Dec 1, 2008

Irresponsible leaders

‘How much is too much?,’ says it all! The deputy Chief minister of Maharashtra said ‘such small incidents occur’. What thoughts was the Dy CM in while he made the statement? Such an irresponsible act!

Why on earth would a chief minister take his ‘naa-layak’ (good-for-nothing) son and a filmmaker along with him during the visits to the blast affected places? Cheap publicity was adopted by the politicians this time!

As Shobaa De mentioned in the Weekend Edition in IBNLive, we shouldn’t consider the sugar-coated statements made by celebrities at the Candle Vigils etc. We should face the problem, and none of the politicians are doing it.

Should civilians take up the responsibility and fight against it? It is after all the leaders elected by us that are holding the positions. We have held them responsible for the security lapse. Why do not the leaders realize that they are representatives of the people and serve people better?

The MNS led by Raj Thackarey was no where! It was the 'North' Indian soldiers who came and helped free the city from terrorists! The so-called action heroes who bash up thousands of thugs on screen, were sleeping with a pistol beneath their pillow. Why show such an image on-screen and leave an ever-lasting impression in the people's minds?

The South Mumbai MP, Milind Deora, made both responsible and irresponsible statements about accountability. But hopefully he doesn’t seem to be a run-of-the-mill politician, and is young too! We need people like him, young and daring to lead the nation.

I want to be a part of the change, in whatever way I can!

Mumbai burns.... yet again!

The Mumbai blasts have left an everlasting impact in the Indian mind and in the world as well. The blasts seemed so well planned that one wonders if the people behind this were given responsibility of doing good things, they would be adept at it as well. But sadly not all intelligent brains are utilized for the benefit of man-kind.

Much has been said about the lack-luster performance of the former Home minister and Maharashtra’s Chief Minister, but it indeed is a sad fact that this was a clear indicator on the negligence on part of the government, not paying heed to the intelligence reports.

While Mumbai as usual came back to near-normalcy the day following the blasts, the battle between the NSG commandoes and the terrorists raged on for close to three days. A lot of lives, including several officers from the forces were lost in the process. Mumbai, as one of my friends said, will never be the same again.

The media was quite adept in capturing the entire proceedings, while not trying cheap gimmicks. As Suhail Seth said in a discussion show on Times Now, the media worked towards a better cause this time.

One of the many incidents that touched my heart in this process was this one highlighted on IBNLive. There was this kid who with his parent was dining at one of the restaurants. He was in the restroom when the terrorists got in. The kid was rescued by one of the waiters and he ran out, to be rescued by one other kind-hearted soul who took the kid to his house. The kid was re-united with his parents later. The way the kid described the event was nothing but emotional. The rescuer Ritik said ‘I don’t know if I rescued the kid or if the kid rescued me!,’ which clearly showed his humane nature. Good to see that such people still exist in the world.

While I was on a trip to Utah, a lot of people around asked our group about the happenings in Mumbai. God only knows if they had heard of Mumbai earlier, but this surely brought Mumbai and India in the news again, but for wrong reasons!

May the souls of the departed rest in peace!

Nov 12, 2008

Kumble - A(nother) legend

A sensitive topic from me to write about this time round

It is about the retirement of the greatest leg-spinners of the world – Anil Kumble. I happened to see the finals of the Hero Cup way back in 1992 or 1993. It was then that my interest in cricket was beginning to show up. There was this one person who did exceedingly well in the then Calcutta. It was a person from my own city, my school supposedly and garnering national glory. Since then there was no looking back. If there was a reason for me to watch cricket, other than Sachin Tendulkar (then) of course, it was the strong Karnataka contingent in the Indian bowling squad. Srinath and Kumble were the two pall-bearers for the Indian bowling, later to be joined by Venkatesh Prasad. There were three others who did make a mark – Doddanarasaih Ganesh, Sunil Joshi and David Johnson, but were soon overshadowed by other bowlers.

Anil Kumble was a person that couldn’t be paralleled by, yet Shane Warne – another legendary spinner was probably the only person that he could be compared to at that time.

The two bowlers – Srinath and Kumble made me watch cricket, or in other words as in the Coca-Cola ad then – Eat cricket and Sleep cricket. The 1996 World cup in the Indian sub-continent was a showcase for them. I still remember the time I used to write captions from the ads then on my cricket bat, and stick the cricketers’ stickers on my bat. I used to think, these guys would play for India forever! How I wish it was true! I also happened to see him once for a school sports' day function. He was really polite and humble!

A 10-wkt haul is something that every bowler would dream of. But not many achieve it. This great spinner was the only one in 50 years to achieve it. His last test was at the same venue he achieved it, what a great way to wrap up an illustrious career. But the only disappointment was that he didn’t have a hat-trick. Also, I guess the BCCI pressure must have forced him to call it quits from the tests.

In lighter vein, for people who don't know him too, the Anil Kumble Circle (on MG Road near BRV) should strike a thought in their mind :)

Kumble's circket will be missed by everyone, and by one of the many fans who watched cricket solely for the competitiveness and by the people who played for the team and not for themselves.

