Maniratnam + Illayaraja Again

Sify says Maniratnam is working on a hindi project called "Guru". Music director is A.R.Rahman and cinematography is by Rajiv Menon.

In a recent interview in 107.1 FM, A.R.Rahman says, my current projects are "London Dreams, Jodha-Akbar, Sivaji, Dasavatharam and Jillendru Oru Kadhal" (He left 'Chamki' though). No mention about any Maniratnam flick.

Suhasini in a program on Illayaraja called "Isaigyaniyudan" in Jaya TV says, "Maniratnam will never give high praise on anyone except Illayaraja (here is the proof). He admires the work of Illayaraja. He use to say that music happens of Illayaraja naturally. Maniratnam and Illayaraja combo did wonders in music. I always ask maniratnam when will he join with IR again. I am happy that really it is going to happen very soon in the near future".

Usually exactly after a gap of two years Maniratnam will announce his next movie. But there is no official announcement yet from Maniratnam about his next movie since "Ayutha Ezhuthu" which gives space for such (including this post) gossips. I guess Mani's next will be in Tamil as i (like to) believe in the words of Suhasini (as i myself saw her saying it on the interview in Jaya TV) that Mani's next will have music by Illayaraja.

Thirai - Face of World Cinema

I have been searching for a film magazine like “Thirai” for a long time. It is released by publishers called Kanavupattarai. Kanavupattarai is an organization, which encourages independent cinema in Tamil. They have produced lot of short films and documentaries in Tamil. I have written here about how an ideal film magazine should be while reviewing “Filmfare” and now I have finally found it. I bought it in the Chennai Book fair.

It is a film magazine with no colorful photographs and blowups of actors and actresses, no nonsense stuffs like who slept with whom last night, who wore what in that party, which X actor fell in love with which Y actress etc., As the tag line of the magazine “Ulaga Cinemavin Mugam (Face of World Cinema)” says the magazine has more articles about world cinema than Indian and Tamil cinema. It has got interesting interviews of great directors and technicians of cinema whom give lot of insightful answers about craft of cinema. Some of the articles and interviews are original and some are translated ones from popular film magazines. The chief editor of the magazine is Leena Manimegalai whom we have seen hosting some of the film based TV shows. Film buffs for sure will love to subscribe this magazine.


Thiraikathai Payirchi Puthagam - Sujatha

Thiraikkathai Payirchi Puthagam” to me looks more like a sequel book made for commercial purpose by Sujatha and Uyirmai publications to cash in money in this year’s book Fair following the success of the book “Thirakkathai Ezhuduvadhu eppadi”. As like most of the disappointing sequels of blockbuster Hollywood movies, which is made purely for making money, this book is also little disappointing. The five sets of forms given after each chapter, big fonts are evidences of how they have really struggled to fill in the pages to make the book look bulk and so to price the book as high as 100. Even “Thiraiakathai Ezhudhuvadhu eppadi” was priced reasonably less. Sujatha himself suggests us to photocopy the forms given if we have more stories and screenplays to work on, then why can’t stop with just one copy of the form. Of 90 pages, 70 pages are used for these blank forms with just 20 pages left for Sujatha to write on writing screenplay. Now getting into the content of the book, if you have read the first book, Sujatha has nothing new to say in this book except for very few additional tips. The well-designed forms with all necessary questions to complete Writing-before-the-writing stuff will really be useful for one who tries it out. The book is sure to kindle your interests if you are not bothered about the other minuses that I have mentioned here. Think of a story that is very close to your heart and start reading this book, you will be tempted to start writing the screenplay for it.


Real Dreams

If you really feel bored and have nothing else to do, Read this to kill the time.

