Dec 26, 2009

Star On-screen Performers 2000 - 2009

Another list of the Star On-screen Actors who debuted during 2000 - 2009

Hrithik Roshan – For sure, he made a dashing debut in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai before stealing the performance in Koi mil Gaya apart from appearing a zillion forgettable movies.

Madhavan – The boy next door in Alaipayuthey performed extra-ordinarily in Nala Damayanti (Ramji Londonwaley) and many other Tamil movies.

Vikram – An actor who was overlooked for most of the last decade, had a new lease of life in Sethu and excelled in roles including Pithamagan and Anniyan.

Surya – An unlucky actor last decade, found his luck in Khakka Khakka and Nandha before settling for ‘Vijay’ish roles in Ayan and Aadhavan.

Dhanush – For someone thin and un-heroic like him, this Kadhal Konden star has come a really long way.

Jothika – My favorite female star had eyes and expressions that could speak a 1000 words and she made the best use of it in many many memorable movies.

Katrina Kaif – Not my favorite, but she sure has lucky charm to make any movie she stars in a hit; just hope her acting gets better too!

Priyanka Chopra – Surely a star-performer including her roles in Fashion, Aitraaz and What’s Your Rashee?

Preity Zinta – Though she debuted during the last decade, she made her mark in an un-wed mother’s role in Kya Kehna and then made herself a worthy star with movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Salaam Namaste etc.

Kareena Kapoor – Will never call her a good performer except for Jab We Met, but she has survived this decade and is going strong!

Abhishek Bachchan – Probably another actor whom Mani Ratnam gets the best out of (Guru and Yuva).

Asin – Kalpana in Ghajini is probably one of the most chirpy characters in recent Tamil/Hindi cinema; hope she gets more laurels.

Konkana Sen Sharma – No one could have enacted her role in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer or 15 Park Avenue or Life In a Metro or Luck By Chance; she is a boon to Indian movies.

Ranbir Kapoor – Almost written off after a dud in Saawariya, he is now the pin-up boy after an extremely enjoyable Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani.

Emraan Hashmi – This serial kisser had good music and decent storylines in a few of his movies and made a mark.

Mallika Sherawat – Partially responsible for giving Emraan Hashmi a successful career; and no one can break the record 17 smooches on screen.

Star directors 2000 - 2009

Continuing with the list star performer this decade, here's a list of star directors who debuted during 2000-2009.

Rajkumar Hirani – For his Munnaibhai series which had a dose of message along with good humor, this director of 3 Idiots deserves a big applause.

Anurag Kashyap – For Black Friday, Dev D and Gulaal, all within a span of 3 years, this director has been a consistent experimenter; Indian cinema needs more people like him.

Ashutosh Gowarikar – Re-invented himself with Lagaan and went on to make Swades and Jodhaa Akbar before he faltered with What’s Your Rashee? (I loved the movie though!).

Sriram Raghavan – With Ek Hasina Thi and Johny Gaddar, this creative guy re-designed the genre of thrillers.

Shimit Amin – Surely needs to applauded for Ab Tak Chappan, Chak De India and more recently Rocket Singh.

Gautham Menon – Gave the real-life couple Jothika and Surya, a new lease of life with a fresh Khakka Khakka after giving a routine Minnale and before giving an honest Varanam Aayiram; looking forward to Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya.

Jeeva – This late cinematographer turned director gave a realistic Ullam Kaekume and a creative 12B before passing away while shooting Dhaam Dhoom.

Selvaraghavan – Though I have never seen his earlier movies including Kadhal Konden and 7/G Rainbow Colong, he sure will find a watcher in me for his magnum opus Aayirathil Oruvan.

Bala – I haven’t watched a single movie of his either, but he brought the actors in Vikram and Surya to the forefront.

Farhan Akhtar – His name will surely be etched in golden letters in everyone’s cinema diaries for his evergreen Dil Chahta Hai.

Madhur Bhandarkar – By giving realistic movies about the showbiz in Page 3 and Fashion, he has establishing a fan following amongst the cine-goers.

Imtiaz Ali – Socha Na Tha was his best, Love Aaj Kal was practical, and Jab We Met was chirpy; he showed one could say simple stories in a different way with hilarious dialogs.

Karan Johar – Though he came around in 1998 with Kuch Kuch hota Hai, he redefined family dramas with Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and also (falsely) showed the NRI families; turned into a successful TV host and a producer too!

