9.30.2005

Ghajini - Review

Hollywood inspirations are nothing new to Tamil cinema. But what we people expect is a nice adaptation of the original with a screenplay that fits to our land. Inspirations have its limit. There is no harm if a creator takes up an interesting premise of a Hollywood movie and makes it into an interesting screenplay that fits our audience. But a scene by scene replica is a sin. I hope A.R. Murugadass has not committed that sin considering the all usual masala stuffs loaded in a right way in this movie.

Ghajini is one such interesting inspiration of a Hollywood movie “Memento” (I haven’t seen the movie, but read the softcopy of its screenplay). The lead character, his purpose of revenge, his short memory loss disease and the methods he tries to remember everything is the elements taken from the original. Around this character, Murugadass has woven a logical and convincing screenplay.

Sanjay Ramaswamy is a one of the richest person in India. He falls in love with a girl Kalpana, a model. They both love each other. Unfortunately due to a clash with a local rowdy, Kalpana gets killed in front of Sanjay. Also Sanjay gets a big blow on his head while trying to protect Kalpana but ends up in getting this disease called Short term memory loss.

It is a usual revenge story told in an unusual way. The story picks up in a top gear from very first frame and maintains it till the end. The way love develops between Sanjay and Kalpana is told in a hilarious manner. The characterization is Kalpana character played by Asin is the major highlight of the movie. She is so bubbly, loving, caring, witty, spontaneous and lively. It is this strong build up in those love making sequences makes the revenge measures taken by Sanjay believable. The screenplay as always moves back and forth but is not confusing. The director makes it clear to the viewers about the disease and what Sanjay is able to and not able to do in the very first episode through a doctor and Nayantara (a medical student). Actually when I recollect now I don’t remember the sequence in which everything happens and I am struck up at a point, how he got there, how he escaped from there, how de he find him etc., That is mainly because hell a lot of things happens in the movie. But while watching you won’t get confused for sure.

There are some scenes to show that Kalpana (Asin) has a very kind heart. While watching each of these scene involving her, I would expect it be a cliché but will end up as a fresh idea. Yet director could have definitely avoided that clichéd lines “ivaru ippa enga enna panikkittu irakkaro” to introduce Surya. Nayantara too have a very important role. Actually it is her character which takes the movie forward at many stages. This role would have been much better if it was not Nayantara. She is not visually believable as a student. Anyway she is kind of okay. It is relieving to see two heroines in a movie getting a meaty role.

There are some jerky moments here and there. Beware of it. There is lots of edge of the seat thrilling moments in the movie. All those scenes are composed well with enough punch. The suspense about Kalpana’s death is well maintained all through and when revealed we are convinced with the reason. It is very clear that Murugadass has tried to make an offbeat commercial entertainer considering the songs. The songs are picturised well and placed at right spots in the narrative though none of them is necessary.

The big minus of the movie is its climax. There is a long fight sequence which goes over board. Instead of concentrating on matrix kind of stunts, there should have been more emphasis on the psyche and emotions of Sanjay’s character in the climax as it was in Pithamagan. The end just lacks punch.

Surya is maturing everyday as an actor. This movie takes him one step ahead. He is convincing both as a Rich man and a strange patient. His body language for both the characters is completely different and most importantly he doesn’t remind Alavandhan even in a single frame. If not for anything, one can watch this movie only for Asin and her performance. She fits the role to T. Kudos to Murugadass for etching such a role and making her to perform this well.

“Oru malai” and “Suttum vizhi” still lingers. But Harris Jeyaraj’s background score is as always horrible. I don’t when he is going to come out of this chorus shouting something in some strange language for all action sequences. He is repeating it continuously for the third time after Anniyan and Thotti Jaya. R.D. Rajasekar needs a special mention for giving a rich look to visuals. Editing by Antony is trendy and crisp.

So after a series of bad to worst movies, “Ghajini” is for a sure a relief. Go and watch it. It is worth every penny of yours.

9.29.2005

Love Story - Erich Segal

Love is an emotional gravitational force that binds the people in the universe. So many love stories have been told before and a lot of them are still in making but yet we don’t feel bored of the reading the same stuff again and again. Love is such a universal emotion that is so natural for every living being which makes the job of authors easy to make the people empathize with his protagonist.

“Love Story” by Erich Segal is one such novel which tells the tale of the most ordinary love story between a rich boy and a poor girl. The book is such a big success may be because of the date it was released first. I don’t think such normal down-to-earth, boy-meets-girl, they fall in love, parents oppose, run away and marry, struggle to face the harsh reality, mutual sacrifices, financial struggle, one of them suddenly getting a strange disease that takes them to death bed in no time, and the other takes care of him, and finally the lady dies leaving behind loads of memories for the gentle man which he can think and sob every other night, will work in present situation.