My home is very near to seashore. One day me and my family and few other relatives went to the beach in the evening. The sky was dark bluish in color. The full moon looked so near yet so far in the center of the sky spreading a silver mat on the sea. And we were sitting exactly in the path of moonlight. Suddenly, the sound and sight of tides stopped and the sea looked calm. The view of the sea at that moment is still there in my mind. Suddenly, the sea got disturbed. It looked as if someone was moving like a snake under the silver mat on the sea. It bulged and soon emerged like a big dinosaur or something of that sort and was fast approaching us from the sea.

The place, the mood and the ambience made me believe that all that was a dream. I told myself that this is a dream where we are sitting together in a pleasant ambience and watching the Tsunami coming. I said to others, “Don’t worry, when it hits us, we all will wake up from our bed to realize that we were dreaming about Tsunami”. But how stupid I was, how could all of them have the same dream at the same time.

Few seconds passed, I started doubting whether it is a dream or reality but before I could decide, I started to run leaving my family and relatives there and entered our home without looking back. I felt like the waves are fast approaching me and I increased my running speed to get inside a big apartment that I could see in the possible distance of reach. I ran and stepped inside the apartment and climbed the stairs but there was no one running along with me. The steps were very unusual. It looked like a square in which we have steps on all four sides and with a very low degree of the inclination. So I had to climb more steps to go up by one floor. I thought that any time, Tsunami might hit this apartment. But there was no other way. I climbed the stairs as fast as I can. I hugged a big cylindrical iron column. I let my hands into some handles in that column so that I won’t loose the grip when the wave hits. And I was waiting.

After few minutes of silence, slightly I was able to hear the sound of water approaching in the direction of the apartment. Within a fraction of second, the wave hit the building and from the top I could see water running under me like a stream of river but thank god, the level didn’t reach the top. But I doubted that the building might collapse soon. Even that didn’t happen. Then I think I slept there standing but for few seconds or minutes or hours or days, I don’t know.

Finally, I woke up and came down. The streets were wet but the buildings were as it was and I couldn’t see any damages at all. People were running here and there but except that I couldn’t see anyone crying or mourning. I was confused, did the Tsunami really hit. “Was it all a dream? Where am I coming from?” Then I came to my house. All my relatives and my brother were sitting silently with no one speaking to anyone else. They all looked quite normal. There was no sign of any big disaster like Tsunami happened. But my parents were not there. Immediately I thought the Tsunami might have pulled my parents into the sea and I started crying and hugged my brother. Everyone around was shocked to see my strange action.

Suddenly one of them came and dragged me from my brother. She asked, “Why are you crying?” I said, “Where are my parents? How you all escaped from Tsunami”. She said, “What the hell are you talking about?(in Tamil)”. I explained whatever has happened until now. And everyone there started to laugh. My parents came from outside. I was so happy to see them again. Then I asked was it all a dream. They said, “Of course yes, you were sleeping in your room for past 3 hours and just now you are coming out of your bed”. Everyone laughed again but my brother couldn’t control his tears, as he couldn’t stop laughing.

I felt the pain of running a long distance, I heard the sound of Tsunami approaching, and I saw the blue sky with a full moon at the center of sky. Was it all a dream? Of course, in my dream itself I had this doubt but the pace with which everything happened stopped me from thinking further and made me believe it was real.

Suddenly, I heard Beethoven’s Fur Elise. It is the alarm ring tone in my mobile. I saw the time in the mobile. It is 15.00 hours. I was sleeping alone in my flat in Thiruvanmiyur. My roommates have gone to our native place to celebrate Pongal. Now, I realize that all that was a dream, even those conversations with relatives, laughing, crying were all in the dream. But I am not sure, when this place, which I believe to be real, will vanish as a dream. Also I don’t know whether I am writing this in my dream. Until then, let me believe what I believed as reality for all these 22 years. When I realize I may again ask the same question, “Was it all a dream? Where am I coming from? ”.