Dec 25, 2009

Star Singers and Music Directors 2000 - 2009

While this decade 2000-09 was the time that I paid close attention to music, movies, and the trivia, there are many people that started off during this decade and have continued to excel in their respective fields. This list is not complete in any sense, and is just limited to Tamil and Hindi movie and music. I am just listing the names and a line about each of them, probably which catapulted them to a great position. I can probably write a blog about each of them. And no specific order as usual :)


Shreya Ghoshal – For her Dola Re to Jaadu Hai to Barso Re to her numerous Kannada melodies, she indeed was the queen of Indian music this decade.

Sonu Nigam – Though he sure was popular in the last decade, his popularity grew exponentially this decade, specially the title track of Kal Ho Na Ho and many Kannada songs brought him to the forefront in Indian music.

Harris Jayaraj – Entralled everyone with Vaseegara in Minnale (Zara Zara in RHTDM), and continues to do so occasionally when he doesn’t get repetitive.

Pritam – While his music being sourced from Korean/Malaysian music is a known secret, this man has carved a niche for himself in Hindi cinema and is unstoppable.

Himesh Reshamiya – For a nasal guy who braved to act, he has surely come a long way, with some foot-tapping numbers amidst noise.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy – The inimitable trio who started off just before the last decade ended, have redefined popular music by making it classy; and Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and many other albums are witnesses to that.

Vishal-Shekar – The duo behind quite a few wonderful numbers in the Hindi cinema including Tu Hai Aashiqui Hai and Om Shanti Om are not behind the trio either and excel in their own right.

Bombay Jayshree – The husky voice behind Vaseegara in Minnale (Zara Zara in RHTDM) was surely a welcome break from the sugary voiced female vocalists.
Yuvan Shankar Raja – Not exactly my favorite, but gave quite a few good numbers especially with the director Selvaraghavan.

Sadhana Sargam (in Tamil) – My favorite and will not be left of this list, got a big break in Snehidhane in Alaipayuthey with A.R.Rahman and went on to sing as many as 200 Tamil songs this decade apart from winning the National Aware and Filmfare Awards for the Best female Singer in Tamil. Quite an achievement for a non-Tamil singer.

Chinmayi – From Kannathil Muthamittal title track to Tere Bina and Mayya Mayya, and being a TV host, RJ and dubbing artiste, she’s made her presence felt well.

Dec 19, 2009

Two States

Accompanying me half way through my train journey over two states, this semi-auto-biographical novel 'Two States' by Chetan Bhagat was about his wedding with his South-Indian (read Madrasi) girl-friend with the consent of both families. Probably the first novel in a long time that I finished at one go, plus I am writing about.

Largely realistic, this novel starts off with the protogonist's life starting from IIMA and goes on to many cities including Delhi and Chennai. There are many instances that might irk the South-Indian reader in me (references to South-Indians and generalizing them), but he should be applauded for mocking at the typical Punjabi mannerisms and mentality, as well. This book clearly demonstrates, how an Indian marriage does not only take place between two individuals, but it is also the union of two families. This is handled really well, and I guess such writing comes only with real experience. Though based just 10 years back, the Indian society has changed a lot only in the past couple of years, and truly one needs to applaud the writer and his wife for braving through a lot of awkward situations.

A good light read and quick one too (I finished it in like 3 hours), but truly has all the essentials of a good movie - ample amount of romance, familial pressures, drama, comical encounters and more importantly, a touch of reality!

One thing that I really need to appreciate in Chetan's writing is the use of simple words that are used in day-to-day conversations (including the F-word) and this makes things easily relatable to. Though the father-son relationship becomes a little dramatic towards the end, I like the way the mother-son relationship including the taste of Punjabi greed is handled. Also, the money-thirsty nature of the protagonist (no offense intended) is also well showcased, the way the author apparently is in real life (in his own words). Also, the Tam Brahm situations are something that I see everyday in my family as well. Subtle references to IIT and IIM supremacy may not go down very well with the non-academic crowd, but will surely reach the audience it is targeted to.

Looking forward to read the other novel I bought - The Three Mistakes of my Life. May be on my way back! And also looking forward to Three Idiots, adapted from the author's Five Point Someone!

Chennai and me!

Chennai has always been a city that I could never relate to! I still don't know the reason why, but for a person from Bangalore who has never been in Chennai to appreciate living there, it has never been an impressive experience. Probably I might be wrong in saying so, since the places I visited such as the beaches, the temples and the VISA consulate were far far off from the 'happening' places.

The ever-crowded Ranganathan Street has offered a rich shopping experience to me, but not the same feel as shopping in a Bangalore store (I could probably liken it to Avenue Road shopping in Bangalore). And forget about the T-shirt section in those shops - do they even have some creativity in the wordings on those shirts? Lifestyle and stores in Spencer would definitely be better off though!

