes 51 years in writing.

I probably cannot finish the post as I have a tsunami of thoughts on his writing. So here’s wishing a man whose brains I would wish to own, A Very Joyous Birthday, as he completes 70 years on planet earth. Here’s Sujatha about himself –

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Happy Birthday Dude !! – AR Rahman

AR Rahman

As South Asians took root around the world and their local movie culture avidly followed them, one could hear Rahman’s music even if it didn’t puncture the consciousness: as background music in restaurants and posh stores, in the very beat of certain neighborhoods, and of course in the movies that occasionally broke out of Desi ghettos. Lagaan, the insurgent epic centered on an Anglo-Indian cricket match, was nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar. Again Rahman’s work went uncited — though not, by Western film cultists, unappreciated. As they discovered India’s pop cinema, they realized that along with the ferocious emoting and delirious dances, there was a master composer — the man Indians call the Mozart of Madras.

The column of Richard Corliss, That Old Feeling: Isn’t It Rahmantic?, appears to be a timely one. A fantastical testimonial of AR Rahman and his timeless compositions. A must read for Rahmaniacs on his b’day.

My bit is here. On a hot sunny afternoon, walking by the crowded streets of Tambaram, I stop by the corner of the road for a synthesised music blaring from an audio shop. I could even identify ABBA, Jackson, Eagles and Carpenters before that. But this music was soothing and very different. I’m not making nay comparions here. No exaggeration. True. Someone on the audioshop said the composer was a 25yr old guy. I bought the cassette not for the music but for Mani Ratnam. It was Roja. The year was 1992.

Since then I’ve been mesmerized by AR Rahman for good and never turned back. If I were to know a Rahman music album got released, I bought it blindly. I never bothered the crew and the cast. If it was Rahman, the cassette was mine. I even bought music of movies like Andhi Malai which never released. And yeah I closely followed ARR music release schedules. Would have posted them here if only there were blogs in 1995.

Rahman still continues to inspire a generation of people , around the world(is that politically right?) who are transfixed to his musical chords. And we should be pleased that a unassuming dude from Chennai is making the world dance to his HUMMA HUMMA.

The Year of Blogs

Have a peaceful and delightful new year!!

This year is unofficially declared as 2005 : The Year of Blogs. What say ?

Happy Birthday Dude !! – Steven Spielberg

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[Pic: Intercom with spielberg’s signature ]

The passion for storytelling, the passion for being highly imaginative and the passion for delivering films with a sense of belonging can be attributed only to Steven Spielberg. As a kid, he was probably my first biggest inspiration for the wonderworld of films. If I could recall one instance of becoming an addict to cinema it has to be Spielberg’s E.T. For me, a kid on 3rd grade, watching a film’s story expand beyond boundaries of imagination and touch hearts despite dealing with a weird looking alien was sheer magic. And Extra Terrestrial still remains a magic till day, even after 22 years after its release.

From then, I have closely watched most of Steven Spielberg‘s movies with a sense of belonging. As though he was a friend teaching me the art of movie making. And never, never he has left me down with his movies. Even my favorite Indian Spielbergs have left me down in a couple of places failing to impress.

Having watched even the not-so-commercial movies like Schindler’s List and Amistad in the dark and hot cinema halls of Chennai, like crazy, I can rather write a full length analysis on Spielberg and his dimension of movie making. Thats certainly not the point. Having watched his movies so damn well, I still can’t guess what would be his next venture. Just like the how he made Catch Me If You Can after the techical wizardry in Minority Report.

Though we know Tom Cruise starring War of the Worlds[Trailer, must see], based on HG Wells sci-fiction, is set to release the summer of 2005, I can’t wait more to watch it.

Spielberg loves to quote, “The only time I’m totally happy is when I’m watching films or making them”. While he is turning 58 today, the movie lovers of the world would join together and wish him a filmy birthday. We don’t have to hope for better films from him. He loves the movies more than the movie lovers themselves.

Happy Birthday Spielberg!!

Happy Birthday Dude !! – Subramanya Bharati

Subramaniya Bharathyb
[Thanks to Thiru for the pencil sketch]

Last evening, after the office hours, me and a few of my collegues, unconsciously got into a conversation about Bharati. One of them had brought the Bharathiyar Kavithaigal to office and what started as an informal poem reading session ended up in a conversation of sorts on Bharati. Finally, we concluded that any amount of re-collection of his poems, forethoughts and writings will not substantiate Bharati. For he was always larger-than-life.

His birthday is being celebrated as a four-day Bharati Festival(starting yesterday) at Bharati illam, Thulasinga Perumal Koil Street, Tripilicane. This festival is a great way to remember the man behind these lines –

Ooyuthal Seiyom Thalai Saayuthal Seiyom
Unmaigal Soalvom Pala Vanmaigal Seivom
.