(Incidentally, cricket these days doesn’t interest me much, after the match-fixing scandal and the neglect shown to the game by the cricketer’s after getting brand endorsements!)


Wide Angle By Anil Kumble
This entry is posted as a part of the Contest by

Nov 1, 2008

Mere thoughts

While another month draws to a close, I have not found time to write a blog this month at all, thought I have had quite a few topics to write on.
It was a good Diwali, a taxing month in terms of work, good weather in Tempe (alternately hot and cold), a not-so-healthy month for me!
Another blast in Assam - I pray for their souls to rest in peace!

Will post more soon!

Happy Halloween!

Kannada rAjyOsthavadha shubhAshayagaLu

Oct 1, 2008

Rest in peace!

As the month draws to a close, and looking back at September, it has been a sad month for India due to the bomb blasts in major cities. I sincerely pray for the blast victims and their souls to rest in peace. Also, the poor victims of the unfortunate stampede in Chamunda temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, let their souls rest in peace.

Sep 23, 2008

Good audio, bad video

It hurts to see songs really soothing to the ear, picturized in a non-imaginative way. Especially with the graphics taking over most of the background in the songs these days, it’s been long since one saw a natural picturzation of a good song.
The first one on my attack list would be the ever-refreshing – Kangalal Kaithu Sei, which was a gem of a sound track. But the bad picturization ruined it all, I will never forgive the artistes, choreographer, the director, and above all ARR for not having a peek into the video.

Now, the trailer of the Sakkarakatti (whose music I crave for, despite the very ordinary lyrics) shows another sad tale of a good music slaughtered badly in the video. The two minute clip on Youtube! (also echoing reactions from the audience) is such a sorry video again. The Chinnamma Chilakamma song in M. F. Hussain’s Meenaxi, though shot in a brothel, was picturized very aesthetically. But that is not the case of its Tamil counterpart, which looks like an 'ambulimama' song. The Taxi Taxi song, apparently re-shot to cater to the taste of the urban audience is still worse. I have no idea why there is such a sad end to these melodies. The only hope is on the picturization of Marudhaani, which should complement with the non-sensical lyrics – I hope the use of such lyrics is justified in the video.

Sep 5, 2008

Ganesha Chathurthi

Ganesha Chathurthi or Vinyaka Chathurthi or Pillayar Satthi - however you call it, is a big festival in India. Especially in the states of Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra it is indeed one of the biggest festivals, with huge idols of the elephant-faced lord placed all over the city, all month long.
In the past few years in AZ, I used to go to the temple and take part in their celebration also called the 'puja'. This time round, while I was vacation in the NE, I saw a Ganesha idol in one of the grocery stores there. I though, my good old AZ must have it as well, and let me see if I can celebrate the festival. Also a friend of mine called me over for the Gauri habba - the festival of Ganesha's mother. This gave me more motivation to do it different this time.

And there I went on to do the Ganesha Chathurthi at home, inviting a lot of people. It was a good one, and I felt happy doing it! I also made prasadham (kala channa sundal, vermicelli payasam, and aam vade)

Sep 1, 2008

A lazy holiday definitely helps!!!

For a not-so-outdoor person like me, a holiday indoors but away from the stress makes so much of a difference. Especially if it is in a much cooler city than the good-old Tempe, it is even better. Tempe apparently had thunderstorms and hailstorms, but I don't care since I was rejuvenating under the not-so-hot and not-at-all humid weather on the other side of the country.

This lazy five day holiday with relatives did help a lot in preparing for another semester of coursework, research and teaching. Hope to have another good semester! :)

Aug 23, 2008

More medals!

Two more medals in the Olympics!

For a contingent of 54 people, and the step-motherly attitude shown by the government and the people towards other sports, 3 medals is a great thing!

Great work by Abhinav, Sushil and Vijender! They have shown that in the country that eats and sleeps cricket, - these three stars wrestled, shot and boxed their way to the Olympic medal. Not only that, they probably worked their way against the ever-suppressing politicians who want athletes from their state to represent the country.

Good work by Saina and Akhil too, and hopefully their effort is recognised too!

Hopefully this is a great incentive to the uplift of other sports! While a cricketer gets a chance every 2-3months to prove his worth, these athelete get one in 2-3 years, like the Olympics, Commonwealth games and may be the world championships.

What more could the country have asked for in the independence day month? :)

Aug 17, 2008

Music still rejuvenates

An addendum to an earlier post about musical rejuvenation, or call it a sequel. The quality of Indian film music has mostly seen a downward trend these days, with most movies having soulless music, but there are a few movies with really good music. I list a few songs which I think are a class apart from the run-of-the-mill stuff.

A classical composition in Reethigowla raagam - Kangal Irandal from the movie Subramaniyapuram, is a sure shot on the list. Apparently the movie is refreshing too, so is its music. Two new singers with a classical background have made a big difference to this song. Takes you back to the good old feel of 1980’s (not that I know how it was!)