For a few seconds, I was thinking about, “Why this Tsunami came in my dream today?”. Everyday I use to jog in Besant Nagar beach. And today also I went there for Jog but today as it was a holiday, I went near the shore and sat there watching the beautiful sunrise, which slowly turned the sea into Gold. I kept watching the waves for a long time. The waves were slightly higher than usual. I started thinking about Tsunami that hit Tamilnadu in December 2004. As my eyes were watching the golden waves trying tirelessly to reach my stretched legs, my mind thinking about the disaster it caused a year ago, it got registered in my subconscious mind and so the dream.


Blogswara - First Time in Blogosphere

Blogs are still evolving in India and everyday we see so many changes and improvements in the way the blogs are used. But what it has done now is something that has never been tried before in any part of the blogosphere. Many music enthusiasts among the bloggers started to use the audio blogs to post their new music compositions thereby exhibiting their talents to the world. Some even sing some popular songs in their own voice and post it as an audio blog. Such like-minded people started to gather in some of the most popular audio blogs sharing their new ideas in music and discuss about music there. They give honest feedback on each other’s works. Now what is great about this group at this moment is that they have decided to compose a music album and release it in the blog. It is something first of its kind ever tried in blogosphere. It is a collaborative effort of many bloggers. Take a look at the name of the composers, singers and lyricists of the songs in this album here. Jo is co-coordinator of this great effort. The album is going to be released shortly. Now follows my mail interview with Jo about this project.

When and how did such an idea sparked in your mind?

I've got a good chance to know a lot of nice people through the blogging world. And some of them have amazing musical talents. They've been in touch with me and I worked on some songs with them. Original and re-mastered songs. And I have posted those songs in my blog. Seeing this, blogger Senthil asked me "why don't you co-ordinate all of these musical talents and do something together?". Also blogger Ganesh was mentioning the same in one of the comments in his blog. That's how all of this started.

How this group got formed?

I sent emails to these blogging buddies asking if they would be interested to be a part of this venture. All of them replied positively and thus we started the work.

Generally what can we expect from this “Blogswara” album? How many songs will be there? What is the probable release date? What is the genre of music to which the songs in this album belongs?

We will have a variety of songs in Blogswara since there are people of different musical interests working for this album. However, you cannot expect a rock, metal or new-age song in this album. But we are not saying it won’t happen in our next album. :-)
We have songs in 3 different languages. Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. And I think that is a very rare case in the current Indian music scene. There will be 10 songs in the album. We haven't finalized the release date yet, but most probably it will be in the first week of February.

Are you having a central theme based on which the songs are composed and written?

There is no central theme for our album, because we do not want to disappoint our listeners who may have different tastes. There are songs of nostalgia, love and spirituality.

Are you going to post it just as an audioblog? The reason I am asking this because, it will be useful if you make this available for downloading.

Listeners will have two choices. They can either listen to the songs online or can download the MP3 version. Each song will have an audioblog format and a link to the downloadable MP3 format.

Have you thought of any strategy to let the whole Indiblogosphere to know about this project? I mean it should not be restricted f you and those who work for this project.

We haven’t started working on that yet, but have some good plans. After we finalize the release date, we will start the work on this part. We will let the whole indiblogosphere know about this project through the famous Indiblogging groups. And the biggest publicity will be blogger-to-blogger. I plan to request my blogger buddies to let their readers know about this and from them to the others.

Also we plan to get some celebrity singer to receive the first copy of our album. And we plan to give some offline publicity through International and Indian MSM. Let’s see how it turns out.

Are the songs in this album a collaborative effort? Do composers compose the songs individually or is there any transfer of ideas for each song, so that two composers will take credit for a song?

Composers do the songs individually after communicating with the lyricists to get the right feel of the song. But in the orchestration part, you will see two people working on the same song.

What do you think about the future of blogs, audio blogs in specific? What more you expect to happen in blogosphere because of such interactive features? Becoz, even one year before no one would have thought of audio bloggers making a music album together?