But this book in spite of being such an ordinary love story works mainly because of the characterizations, the complexities in the relationships (Barrett and his father), some smart description of psyche of the people involved in the episode, I-bug-you-and-you-bug-me nature of every other character in the novel. But I won’t definitely say that it is a great book. There is nothing new in the content. You can almost predict what happens next may be because we had read and seen lots of such love stories before though this book came before what we have seen and read.

The book moves in a steady pace and takes us in a journey through various emotions but finally lands in a serious path and makes us feel for Barrett who is going to loose his beloved. It is this make-you-feel-for-Barrett thing in the narration is the reason for its success. Anyway go for it, it will take less than two hours to read it. It is entertaining and quite moving but I won’t say it is too emotional and moving that makes the reader sob as quoted by various critics of international magazines.

9.27.2005

Paheli For Oscars !!!!!!!!!!

After some very bad choices for national awards for Films, here follows yet another choice that surprise the entire indian film industry. Paheli which was unanimously rejected by both critics and masses has been selected as India's official entry for Oscars. Though i feel there are no any real contenders with Oscar potential this year, Paheli is a pathetic choice. Though we know no indian movie is going to make this year in Oscars, atleast we should exhibit right movies to the global audience to make them aware what really Indian movies are. Probably that is the reason the jury has selected this movie which talks about long forgotten (believing in the cover stories in the previous edition of India Today and Outlook) culture, tradition of India with colourful song sequences mixed with fantasy. Among Black, Iqbal, Mangal Pandey, Page 3, black is my choice. What aobut you?

9.24.2005

Life is Puzzle. Crack it after Death

“Five People You Meet in Heaven” is a philosophical fiction written by Mitch Albom.

The novel is about Edward an ordinary maintenance worker in an amusement park who had dullest of life possible (as he thinks so) without much of adventure and celebration till the end. All his dreams remained dreams. But the book says that even in such a hopeless life, there are lot of thrills, surprises, twists and turns. After Edward reaches heaven, he meets five people who crossed his life or whose life he has crossed and learns five lessons. He sees his own life from a different perspective. In the heaven, he gets answers for all the questions that he had in his mind while living on earth.

The book is really unique in all the way. The story, the presentation, the thoughts and the structure of narration are very unique. Especially the first 10 pages which describes what happens in 50 minutes, just before Edward dies is a very unique stuff and interesting to read through. The story splitting into three parallel lines after Eddie’s death is yet another confusing yet innovative concept. Though initially you get confused of this pattern, you eventually get used to it. Brilliance of the author sparks when closely related parts of Eddie’s life in earth and his lessons in heaven based on that part are put one following the other.

Though we know it is all imagination, we have a feel that it would be nice if we also could revisit our own life like this after death. It is really surprising to read that most of the incidents that happens in our life how unimportant it may be has some meaning in its entirety. The most moving episode of the book is when Eddie (as a young soldier) and his troop get caught in an enemy camp and their operations to escape. This part was very well written especially a one page description of what all a soldier get used to while in a combat.

The five lessons taught in this book are must to be learnt by everyone and the way they are gelled with the story is incredible. The way in which the lives of Eddie and the five people cross each other is logical and convincing. Also the description of heaven and the way the things appear and disappear there, the way Eddie moves, speaks are all very imagined and inked. The book deserves applause for its simplicity in dealing with such complex philosophies.

The biggest lesson the book teaches us is that everyone’s life is affected by everyone else’s life in this world. No man is separate. All the lives are interlinked and interdependent. So will you accept that if you are going to do this as a consequence of me doing something else? If no, read this book. It will convince you to accept.

9.23.2005

Lord of The Rings - A.R.Rahman

Go to Lord of The Rings site and listen to Intro Music. The music is good and the orchestration is Rahmanish. I should be Rahman's composition. The musical's world premiere is on February 2006. Hope the soundtrack album will be released in India.

9.22.2005

9.21.2005

Requiem for a Dream



I am not going to watch this movie again. It is a brilliant tale that will extremely disturb and pain your senses while and after watching the movie. If you hate watching this movie second time, there lies its success. I have never seen such hard hitting visual interpretation of drug addiction and its nightmarish consequences.

A lonely old widow Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) dreams about participating in a TV game show. But for that she has to reduce her weight and look thin. To do so, she takes too much of pills prescribed by the doctors without knowing that she is slowly becoming an addict to drugs. Sara’s son Harry (Jared Leto) is also a drug addict and a drug peddler. He does the business along with his close friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) and girl friend Marione (Jennifer Connelly). These guys are also drug addicts. The movie takes us in a journey through lives of these four people and exhibits the pain of wild madness and sufferings they get into while they go in search for drugs.

The three factors that make this movie truly outstanding are 1) Performances 2) Visual Treatment and 3) Music.