‘Ada – The way of life’ is a a long-delayed project of A. R. Rahman, and I feel it is the album of the decade with the class of songs varying over a decade. ‘Meherbaan’ by the Mozart of Chennai is a classic, and Gum Sum, a simple number is my next favorite.

The audio release of Ada was on the same day as that of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, I guess only Rahman can give two albums with different themes at the same time. Ada is a long-term classic, while Jaane Tu is an instant classic. One shouldn’t compare the two albums ever.

While I have written a lot of not-so-good things about the song Marudhaani in Sakkarakatti, this song along with all the other songs in the movie is my favorite. I miss you da is the best one, (even though people have mixed opinion about it) followed by Taxi, Chinnamma, and Elay. I am sure, I will have my girlfriend sing ‘I miss you da’ in the same cute way, or better – even cuter.

The title track of U, Me Aur Hum by Shreya Ghoshal and also by Vishal is one more of the good stuff in recent times, and surely suited the tempo of the movie as well.

The Konjum Mainakkale of 2008, ‘Mukundha Mukundha’ is something that made me wonder if Himesh Reshamiya had actually composed the song. A good devotional song sung by one of my favorites Sadhana Sargam, had a bad rendition on-screen with an over-acting Asin. A good work by HR, the lyricist and the singer too. Only if she had not sung Varam thaa as Varam dhaa, (at times I felt it would become Verandah :) ).

While all the songs in Jodhaa Akbar had good music, my favorite is In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein. Flawlessly rendered by Sonu Nigam and Madhushree, it indeed is a definite addition to the top romantic melodies of all time. And one more good thing about the movie is that all songs were picturized well in the movie (Hrithik in the state of trance in Khwaja Mere Khwaja was ……..)

Minnal Koothadum from Polladhavan is a good one too, with Bombay Jayshree giving her best again.

I also heard the songs from Dhaam Dhoom and Saroja, and am beginning to like a few. But not enough times as Sakkarakatti or Ada or Jaane Tu, to write about it.

As usual, ARR songs form a major chunk in this list. Plus, I am back to the habit of writing long blogs. Wonder who reads them though :)

Aug 15, 2008

Bangalore-SFO non-stop! Yeah!!!

How closer can I get to India than this?

I have been waiting for the non-stop Bangalore-San Francisco flight from Kingfisher, from the beginning of this year. It finally seems to be coming up, hopefully in time for my December trip :) !

Independence Day - In a home away from home!

A few years ago, while I was in school back in India, independence day would seem to be more than a holiday. A colorful day with a lot of performances by fellow schoolmates, speeches by invited guests and alike, and finally a rendition of the National Anthem in chorus.

This year, I took part in one, in a home away from home. A simple event, though well organized and well attended, it did fill up a big void in me, the one that – ‘said you’ve missed a lot in the last two years.’

The Indian Student Association at ASU organized this Independence Day celebration in the Secret Garden on campus, which literally was a secret garden. We had our own space for sometime, and our own crowd. The National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’, the National song ‘Vande Mataram’, and a patriotic song – ‘Desh mere’, were sung soulfully, and the event ended with distribution of sweets and snacks.

Happy Independence Day to everyone!

Aug 13, 2008

Cheer up!

Why do some days seem so unpassable?
Why am I feeling so low today?
Why do I think I have to please everyone?
Why should I be upset about something that can be fixed up?
Why do I brood about the not-so-good things, when I can happy about the many good things in my life?

Cheer up, life's short and shortcomings do happen! It lies in how smart you are to overcome them and sail through them.

(This one was meant to cheer myself up!)

Aug 12, 2008

Off Gmail for sometime

This afternoon, Gmail didn't work for quite a few users, and my chat list on Google Talk looked empty with the usual always-online people not around in the Virtual world.

And as one of my friends puts it - 'Everyone needs to take an off sometime!' :)

Aug 11, 2008

At last - Gold at Olympics!!!

Congratulations to Abhinav Bindra on winning the first individual gold at the Olympics. It is indeed a great achievement from the Indian point of view, and we hope to get more medals in the next few days...

Way to go - Abhinav Bindra!

Aug 5, 2008

Not for me!

Sadly, even though I found the Dark Knight interesting, it was definitely not meant for me. One line - 'you can't trust anybody these days, you have to do it all by yourself' was so funny, yet true!

The Dark Knight on its way to become the top grossers this year didn't find a fan in me.

Aug 3, 2008

One more...

It will be three years of my stay in the US, in a couple more days. I had a post about Two years and later, last year. I think things haven’t changed much since then. A link to that post

Aug 1, 2008

Are you Italian?

Sometime last week, when I was walking down the road from the bus stop to my apartment, I was stopped by a lady in a car. She asked me ‘Are you Italian?’. I am like, ‘In what angle do I look so?’, but trying to be modest, I said, ‘No, I am Indian.’ She said her second guess would have been that.

Coincidentally, India’s pseudo-head is an Italian. But does that make me look Italian?