I should thank the inventors of this wonderful medium, because this is how I could meet a lot of nice and talented people. In the early days, I believe blogging was all about personal notes or some journalistic view points about what goes around. Even in the international scene, people see blogging as a medium for freespeech, as a rival of the MSM. No one thought beyond that. Then the photo blogging and audio blogging came and these have given an option to enjoy the creative works of individuals.

Now with Blogswara, we are going to prove that anything is possible in the blogging world. Usually an album work requires the composer, lyricist and singer work together and record together and publish together. Here, we have multiple composers, orchestration people, lyricists, singers, post-production people and all of them residing at the different parts of the world. Mostly in UK, USA and India. And all of us are amateurs who haven’t been introduced in the main stream music industry. So blogging has been an opportunity for showcasing these amazing talents who would have gone un-noticed otherwise.

I think the future of blogging is going to be in the audio and video blogging. You can already see a lot of online radio channels run by individuals through audioblogging and podcasting . And you may even see online TV channels (run by individuals) in the near future. And a massive free-speech movement in the regular blogging area.
Everything is possible in this world of Internet and blogging, if you have the right spirit and time to put your efforts.

What is going to be next project of your team? Any other new ideas?

Right now, we are busy doing this work together. And I can assure that there will be plenty of such associations in the future. We will do more of this. So a version 2 of Blogswara can be expected in the future. :-)

What “Music” in general means to you?

They say music is the food for soul, and I agree to that completely. Music is a powerful medium that gives me the energy in my day-to-day life and a big stress reliever. Music, in any form or genre is good and divine. It is up to the listener to decide what is good and what is bad. That is why we have different forms of music.

Here is Thanking Jo for the interview and Saluting the efforts of his Team.

Vettaiyadu Vilayadu Trailer

Vettaiyadu Vilayadu Trailer is out here
The presentation has a serious "Kaaka Kaaka" hang over. The background English rap is isn't impressive either.

Song from Rajini's Sivaji

If what I came to know about the first song shot for “Sivaji” from here is correct, then this may be the song in Sivaji,

In Rang De Basanti,

Khalbali hai Khalbali.. (3)
Hain Khalbali

In Sivaji,

Va…ji Va…ji Sivaji.. (3)
Vaa Sivaji

I don't think Shankar would allow A.R.Rahman to use a song released in Hind for this movie but yet it is just a guess. Let us wait and see.


Pudupet - A Crap or A Classic

  • Here is the reply of Selva Raghavan when asked about the movie “Pudupettai” in this interview to Indiaglitz.com. He says, “Either people may call this movie a crap or a classic. It is not a kind of movie which you can have an the-movie-was-okay opinion”. Also adds that he is planning to send this movie to various film festivals. The answer does raise the expectations which are already high after the release of an extremely different soundtrack. Also watch the interview to know few other interesting things Selva has to say about his ambition, future plans, international films, European films, independent films, Hollywood etc.

  • Here is a blog, where you can read all rumours and facts about Sivaji.

  • A new extended soundtrack has got released for Ghajini with additional four instrumental theme tracks titled "Yeyeho Ghajini", "New Years's Eve", "Revenge", "Purpose of Love". Almost every critic trashed the background score of this movie. I don't know how they got the guts to releas this soundtrack. And to my surprise, this album tops the sales in Music World, taking new releases like "Aathi", "Paramasivam" and "Pudupet" a step down from its previous position.

  • Also the VCD of the movie "Arinthum Ariyamalum" got released. The movie got released in 2005 and the official VCD got released just in one year which doesn't happen usually in Tamil film industry. I don't know how the producer's council allowed it. Similarly "Chellamae" VCD and DVD's also got officially released in India last year itself.

  • Another emerging trend is release of Songs + Comedy VCD of the movies after two months of the release of the movie. Now the top selling Songs+Comedy VCD is of the movie "Ghajini". Before that, VCD of "Chandramukhi" was the numero uno in sales. Ofcourse this is not surprising as the comedy will include almost all the scenes of kalpana(Asin), the only reason for which the audience went repeatedly to the theatres to watch this movie.