Ellen Burstyn comes up with a bravo performance as a madly fame obsessed woman. The transition in the psyche of this character is portrayed with perfection by Ellen. It is one of the most stunning performances I have seen so far. She will make you cry with her performance in the scene where she wanders like a beggar in the train telling people that she is going to appear in TV show. No wonder, she won the Oscar for this movie. Also all others have given a realistic portrayal of their respective roles.

Visual treatment is one big factor that makes this movie a classic. The quick edited shots along with sounds visualizing the steps in doing things especially consuming drugs is an appealing visual technique that I have never seen before. The same scene shot from two different angles shown in a single frame is also a nice technique that adds to the realism. To the top of all, just watch how the characters move after taking drugs, the camera just floats and no step movements, absolutely depicting the state of the mind of the characters. The 15 minute climax and its hard hitting visual where all the four reach an extreme limit of pain and suffering as a consequence of their habits will make a drug addict to think for a while before going for the next joint. Kudos to the screen writer for thinking such harsh shots and the cinematographer for practically executing the same so brilliantly. In spite of a dry and raw concept, it is these visuals that make the movie an interesting watch. Without such visuals, the movie would look like a documentary.

Background score is another asset for the film. The background score gels well with the visuals and ooze more emotions out of it. The dark and dreary string quartet theme that is used all through the film sticks to our mind. Even after a week since watching the movie, it is these killing notes that reminds the visuals of the movie and maintains the impact afresh.

Please be aware that the movie will spoil your mood completely. It will take you to a completely different world where you uncomfortably yet willingly watch the psychic visuals capturing inner minds of drug addicts and it will take at least a day to come out of it.

9.14.2005

It is Confirmed

A.R.Rahman will be the composer of Sivaji. Read it here

Let us hope that this is not yet another rumour. Shankar - Rajini - A.R.Rahman sounds interesting. The reason that sify gives is quite convincing, though we have no proof of Shankar meeting A.R.Rahman in Australia.

Also, this is What Sujatha said about Sivaji in a magazine called "Ambalam"

Sujatha is also involved in scripting for Sivaji. The first draft of the script is completed. Shankar has joined A.R.Rahman to Australia to compose the songs. Nothing else about the movie is finalised. It will done only after the complete script is ready.

Then I wonder what A.R.Rahman will compose and what Shankar will ask for even without any bound script.

Five Point Someone gets 10 GPA


I must be the only person to read the book Five Point Someone after reading the excerpt of the book called “One night @ Call Center” which I got as a forwarded mail. It is Chetan Bhagat’s next book to be released soon. Even though I read glorifying reviews on the book, I was impressed enough to buy it. But this small four page story introduced a simplistic yet effective story teller called Chetan Bhagat to me and hence this review.

“Five point someone” is about three friends Hari, Ryan and Alok. They are IITians. They are under performers (5 pointers). They have different ideas about life, different ambitions, different psyches and different problems but yet they become friends. It is all about how they spend their four years of life in IIT and how they managed to get a degree and a job after all odds in a span of four years. The author narrates the story which he claims as his own college story through the character Hari.

The most likeable thing about the book is the fun these guys have in all the circumstances, no matter how serious the situation may be (as we were in our college days). The sarcasm prevails all through the narration and that makes it quite an entertaining page turner. The characters are well etched out and almost after first few pages we are familiar with who will react how in any given situation. The author takes us to the world of these three guys where nothing matters except having fun. It is a big relief to read about under performers and their perspective on IIT system, instead of fundoos and muggers who know hardly anything except studies. It is one of the rare books which I read in on sitting and that say how racy the book is.

Having been a REC student, I had a close to IIT experience in my college days. So, I could relate to almost everything that happens to these guys in the book. It made me feel good and nostalgic about my college days. Eating in road-side dhaabas, night-outs, ragging, GPA system, assignments, bunking first hour, first sem GPS creating a lasting impression, Venkats, Aloks, frequent treats for no reason, boozing at the roof-top, using jargons while speaking that only a student of that college can understand (insti, ManPro, muggu etc.,) love, friendship, sacrifice all were part our college life too. And that made me to enjoy the book even better. I think there was no any special care was taken to include all these details that replicate the true college ambience as the author has written it straight from the heart.

There are some interesting subplots too. Though it gear up the pace of the story with some small twist and turns, I suspect whether these happened really. Firstly, the author making a promise to write a book about their college life when he finds Alok got injured badly due to suicide attempt. It is hard to believe that such a promise was really made by him to himself considering his character sketch. That was one of the strangest thought one can get in such a tragic situation. The love line of Hari is also unrealistic. They obviously fall in love with each other without any valid incidents or reason for their attraction towards each other. The Operation Pendulum (stealing the semester question paper from Prof’s room to get an A) also make me think that will anybody go this far. The C2D concept is really interesting, but in practical it is tough to apply.