Jul 31, 2008

The Dark Room

Just finished reading this novel ‘The Dark Room’ by R. K. Narayan. A simple story it is, however captures the different aspects of a housewife, right from being a good daughter, loving wife, responsible mother, and above all a self-esteemed woman. Unbelievably set in pre-independence era, the essence of the novel makes sense even to this day.

I need to look if any part of this novel was picturized for the TV series ‘Malgudi Days’.

It’s otherwise been a weak day for me, with me feeling not-so-healthy in the morning, but better off now though!

Jul 30, 2008

Cuil - Not so cool!

A Google-search of my name itself retrieves quite a few links pointing to me and my web-homes :) . But the new search engine didn't as many though.

It is not so consistent yet, but user privacy is protected, with no cookies stored to tag the user or IP address with the search.

But, it is surely going to be sometime before Google loyalists like me will trust Cuil for web-searches...

Jul 29, 2008

Twice bitten, thrice cautious!

With two blasts back-to-back, I am sure the police forces in India are taking no chances of a third attack. Kudos to the bomb detonators who are risking their lives, and helping to keep the country safe.

Co-incidentally, the title holds good for another thing on my mind too!
With the last two Indian movie outings disappointing me totally, I am now wondering if I should go to Super Star’s movie or give it a miss? The music of Kuselan hasn’t impressed me so much and the trailer is so cliched for a Rajni movie that I am wondering if it is worth all the hype.

I can still call it "Twice bitten, thrice shy!"

Jul 26, 2008

Blasts in Namma Bengaluru

A total of 9 blasts rocked Namma Bengaluru on 25th July, killing two of them. While the loss of life is not huge, it is still a soul gone for the nearest kin. Since the blasts occurred mostly in the places that I used to pass by or frequently visit when I was in Bangalore, it seemed unimaginable to even think of the consequences otherwise!

Hopefully the people behind the blasts are found and brought to justice, and peace returns back to the once-peaceful pensioners’ paradise Garden City.

May the soul of the departed rest in peace!

Jul 23, 2008

When Penn became Pin…

Back to my usual topic concerning film music! Sakkarakatti does have its share of soul-stirring and foot-tapping numbers. But a few unpardonable slip-ups of the music director and the singers make the listening sound really funny at times.

Reena Bharadwaj, the lady best remembered for the masterpiece ‘Yeh Rishta’ in Meenaxi, and also for ‘Baba Kichu Thaa’ in Baba, is inexcusably bad in a few segments of the Tamil rendition of her masterpiece. She gets quite a few tough words right, while messing up easy words. The most noticeable being ‘Naan epodhu Penn aanen’ becoming ‘Naan Epodhu Pin aanen,’ – translating into when did I become a pin (instead of a lady). My friend Harish replied saying ‘eppo ATM card vanthutho appove PIN ayiten apdinu reply pannanum’ – ‘You should reply as ‘I became one, when I got my ATM card itself.’

Now coming to the other song by Madhushree – MarudhaaNi, which explicitly became Maruththaa nee at times, and ‘adi podi deepali’ became ‘atti potti deepali’. When the singer does such a great job with her voice, these errors can be ignored. But probably professional help with Tamil diction will help in the long run, especially in the times when North Indian singers win awards for songs in South Indian languages.

Anyways as I said in a previous post, it is not that my Tamil/Hindi is all that great, that I have authority to comment on these singers. But just a small sorrow (china varuththam) that the songs would have reached greater heights with better diction.

YouTube links for the songs:
MarudhaNi -
Naan Eppodhu -

Jul 21, 2008

World's largest democracy... But...!

Probably my first politics-related post. I have always chosen to write on food, music, movies and other trivial stuff. While the rising political temperatures in India definitely make this a good topic to write on, I am really pained at the sad state of affairs in the Indian political system. This is not a post that is biased towards any single party, but biased towards the people of India ourselves.

An avid follower of the Indian democratic politics since 1996, the time the coalition politics began playing games with the country’s men and within the county, I have always wondered how being a politician, one can change stances for both monetary benefit and promise of position. An elected representative however greedy one can be, needs to look back into the faith a common man has put in him and voted for him, favoring him over his rivals. This time round when the Dr. Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is facing the trust vote over a proposition regarding the nuclear deal, it is indeed really disappointing to see the members of parliament (MPs) bargaining for a ministerial berth or post of a chief minister in order to vote for the government, in order for it to not tumble. The rates that are going per MP almost touched Rs. 25 crores ($5.8 million) and now it has reached a Rs. 100 crores.

While the hard-working tax payers money is going into the ruthless (I couldn’t think of any other word, though it doesn’t fit well into the context) MPs pocket, one really thinks if it is worth the cause while there are just 10 months for the next National polls. Even though the elections are a burden on the national exchequer, it is not that the elections are far off. Instead of bribing these greedy MPs, one could as well seek a fresh mandate from the ever-confused people (which includes me as well). But in the past 12 years, we have issued a fractured mandate, hence the rule of coalition politics is here to stay, whether we like it or not.