Naach is the movie that I very much wanted to watch for the extremely different reviews it got. But missed out to watch it at the time of its release. Also I haven’t really seen any movies directed by RamGopalVarma except Rangeela. But I have heard a lot about his realistic approach in making movies. It is very evident in the kind of movies that he intends to produce. Finally, one Sunday afternoon I rented this movie and watched it. Well, this is what I can say about this movie. It belongs to kind of movies, which after watching you return with a plain reaction. It is neither good nor bad. It can be said as mediocre at its best.

I don’t know what actually inspired RGV to make this movie. On one side it looks like Antra Mali’s skin inspired him. He has used it quite well through out the movie making visuals and dance sequences to exhibit and expose her skin. But to claim it a movie he has taken the often-used love line and that too a usual triangle love story to woven a plot to connect those dance pieces.

Reva is a very stubborn girl who cannot compromise anything to achieve her goal. She aspires to become a dance choreographer in bollywood. And Abhinav is as aspiring actor who can do anything to get an acting chance. Both have different perceptions about life. Their ways to achieve their goals are also different. Yet they fall in love. Abhinav somehow gets a chance to act and becomes a big hero. But after that due to their contrasting characteristics, they part after a clash in a casual conversation. Then comes the third angle in the love story who give Reva the first break as choroegrpaher. Will Reva and Abhinav renuite is what the rest is all about?

Yet, the first half of the movie is handled deftly. The characters of Reva (Antra Mali) and Abhinav (Abhisek) are sketched out well. The transition of their friendship into love is also very real and mature. The contrasting characters of Reva and Abhinav are well detailed through simple and short scenes. The scenes are also shot realistically. But in the second half after the clash between the lovers, RGV seems to be confused to find someway to proceed and he got another character to close the triangle and takes a predictable and clich├ęd path. The second half is very boring. We don’t understand why Reva hates Abhinav so much for a small mistake he did in a casual conversation. And the reason she says for that in the climax is also not convincing.

The choreography of the songs is really different as the Reva’s character and the director claims from the very first shot of the movie. But it would have worked better if the songs were good. Amar Mohile has done a good job in two songs, the “Naach” and “Bandane Lagi” and also in the background score. But other songs are below average. Too many songs in the second half are also one of the reasons for the drag. For such a movie, which requires lot of music and songs, RGV should have gone for A.R.Rahman. Then “Naach” would have become a totally different movie like some sort of a musical.

In the second half, I liked the scenes, which make fun of movies like “Kal Ho Naa Ho” and the choreographer Farah Khan. Antra Mali has mistaken subtle reaction as plain reaction. Half the time we don’t know what her reaction means. But Abhishek is better but he needs to improve his dancing skills. I really liked the character of Ritesh Deshmukh. Though Antra and Abhishek is important in the climax, I liked the last one single expression of Ritesh Deshmukh when he says ‘Bye’ to Reva with a cute smile in his face and tears in his eyes.

Naach – Dance without Rhythm.


Spencer Plaza or Palace

A beautiful photograph of Spencer Plaza in Chennai captured in a never before seen angle. This article in Hindu says, three more such shopping malls are nearing its completion in Chennai.


Watch Godfather trailer here

The music sounds pretty cool. Anyway, i don't think this movie will work. Watch some unusal expressions of Ajith.


Chennai Book Fair

In 2004, I went to the book fair in a hurry and peeped into very few stalls and bought just two books of Sujatha “Thiraikathai Ezhudhuvadhu Eppadi?” and “Vignyana Sirukathaigal”. But this time I entered the Book Fair grounds at 1.00 PM and left at 4.30 PM spending 3.5 hours completely in browsing through almost 50 stalls out of 300. Not that I didn’t want to go to all the stalls, but my legs started to tremble and I couldn’t keep standing and walking any more.