Anyway, I like this book very much. Enjoyed the time spent to read it. I am going to read it again. Eagerly waiting for “One nigh @ call center” as the excerpt had an interesting premise.

9.10.2005

Aa Aah Movie Review

It is hard to believe that it is the same director who did “A Aah” did a “Vaali”. The premise of the movie does sound interesting but the screenplay especially the second half is a total mess up. From the very first scene in which he explains the story of the movie to the audience, you can see the over confidence of S.J.Suryah be it in acting or screenplay or direction. The first half of the first half is really boring but it gradually picks momentum and pre interval scene makes us to sit up and have a sigh of relief that our money has not gone waste. Characters of Illusion are visualized like Ghosts. How do the illusions get such super natural power to bring storm. As Suryah says in one of the scenes, he himself has got confused about the concept. It is very clear that he was struggling to take the story further. S.J.Suryah as an actor is irritating in every aspect. His exaggerated reaction spoils the show. He couldn’t make Nila to act either. The songs are not well placed and pictured. A.R.Rahman’s music has gone waste. Background score is okay with some nice theme cues. In spite of all these cons, acumen of S.J.Suryah does peep in sometimes through his dialogues and in the way he has conceived some episodes. The scene in which Suryah suspects Nila for having an affair with another guy as she cuts the call by finding Suryah entering the room. The pre interval scene in which Suryah fights with the Nila’s boy friend for him touching Nila’s body, The Suryah - Urvasi episode, the Suryah – Santhanam episode where Suryah explains to Santhanam about the illusion that only he can see are the best moments of the movie. The other good aspect of the movie is Cinematography by Venu. The different camera angles are used with a purpose in this movie. Anyway, this is yet another dud in a row after ONOK and OKK.

9.08.2005

"The Rule of Four" is Not a DVC

The Rule of Four is a thriller written by fresh writers Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. I first saw the book in landmark Chennai. I went through first few pages of the book filled with lot of glorifying reviews. Even one of the reviewers has gone to an extent of saying that it is better than DVC. The comparison of the book to Da Vinci Code is what that tempted me to buy the book.

The premise of the book is something similar to that of DVC. Hyneretomachia is a book written 5 centuries before. The content of the book is so unique and complex to understand as it is written in many languages. It is believed that this puzzling book contains biggest truths and secrets of history. Ever since it got published, many of the research scholars tried and failed to decipher the text in this book. After 500 years, here comes a Princeton university student called Paul Harris. He takes up deciphering the text of Hyneretomachia as his project.

The novel takes us through the journey of Paul in deciphering the text and searching the secret. It moves in a moderate pace answering each of the following questions. How Paul deciphers the text? What is the hidden truth and secret of the text? Did they find the secret?

The story has a nice blend of emotion and action. The friendship between the four guys Tom, Gil, Paul and one more is well depicted. The emotional bonding between them in spite of all the differences reminds me my college friends. There are a quite a lot of action blocks thrown in often. Though they don’t give an edge-of-the-seat experience, it helps to gear up the momentum. The love line of Tom is also a very well conceived and written one. I especially liked the part in which Tom gets caught between his growing interest on the book and his lady love. Tom’s lady love feels that he has to stay away from the book as it may turn a man madly addictive to it. The way in which Paul decodes the text step by step is brilliantly thought of and written. The puzzles and the way the answers are arrived keep us glued to the book. Especially the book turns very interesting in these deciphering parts as these sorts of puzzles and riddles in the book are something we haven’t heard about before. I don’t know whether final reason and story found by Paul for writing such a book is true or not but it is also against Christianity as it was in DVC. Unlike DVC, the emotional content is at par with the action and the writers have struck a right balance between the two.

But the book is not without its negatives. The first 100 pages really tested my patience. There were too many parallel tracks distracting the pace, the long description of characters and places, the nude Olympics, the dating, tunnel action block all seem to be too long a build up for such a story. All these initial pages have very less relevance to what comes later except for Paul’s episode. At least I don’t find many. After reading the book, when you think back how it all got deciphered, you wonder where it started and how it proceeded till the end. We forget the flow. The techniques are not clear and even ambiguous sometimes. It sounds interesting while reading but we can’t remember even a single stage of decoding after completing the book. The loose ending will obviously disappoint anyone considering the buildup all through the book. Also the reason told for writing such high IQ puzzles to understand the book and the so called secret in it is not convincing.

It is a strange book which equally bores and interests you at various stages. I could not wholeheartedly say you to read the book for its interesting parts nor could I say to stay away from the book for its boring parts. Anyway try it at your own risk. But please don’t buy it with high expectations and especially don’t expect another Da Vinci Code in it.