If the BJP-led NDA supports the nuclear deal, it should vote for the government, as a healthy opposition. It does see benefits in the deal, but just for political gains, the NDA is opposing the government. Let’s hope for a turnaround of events, with the NDA voting in the UPA government’s favor, just in the people’s interests in mind.

While, quite an argument has been made about changing the way politicians think of public money, it is best for them to put themselves in the shoes of a common man who works all day, six days of a week, and the struggle he puts in to earn a happy meal for him and his family. Till a realization strikes these mostly-uneducated breed of political gainers, one cannot hope for a reform in the way the Indian political system works. While youngsters, they say can make a difference in the way it works, who lets them work the way they want. Either it is made sure that their political career ends even before the election itself, or their life itself is cut-short.

Lets hope for a brighter tomorrow, with the politicians (we people ourselves) thinking in the interest of people, than in our own interest, our nation would not only be the largest democracy, but the best too!

Jul 16, 2008

Cute moment in Jaane Tu, Music of Sakkarakatti and Tempe rain

In the movie Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, there was a really cute moment. While Genelia asks, 'How did the 5 years of college pass by so quickly?', the mother is quick in saying 'Phone pe beta!' (On the phone!). So very true! Be it the not-so-far times when we used landlines or now when we have the cellphones, I guess most of the time after college goes in phone calls :)

The new ARR album 'Sakkarakatti' sounds refreshing, with tunes set in a futuristic way, however the Tamil rendition of the two of the singers in their respective songs is not so good. While they have sung it really well, they should have paid more attention to their pronunciation. Since I am not a great speaker of Tamil, I have no qualms about listening to the songs the way they are. Benny Dayal and Chinmayi are two singers who have utilized their potential to showcase their talent. Hats off to both of them. Even the Chinnamma song from Meenaxi which is reused in this movie sounds very different. I miss you song, reminds one of so many things :)

It poured in Tempe last Sunday, for pretty long. Long enough to flood the roads and probably a few apartment complexes.

Jul 11, 2008

Weather, iPhone, ARR and Jaane Tu

While its been an amazing morning here in Tempe/Scottsdale, I found yet another reason to blog. My workspace at TGen (the place I am interning this summer), has a beatiful view of the Scottsdale hills. This is where quite a few of the million-dollar houses are lodged, safely atop the hill. The not-so-high mountains have clouds (or should I call in fog in Indian English) covering them up and it is a real beauty to watch. It is more like how Kudremukh (in Karnataka, India) used to be on most days of the year. I cannot liken this weather to my good old Bangalore weather, since it is very humid. But as long as the sun is not out, I have no reason to complain.

And today is the release of the iPhone 3G, something that I wanted to get badly, but thanks to the service providers illogically high data plan, I might as well stick to my Nokia 6682 till its contract ends. Or in other words, (as singer Chinmayi puts it in her blog) - iPhone, (i) didn't go, (i) didn't see, (i) didn't get conquered.

Its also the release of ARR's Tamil album - Sakkarakatti, and am looking forward to see how my favorite 'Yeh Rishta' (Meenaxi) sounds in Tamil.

Also, I am finally going to watch 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' today. It didn't get released here in Tempe last week :( . Hoping the movie is as refreshing as its reviews. And, as I told someone - I haven't really lived my youth in a long time, hopefully I do it today! Hope there are not very high expectations :)

Jul 1, 2008


The recent big movie I watched (see the review two posts below) didn't live upto the expectations of the people. So someone came up with a description of the subtle aspects of the movie which are supposed to be appreciated while watching the movie. these finally justify the Chaos theory, and the 'pattambuchi' effect.... OMG! As it is, I took so long to recognize a few of the characters as the universal hero himself! In addition to that, if someone ask me to think about the hidden aspects and the subtle details, what do I do? But curiosity has got better of me, and reading a forward sent by one of my friends, I want to watch the movie again, and see if the subtle details given were so obvious... If so, I would re-review the movie!

Connections – I live there too!

I once complained that I spend half my life waiting for connecting flights. The good old airline of India has such a dubious distinction of making me wait at the Mumbai airport for 10 hours (actual waiting time for the connecting flight is 4.5 hours), every time. The connection is usually so late, that I also miss my other connecting flight in LA, and am made to wait for a few more hours.

All of these hours spent in waiting for a connection put together, at times turns out to be more than the travel time itself. I could have at least stayed home for a few more hours, instead of spending time at an airport, with nothing to do.

Now, my life has taken another turn, with me waiting for connecting buses too! The Valley Metro system is excellent, no complaints about it at all. But, the place I need to go to is sooooooooo faaaaaaaaar off, and the connecting bus is once an hour. A kind soul (colleague) takes me with him in his car usually. But the past week (while he was gone on vacation) was such a pain. But going by bus last week made me learn the cross streets of Scottsdale as well. I am pretty good with the road map of Tempe and Chandler, and now can add Scottsdale to that list too! Probably, I have slowly grown into a ‘nadamaadum’ GPS (walking GPS)!

Luckily, my best partner, my Sandisk MP3 player was with me all the time, and gave me good company. What would I do without you???