In addition, the food is something that all Tamilnadu restaurants fail on. Unlike the restaurants in Bangalore that offer you snacks and light meals throughout the clock, the restaurants I have been to in Chennai offer just meals during lunch. Any North Indian dish on the menu, is probably there just for the sake of completeness. And the world-famous Saravana Bhavan gave me such a disappointment, with no dishes on the menu except for their usual idli, dosa and uttappam.

Probably, Chennai has its share of warm people and good-natured ones! But, for a traveller who seeks good food and some happening atmosphere, Chennai failed miserably! I still love Coimbatore for that! Probably, I visited the wrong side of Singara Chennai! And probably I have been to Coimbatore too often :P

Un-noticed A.R.Rahman albums and songs

A post on largely unnoticed Tamil albums and songs of A.R. Rahman.

Anbae Idhu from Rhythm - This song depicting one of the elements of nature, sky was largely unnoticed. A song of sheer brilliance in terms of music arrangement, lyrics and rendition (except a few mis-pronunciations) was probably not picturised well and not shown on TV to make it popular among the masses. A classy song, and will always remain one of favorites.

I Miss You Da - This song probably features in an earlier post, but did people even know that this song existed? Too futuristic in terms of the music arrangement and the rendition, this song was probably the one well picturized song in the movie 'Sakkarakatti.' The singer and her alter-ego ooze passion into this song, and this song definitely deserved a better recognition.

Kaiyil Mithakkum and Nenjae Nenjae from Ratchakan were probably over-shadowed by the more popular Soniya and Chandiranai songs. One of the very few melodies that were rendered with a full heart by the singers.

Thigu Thigu from Ah Aah, just like I Miss you da had a futuristic feel to it, and a excellent instrumental arrangement, just to be ruined by a over-acting lead pair on screen.

Kadhal Vettukili from Parasuram was one song that I didn't know ARR had composed. One of the fast paced numbers and beautiful orchestration, was largely unnoticed yet again by the masses. Apparently, an RJ in Chennai plays this song often, since it is his favorite.

Kuliruthu Kuliruthu from Taj Mahal has such a wonderful feel to it, and the singers Swarnalatha and Unnikrishnan have done such a good job in this flawless melody.

Udhaya had a few good songs including the popular title track, but thanks to the delay in the movie release, the songs found a disinterested audience. Pookum Malarai is a wonderful track by Hariharan.

Not a comprehensive list as usual, but features a few of the missed ones. It's a nice thing to note that Mani Ratnam's songs have not found a place in this list. He somehow does just to the songs, though he might cut short a major portion of the song. This includes my ever-favorite Ay Hairathey Aashiqui in Guru, one song that I will never excuse Mani Ratnam for not picturizing completely.

Dec 7, 2009

Wake Up Sid! - A review

For a mind that needed some relaxation and a light movie to watch, I guess Wake Up Sid came as a refresher. Streamed on Netflix Instant Watch, I sat to watch it with no expectations (as always).

The character Sid was so close to relate to, especially with his happy-go-lucky nature and living on dad's money. I sure have done that, and I still am that way. Without having a clue of what to do next, the way he metamorphizes into a slightly responsible guy is portrayed so realistically. One thing that was praiseworthy was that, there was no drastic change in the guy's behaviour, while he begins working; he still is the same kid with some responsibility. A simple story, yet told in a such a beautiful and clean way. The relationship shown between the lead characters was a refreshing change. The college friends were definitely believable, and the best character in the movie apart from Sid and Ayesha, was the mother. A typical mom, who puts up with everything the son does, and greets him with a smile always. The father-son relationship in the end is shown so beautifully, and I guess this was better than the one shown in 'Bommarillu.'

Technically, the film was brilliant - amazing photography, locales, background and the music by the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. I am sure Iktara will be the top-ranked song of the year. Lovely melody and blends so well to the mood of movie. (Just read that Iktara was composed by Amit Trivedi - the genius who composed for Dev D!)

I was not a big fan of Ranbir prior to this movie, but I changed my opinion. He proves that star-kids can be good performers too. He is too natural in the role, and I doubt if anyone else would have suited the role better. Konkana Sen-Sharma is as always, at her best. She sure has a wonderful resume to boast of, and I guess this will be one of the movies in gold.

A movie that Karan Johar and Dharma Productions can be proud of (after their Dostana - which I despise), and something that the debutant director can show off even after 10-15 years, and I guess it will be contemporary.

I wish I watched it in a theater, but I guess now that it is on NetFlix Instant Watch, I will watch it often :)