The crowd was unbelievable with people of all ages mobbing the stalls buying books of their own interest. Initially the crowd was manageable but when I came out, there was literally no space to move. Even one who is not interested in reading books will be interested to buy books and read just by going to this book fair and watching an enthusiastic crowd buying and carrying dozens of books in each hand. I had only one book (“Thiraikathai Payirchi Puthagam” by Sujatha) in my mind to buy while entering the venue. But I ended up buying 5 books “Thiraikathai Payirchi Puthagam”, “Yeppodhum Pen” and “Thirukkural - Pudhiya Urai” by Sujatha and Anandha Vikatan’s compilation “Ivanthan Bala” and “Theruvasakam” by Yugabharathi and a magazine called “Thirai”.

There were many other books which I wanted to buy but couldn’t due to some financial constraints. “Ulaga Cinema” by Ramakrishnan, “Kadhal Screenplay”, “Ponniyin Selvan”, Some Indra Soundarrajan novel, Vairamuthu’s “Kallikattu Ithigasam”, Sujatha’s “Marma Kathaigal”, “Katradhum Petradhum – 2”, “Cinemavum Nanaum – Mahendran” and “Hollywood Azhaikiradhu”. The problem is that the stalls don’t have facility to buy the books using Credit Cards. We can buy the books using credit cards also but for that we have to walk to some place, pay there and return the bill in the respective stall to collect the book.

There are many screenplay books of movies like Kadhal Kottai, Poovae Unakkaga, Unnidathil Ennai Koduthaen, Sindhu Bhairavi etc., but l couldn’t find the screenplay of Heyram, which I always wanted to buy. I am not interested in reading these screenplay books as someone else write it after watching the movie. It will be interesting to read the screenplay written for the movie before it is actually shot.

I am really surprised by the quality of the content in the magazine called “Thirai” which is about world cinema and Tamil cinema. It has got no glossy pictures of actors or actresses. It seems some passionate film buffs run this magazine. The stall also had VCD’s of interesting short films. I am going to subscribe this monthly magazine. And in many stalls I found the VCD of “Kamaraj” movie too.

The Tamil version of autobiography of Gandhiji is now got released and my friend bought it. Actually I have read the one in English. The interesting thing in the stall is, if we buy the Autobiography of Abdul Kalaam we get Gandhiji’s for free.

I was bowled over by the book “En Narambu Veenai” (Kavitha Publications) written by Illayaraja. It is full of Venbas. I didn’t buy it, as I didn’t understand most of them that I read when I glanced through the book for few minutes. I expect someday Illayaraja will write a book on music. Actually I was searching for some interesting books on music but I couldn’t find any except Hindu’s book on Music, which is a compilation of various music articles that appeared in Hindu magazine.

Haven’t really started reading any of the books I bought but here is what I know about these books

“Thiraikathai Payirchi Puthagam” by Sujatha is an interesting one. The aspiring filmmakers and movie buffs can try this book. It is like a practical workbook. It is not just to read. From what little I have seen, it seems like we have to prepare a script and start writing the screenplay in this book. I bought “Eppodhum Pen” just out of curiosity created by one of Lazy Geek’s post. Really don’t know what it is all about.
The most interesting book of the lot is “Thirukkural – Pudhiya Urai” written by Sujatha. It has got meaning of all 1330 kurals in simple words with the explanation not more than 10 -15 words for each kural. “Theruvasakam” by Yugabharathi is an interesting collection of poems written on common people that we meet on roadsides daily. “Ivanthan Bala” is also Anandha Viakatan’s compilation of director Bala’s life story.

I want to buy some Indira Soundarrajan’s novel. Can anyone suggest which book is his best? I saw some novels like “Sivam”, “Magalingam”, “Kannigal Yezhuper”, “Vaa Vaa Karuppa”, and “Kaadhala Ithu Kaathala!” and some more.