Jun 17, 2008

Dasavatharam Review

I was not too sure, if I actually had to write this review. I just didn’t want to think about the movie again. Not that it was all that bad, but I would say it would be one of the not-so-memorable movies of the ‘Universal Hero.’

Dasavatharam – literally translating into ‘ten incarnations’, seems more so like a fancy dress competition, the different masks make it even worse. It is Kamalhassan in ten roles, and not all of them make a mark.

At the all new Cinemark movies, I saw this one with a lot of friends, and also with no expectations.

The first fifteen minutes of the movie set in the 12th century was really spectacular. If the movie had maintained the same pace and narration, it would been a better movie. But, in the end it seemed, why there was a need for this segment of the movie.

The storyline is simple – there is some bio-weapon under development, which needs to be stopped by going into the wrong hands, and it travels all the way to India. The scientist behind the development, Kamal also travels, only to meet many other Kamals who are different characters in the movie. Finally, while the bio-weapon is all set to cause destruction, the divine intervention (OMG, am I using all these words?) causes the Tsunami, thus combating the effect of the weapon.

If Kamalhassan had concentrated more on the story than on the ten roles, I am sure we would have seen a better product. I am sure the director KSR had no role to play in the movie, other than dancing for the last song as an item boy :).

Now speaking of the good things – three of the roles stay in your mind for a long time. The first person set in the 12th century, the police officer who speaks five languages in Telugu (someone said this was one of the Kamal’s best characters ever), and the ‘padikadha medhai’ – illiterate scholar. The ex-CIA agent seemed to be the most irritating character. I somehow like the Dr. Bush character for its right depiction of the ignorance.

The second half seemed to be gripping for 45 mniutes, and after that it was all lost. Especially, the Punjabi singer’s song was so unnecessary. But it came at the right place, and served as the interval for us poor souls, who sat through the movie without a break.

The tsunami scene was very well shot and did show most of the impact, mostly through graphics though.

Mallika Sherawat should probably be thanked for her little and insignificant on-screen time. Asin was irritating, with her just screaming of ‘perumale’, every two minutes. Luckily, there was no romance shown between Asin and Kamal till the very end. Thank the perumal, who spared us from a duet between the two of them.

Speaking of music, Himesh had no role in the movie, with 3 songs having the screen time and none of them being memorable. Devi Sri Prasad’s background score was better than expected.

Speaking of the ‘memorable’ scenes:

One Thanglish scientist in the lab saying ‘Thamizh’la sollanum na, adhukku paeru NaCl’.

George Bush saying – ‘Well, if it is complicated, don’t bother to explain’, ‘What is NaCl?’

The doctor saying – ‘Even the surgery would not have been as careful as the bullet, in removing the cancerous growth which was so close to your throat.’ OMG, give me a break from this one! Or was it a spoof towards Superstars movies.

Kamal saying – ‘Every one of us has a ulaga nayagan (Universal Hero) in them.’ OMG, would we be seeing 1 billion Kamals in the next movie.

Well, we must congratulate Kamal on achieving the record of putting together 10 Kamals on screen. He did what he wanted. Now it is the turn of the audience to approve of his effort or reject it.

I would give it 3 out of 5 for its concept but not-so-well presented content, and a 5 on 5 for its technical superiority. The music – not even worth grading!

Jun 13, 2008

Tamil Radio

For those who crave for Tamil Radio, here is a good source and it is FREE and legal too! (Sorry, for some reason a hyperlink was not formed. Click on the title of the blog 'Tamil Radio' to go to the page)

I particularly like the show Rahmaniya, which is so obvious. I try to listen to Chinmayi's Aahaa Kaapi Club in the evenings (morning in India)too, but forget to turn it on at most times :( . Probably recording it and listening to it in the morning would be a good idea.

It's been there for a little more than one year apparently, and I get to know of it NOW!!!

Looking good - for good!

In the past few weeks, people have noticed a change in my looks (read hairstyle). It's far different from the orange-headed frame with all the hair falling on it. While this look brought in confidence (read attention), I really wonder if it is such a big deal.
Probably, I will learn to enjoy the confidence (attention) in some time, or maybe people won't even notice it after a while :)

Jun 12, 2008

Dr. Without hardwork - Excuse me!

While writing my previous blog on Dasavatharam, I thought if I should write Dr. Kamalhassan or just his name. A student who has finished medicine or a student who has finished PhD, are usually addressed as Dr. so so, which is not wierd at all.
However, the concept of honorary doctorates is what puzzles me. Started at a US university, many decades ago, it is now being conferred at almost every university, be it in India or elsewhere. A person who has done enough service to mankind, or accomplished something that not many have achieved deserves it. The great Mother teresa would took care of the needy deserves it. A person like the Mozart of Madras would deserve it for bringing in such a change in the field of Indian film music.
But things have slowly changed, and a movie star would acts only in remake of other language movies, or acts only in hit comedy movies, or someone who gave 5 hits in a rows DOES NOT deserve it at all. One of the exceptions is that the remake Raja does a lot of social service, and he probably deserved some recognition in that front. But in most cases film stars getting a honorary doctorate is not an achievement at all. It might be done by some nameless university to get popular.

