Jun 15, 2007

SIVAJI - The movie - Review

SIVAJI..... I have no words to describe the movie. It's been ages since I have seen a masala movie that's been really entertaining. Be it the slow and insignificant first half or the fast paced and well shot second half, the movie SIVAJI : The Boss, definitely does justice to the name of Chevalier after whom the movie is named. There ends the relationship between the two. Also in the name of M G Ravichandran, there's an MGR who is really the surprise element. Rajini will be the only artist that could even carry off a totally shaven head with a style.

Rajinikanth had a nice exemplary show of his style skills and there were songs that were exclusively shot to showcase his style alone. Even though the style defies gravity and would make Sir Isaac Newton think about his law of gravitation, it entertained. At the end of the day, it is important that you get entertained by a movie, if not a message. And that is exactly the plus point of this movie and the USP of any Rajini movie.

The story is fairly simple and weak compared to Shankar's earlier movies. But this is a Rajini movie and he needs to make compromises on the plot. This movie seems to take off from the point where Shankar left in the 1993 classic Gentleman that starred Arjun. It is a proper concoction of Gentleman, Mudhalvan and Anniyan with ingredients picked uo in the right amount from each of the movies in the right quantity and served well with a main dish called Rajini. It is about an NRI, who wants to do service to Indians by providing quality education, good healthcare, jobs to educated and make even a small village prosper. We resorts to the whitening of Black money, after he is robbed of all his money by the existing corrupt system.

His love interest in played by Shreya. She doesn't have a big role in the movie as in other Rajini movies, but she definitely had more songs with him than in any of his recent movies. The actress Kanika apparently dubbed for her and it does suit her. (All other remarks removed due to change of mind, she does look vulgar in a few songs! She was exploited!)

Vivek plays the uncle of Rajini and is a fun to watch with his one-liners and his style. The first half was with him and Rajini trying to woo Shreya and her parents. The concept of Rajini trying to become fair, though illogical, did bring a lot of laughs from the audience. Nayanthara in the title song Ballelaka looked really slim compared to her Ghajini and Chandramukhi days. The villain role played by Suman seems intelligent in a few scenes, but villains always become an non-entity in Rajini's movies (except Padayappa). Raghuvaran is back as a doctor, and shows some life-saving trick that defies the rules of medicine. Raja and Uma Padmanabhan as Shreya's parents are a funny couple, so is the Solomon Paapaih's family. Vadivukkarasi and Manivannan are the usual Rajini's parents who support him in everything.

A.R. Rahman was another hero of the film and Shankar as usual with his extravagant sets, made the good songs also look great on screen. Vaaji Vaaji song with the Middle eastern and European theme was very well shot. Hariharan's Aambal and Mavvals were depicted by Rajini in his own style. Madhushree's voice deserves a special mention. Ballelakka was shot in a beautiful location and I really want to know where are such locales in India. Athiradee was filled with style and was really enjoyable. The Oru kudai sunlight had Rajini in the fair getup after his trysts with Fair and Lovely mixed in bleaching powder(Courtesy Vivek), and Saffron Milk etc.(It was apprently a skin grafting technique on video) Shankar as always has extravangant sets and this time I really understood why he has such extravagant set of existing wonders, probably to save up on the airfare and living expenses for the 100-200 background dancers. It is just in the Sahana song that there aren't many background dancers. But that was compensated by a glass house setting. However, Sahana song disappointed me, since I expected it to be in a landscape setting but it wasn't.

The clothes for Rajini designed by Manish Malhotra were something that Rajini shone brightly in. Especially the yellow kurta in the Ballelakka song was something that I liked apart from his clothes in Athiradee. His Jingchak (or authenic Jingucha) hairdoes and clothes in Oru Kudai sunlight seemed just apt for him and he didn't look made up in them at all(Rajni looked younger than in Chandramukhi, espcecially towards the second half. And his getups as Sivaji, MGR and Kamalhassan were amazing and it did seem that those star were on the screen.

Shankar's way of telling was good as usual, but since this a predictable fare, there were not surprise events or twists. Shankar's idealistic Indian town/city might be a thing of the distant future. But it did give a good feeling of seeing a prosperous city. I hope things like that really happen in the near future.

Overall, a total paisa vasool. It was worth the ticket.

More post on this soon........

SIVAJI - The movie - Preview

One word sums it all. Superstar......, no actor in the history of Tamil cinema or even the Indian cinema has ever had such an influence on the people, not just the commoners but the elite and the educated class. It is this guy Sivaji Rao Gaekwad, rechristened Rajinikant who casts a spell once in every 2 or 3 years with his movie. His movie 'Sivaji: The Boss' has been in the news since 2005 and is finally released all over the world. I am going to be catching the movie on the First day First Show here in Tempe, something that I've never done for a Rajinikant movie. It is a different feeling though, and I am beginning to get really excited about the supposedly 3 hr 10 mins movie.

Even though it doesn't star my favorite stars, I am happy that ARR the genius is a part of this movie and has excellent pieces. My personal favorites are Vaaji Vaaji, Sahana Saaral and Ballelaka. Chinnmayee has done wonders to the song Sahana Saaral Thoovudho, which is otherwise butchered by Udit Narayan(but to a lower extent). Her hummings at the end of the song is simply out of the world. It bears close resemblence to Ennuyir Thozhiye from Kangalal Kaidhu Sei. Vaaji Vaaji Vaaji en Jeevan Sivaji is sung really melodiously by Madhushree who is accompanied by none another than Hariharan who springs about Aambal and Mavval(whatever flowers they are). But her rendition of Azhagai Saniyida, instead of Azhagai Sanaiyida, makes me puke. Ballelaka being the opening song apparently has the ever enthusiastic SPB along with Rehaana. It has really authentic lyrics that would make any Indian outside India get the feel of India.