(This is not in disrespect to Dr. Kamalhassan at all! I respect him and he rightly deserves such a honor, at least for making a wonder called Anbe Sivam)


It was Sivaji last year at this time, and this time it is the other legends 'Dasavatharam.' Dasavatharam is the name given to the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu in Hindu mythology. But now, the thing is about Kamalhassan (or should I say Dr. Kamalhassan) and his 10 roles in this movie.
Hyped to the max, I feel it is going to be a really good or really bad movie. But for the efforts that have gone into the making of this movie, I feel it shouldn't go wrong this time for Kamal.
The movie has a song 'Mukundha Mukundha' which sounds like Konjum Mainakkale, but has grown on me...
I will be watching the movie, but not the first day first show though. It is not at the usual Tempe Cinemas where we watch the Indian movies here in Tempe. Hopefully it is a better theater :)

Will be back with a review of it as soon as I watch it!

May 23, 2008

Konjam Jabber, Konjam Sense!

While it has been eternity without a significant post on this blog, I wonder if I have been so pre-occupied to be active on the blogosphere. Well not really, but quite a few other things have kept me busy.

While the ever-cribbing part of me, still complains about the Tempe weather as usual, today has been such a different day. Not so long ago, I wanted to see a day in Tempe which would remind me of my good old Bangalore. My wishes were granted, and here it is, a day with constant drizzle, and all gloomy (not a good day for photographs).

Bangalore weather has always been like that, never have we seen a rainy season when it would rain heavily at once and stop. The drizzle would go on and on and on, day in and day out. The dampness in the air could be felt for days together, and not to forget the dampness in the clothes :) . Thoranams of ever-wet clothes (to hang clothes to dry) would be tied all over the house, with the housewife always saying ‘it’s been ages since the sun came out.’ Especially in a house with kids, the white canvas shoe will always be stained with wet mud and the like, and to wash it, the kid or its mother would never dream of, for it would take forever to dry.

I have forever loved to get wet in the rain, but my ‘very healthy’ immune system doesn’t permit me, though I have done it almost every season. While getting back from school, sitting as a pillion rider on my mother’s vehicle, I have had a zillion rain coat covering me, and more importantly my book, but not my face :) . The splash of the rain drops is something out of the world.

While here in the US (specially Tempe), it practically doesn’t make a difference when it rains, since it is just once in like 3-4 months that you have a short drizzle. And I get to know of that only if I step out of the house/lab. A couple of moments relief from the HIGH temperature is something that the rain brings along, and this week it surely did. A raging 110 F to soothing 65 F. Wow! That’s a huge drop!

At this time, the best song to listen to is Chinna Chinna Mazhai Thuzhigal from En Swaasa Katrey, and obviously Barso Re from Guru.

Apr 2, 2008

Another Fool's Day with Google

After Google had the TiSP and the paper Gmail last year, this year they came up with Gmail Custom Time (, where you'd set the time of the email you send. This sounds ridiculous, however pretty interesting too. Specially in the grad life, when our lives totally run on deadlines, if only there was a way to turn the clock back :) . I felt it was a hoax, and it indeed is.

(Not so...) Good work, Google!

Mar 12, 2008

Spring Break!

Having been in school for almost two and half year now, the Spring break seems to be a real 'BREAK' from the otherwise long and hectic Spring semester. The three long weekends in the Fall semester make it so well-spread out, however the same cannot be said about the Spring semester for it's week-long break. However, it is better than nothing at all! It would ultimately end with a mid-sem crisis, especially for those flooded with assignments and exams right after the break.

For me, it was a trip to Detroit and Chicago during my first one in 2006. Last year (2007), it was a mere relaxing one at home, with a few visits to school and lab. It was more of shopping too! This year, as of now there haven't been any plans yet, other than reviving my research, apart from working on the projects in my two courses. However, my plan of sleeping 8 hrs a day during the break is working fine! Plus, atleast half a movie a day! (I enjoy watching movies by spreading them over 3-4 days. My record has been a movie watched over 18 days, Thiruda Thiruda! I so forgot the story that I had to start from the same point almost 3 days in a row. But I watched it again in Dec 2006, this time non-stop).

Spring is a that time of the year, when Tempe becomes unassumingly pleasant, with the temperatures in the 60-70's. This reminds me of the Bangalore weather around the same time, which would be filled with some miscellaneous showers (especially in April). Hence, spending the Spring break at home, without the noise from the AC/Heater is a good thing to do too! And to top it all, listening to music from my music system.

Spring break is also the time, I try to cook something good at least once. However, it hasn't happened this time yet, partly due to my loss of interest of cooking (or should I call it lack of interest). But, I am sure, I will cook once for the newly wedded folks who are just back from India.

This time round, I also did some shopping in Target, Walmart, and Sunflower market (I love the place) for some good junk food! And also at Lee Lee's and Little India. I got my ever-favorite Murukku's, Banana chips and Marie biscuits :)

Clothes shopping (for myself) in the US has never interested me, though I buy things for people back home. Is it due to the plethora of clothes that I brought from India, this time around, or just the Made in India, Honduras, Vietnam labels that hinder a otherwise-relentless shopper to shop clothes? It happened this time too, when I saw good stuff in Target and Walmart, but also saw a Made in India/Vietnam label on them.

For those fortunate ones having a nice time out of Tempe (or your respective university town), Have a nice time, wherever you are!

Mar 2, 2008

Shauk Hai

Kaash ye zindagi Khel hi khel mein kho gayi hoti... - How true? If only life were a child's play....

This has been one of my Google talk status messages in the past few day. It's from a track from the movie Guru called Shauk Hai. I made a mention of this in one of my earlier posts. But I felt the need to put down an entire blog in dedication of the song itself....

A subtle one, featured on Vidya Balan mainly in the movie, did not make it to the audio CD's or Cassettes, but did come out in a A.R. Rahman Special MP3 cd by Sony. A heavenly voice, Soumya Raoh, breezes through this song and the picturization of the song fits in well in the movie.

It's one of ARR's simplest songs ever, mainly accompanied by keyboard notes. The interlude 2:36 - 2:57 is ARR at his best. The song never fails to grow on me, and I am tempted to repeat the track several times, each time I hear it. The 'subah ki roshni' has a nice outburst, proving that ARR is a musical genius once again.

I could go with a lot of adjectives for this one - soft, gentle, subtle, tender and so on.... but nothing could capture the entire essence of the song.

At times, I feel that the song did not get enough attention as the other songs in the movie. But, I am sure there is a silent majority that loves this song. There is no full video on this one, as in any Maniratnam movie, it appears in parts. However Youtube does have a remix video, which doesn't have the same feel though (makers of the video, kindly excuse me).

And some kind souls put up their versions of the English translation of the song up on the web. Though, I read them, 'kavidhai variyin suvai, artham puriyum varai' doesn't hold hold in this case, since I come up with a new thought everytime I listen to this song....

Mar 1, 2008


Got it in one of the many forwards I get:

Today is the 29th of Feb....the '366th' day or leap day in the year.

Your yearly salary is based on 365 days in the year therefore we are all working for nothing today.

So please.....slow down, relax, and take it easy.

Cute! :)

Feb 11, 2008



I am back to blogging after a considerable amount of time. I finally gave my PhD qualifier exam in November and am now qualified to do PhD research. Though, it was smooth sailing all way during the presentation and question session (was there one?), it was indeed a testing time for me!
Done with the qualifier, I proceeded to make a trip to India. I got my tickets on December 1st, when my trip was on the December 5th. I did some hurried but good shopping and left for a vacation of 6 weeks. Surprised my parents by landing a day earlier :)

Was on travel most of December, apart from working on a couple of workshop papers. Places that I traveled to were:

Dec 9-11th: Mettupalayam, Coimbatore, Namakkal, Nagayanallur (family deity), Pillayarpatti, Kunrakudi and Pudhukottai

Dec 16th Chandravana (near Srirangapatna, Mysore) - Dec 16th (after working on a workshop paper due 15th)

Another workshop paper was due Dec 22nd but got shifted to Jan 5th, thus paving way for a long-awaited trip to South Canara

Dec 21 - 25 - Horanadu, Kudremukh, Shringeri, Agumbe, Kollur, Murudeshwar, Gokarna, Katilu, Idugunji, Udupi, Ujire, Subramanya, Coorg, Virajpet, Kushalnagar, Mysore... phew long list :)

Dec 28- 30 - Vellore Golden temple, Chennai, Pondicherry, Melmaruvattur

And ended 2007 with style with dinner in Roti Ghar.

I was home all January till Jan 20th, except on Jan 9-10 when I made a trip to Coimbatore and Mettupalayam again to enjoy a ride on the Inter-City express (now Ernakulam express). A blog on that coming up soon.

Got back to Tempe on Jan 21st, MLK day, and back on schedule :)

I traveled by Singapore Air, and by far I feel its services are the best any airline could offer. It was a nice trip both ways with me watching Kireedam, Partner, Sivaji, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom apart from a few French and Italian movies. Amazing food too!

I couldn't have asked for a better reward than a vacation of 6 weeks :)

With my pocket lighter by several thousands (of $$$$'s , of course), a prospective trip during Spring break seems to be on cards. Let's see how things shape up.

Lots of food during the India trip and got back a lot here too..... Plus a lot of exta pounds on me (really?)....

Taking two courses this semester, apart from a seminar and the usual teaching :)

Need to go a long long way into the semester.......... Just 4 weeks of class over!

Got a DVD player :), to watch the zillion movies I got on VCD/DVD's in India, Thanks to Moserbaer for making the VCD/DVD prices hit rock bottom. However, piracy is still so rampant.

Tempe has been very cold, but the sun has begun to surface out.... Stay there sun, atleast until Spring break... or till May (like last year!).....

Should, I retitle the blog as "Back to the grind!" ????