Shriya in the female lead is something that I am still yet to digest. I haven't seen her in too many movies, so wondering how apt she is for the role.

No idea of what the story is like. The story and the rest of it, will be something that I'll know in a few hours time......

Vaaji Vaaji Vaaji, En Jeevan Sivaji.............. Vazhga Sivaji

Jun 4, 2007


I usually write my own stuff in this blog, however non-sensical it is. But, it is this forward that made be think. A small kid tries to make another kid comfortable in his own right. Please read on. Thank you Ankur for sending this across.

The happiest people on this planet are not those who live on their own terms but are those who change their terms for the ones whom they love

My wife called, 'How long will you be with that newspaper? Will you come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?' I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter Sindu looked frightened.
Tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with Curd Rice. Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age.She has just turned eight. She particularly detested Curd Rice. My mother and my wife are orthodox, and believe firmly in the 'cooling effects' of Curd Rice! I cleared my throat, and picked up the bowl. 'Sindu, darling,why don't you take a few mouthful of this Curd Rice?Just for Dad's sake, dear.

Sindu softened a bit, and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. 'OK,Dad. I will eat - not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should...' Sindu hesitated. 'Dad, if I eat this entire curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?'...........Oh sure,darling'....'Promise?'... ..............'Promise'. I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine, and clinched the deal.

'Ask Mom also to give a similar promise', my daughter insisted.My wife put her hand on Sindu's, muttering 'Promise'. Now I became a bit anxious. 'Sindu dear, you shouldn't insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items.Dad does not have that kind of money right now. OK?'

'No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive'.Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity.

I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child eat something that she detested.After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation.All our attention was on her.............'Dad, I want to have my head shaved off, this Sunday!' was her demand.

'Atrocious!' shouted my wife, 'A girl child having her head shaved off? Impossible!' 'Never in our family!' my mother rasped.'She has been watching too much of television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!'
Sindu darling, why don't you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head.'

'No, Dad. I do not want anything else', Sindu said with finality.
'Please, Sindu, why don't you try to understand our feelings?' I tried to plead with her.

'Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice'. Sindu was in tears. 'And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for.Now, you are going back on your words. Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra,and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?'

It was time for me to call the shots. 'Our promise must be kept.' 'Are you out your mind?' chorused my mother and wife.
'No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honor her own. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled.'
With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful.
On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom.She turned around and waved. I waved back with a smile.

Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, 'Sinduja, please wait for me!' What struck me was the hairless head of that boy. 'May be, that is the in-stuff', I thought.

'Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!' Without introducing herself, a lady got out of the car, and continued,' That boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son Harish.He is suffering from... ... leukemia.' She paused to muffle her sobs. Harish could not attend the school for the whole of the last month.He lost all his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates.'Sinduja visited him last week, and promised him that she will take care of the teasing issue.But, I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son!
Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter.'

I stood transfixed. And then, I wept. 'My little Angel, you are teaching me how self-less real love is!'

Jun 3, 2007

Cart thieves

A Graduate student in US, who does not have access to a car to go to the nearby grocery store invariably struggles in carrying the couple of gallon-cans of milk, cola cans, juice cartons, watermelons, along with other stuff, back home. Most stores in Tempe with the exception of one, have magnetic sensors on their carts and do not allow you to take the cart outside the store's parking lot. So the one that allowed earned the blessings of the students, no matter how strong the FRAGRANCE in the store was. Until recently, we used to pick up things from a market that was open beyond midnight, the best time for us poor souls, and walk all the way back carrying them, or take a bus back home if it wasn't too late.

A year and half back, me and 'Dream' bought half the (store which is on a the Safest path) and not being able to carry the stuff, tried to lift the cart across the wall and miserable failed. This was a disastrous experiments and I vowed I would never try it again.

But, 'Laziness overcomes any vow'. Once me, ‘Dedicated’, ‘Browny, Yellow and Lord’ and ‘Devotional song’, were there and as usual swiped our credit cards away to glory (in the store on the safest path again). I tried an age-old tested experiment on the cart then, just for fun. I lifted the cart’s front wheels and just pushed the cart which stood on its rear wheels alone. The trick worked, the cartwheels were not locked by the magnetic sensor. I earned the praises of the people named above. It was an easier trip back home.

Not so long back the trio, without the lord went to shopping, but we made sure our vow of being frugal was followed, since our good employers hadn’t turned in our information to the HR and we didn’t receive a pay. ‘God bless the employers.’ Each of us took a cart to try the trick, and a shocking thing happened. The trick didn’t work. The cart wheels were stuck. But ‘song’ saw a unique thing. It was just the front wheels that were locked, that too only from in front. So she gave us the ‘Nobel Laureate’ idea of pulling the cart backwards. Even though it meant complicated handling, it did wonders to the cart, it did save us that day.

The accomplices in Cart 'Thallufying'

But the only hassle is that the front wheel tries to rotate and it can pose a serious problem to you pushing. However the ‘dedicated’ is now a master in pushing it with dedication. I would want to try it with the ‘Always Low prices’ store, if at all I don’t get a ride then.

PS: I didn't name the people that were involved in this mission, it is left your imagination to find them out. Also, we heard a police car approaching once, I did scare them we might land up in trouble paying $2500 for 'thallufying' the cart.