Actually I am planning to go to the fair again in coming weekend. Not to buy the books but just to know about more Tamil books and writers. For someone who is in his infant stage of reading like me (starting reading only 8 months before), such book fairs are necessary to get more interest in books.


Jillunu Oru Photo

I am not sure whether this happened in the history of Indian Cinema before. The poster of the movie has just the photo of its composer and not even the pictures of main lead features in this poster. Usually the small size picture of the composers will be put up only in the top right corner of the posters. Anyway, A.R.Rahman looks cool with a guitar in his Hand. I really expect some great melodies in the movie like that of "Kangalal Kaithi Sei" and "Rhythm".


Indiblog Awards

Well, the intention of "Indian Weblog Awards" is laudable. Now we have the final nominees in all categories and we are going to vote. But I need to know how these final nominations are arrived at. I know that there was a special panel of jurors who selected these blogs for final voting. But what is the basic criteria for to get into final nomination in each category.

I mean is it just a mere overall rating on a blog by the jurors out of 10. Or are there any parameters/criteria set for each category to decide whether a blog is eligible for nomination or not. It would be helpful for other bloggers to know what those parameters/criteria satisfying which, made those blogs to make it up to the final list.

Blog - As a Personal Diary

I heard that initially blogs were used as an online personal diary to share with our daily happenings in life to our friends and relatives. Slowly, it became more a forum where strangers can share their thoughts and discuss about anything under the sun but less is written about their personal life. I also tried to post some of my personal life experiences in the blog but I was too hesitant to reveal things happened in my personal life. It is always quite interesting both to read and write what our heart says than our mind. Though it may not be interesting for others to read, someday I would also write something like this.


Birthday Baby

I am not one of those cynics who think that ARR has lost his magic these days. He still is in fine form as he was in 90’s. Just that his works are not being recognized and received well by masses as like his earlier works in 90’s. Moreover there are many more composers now to give what only ARR was able to give in 90’s. And that diminish the level of admiration the common people had on his music.

He is churning out more classy stuffs these days and that is for sure many steps forward for any passionate composer. He is no more mere a commercial music director. Only problem is that too much of projects made him to be little inconsistent in the recent past. But that is okay. If music fails, the composer may not the only person to be blamed always. He gave some great albums in 2005 like Bose: The Forgotten Hero, Water, Mangal Pandey and Rang De Basanti. His only Tamil release though not great was a big hit. And there are many interesting projects both in Tamil and Hindi lined up for release in 2006.

Long Live A.R.Rahman. Wish him a Happy Birthday.


Laugh Therapy

The start of this week was depressing for me due to some personal problems and I just couldn’t bear with that state of mind. Tried to divert myself by hearing some pleasant Illayaraja melodies, classical symphonies, music of Yanni etc., but nothing rescued me from the depressed state of mind. Finally I decided to watch some comedy flicks to escape from the depression at least for 2 hours. Went to DVD rental shop and rented Me, Myself and Irene and No Entry (Hindi). Truly, I had a great time watching both the films and all worries are washed away (at least temporarily) by the heavy dosage of laugh therapy that these two movies served.

Me, myself and Irene is a one man show. I can’t imagine anyone else playing lead role except Jim Carry. The speed with which he changes his face expressions is unbelievable. Now I know from where Shankar got the inspiration for the Ambi Vs Anniyan fight sequence and also the climax scene of the movie. Those scenes in Anniyan are bad replicas of some of the best performed and executed scenes in MMI.

No Entry is remake of a Tamil movie “Charlie Chaplin”. Unlike “Charlie Chaplin”, this movie works better mainly because there are no unnecessary sentiments at the end as it was in the Tamil version. I am surprised by the level of risk Boney Kapoor takes even after facing so many major flops by remaking the Tamil movies in Hindi and that too in this case the Tamil movie was not a big hit or even a hit. All of them have performed well except Fardeen Khan. Boman Irani, though in a small role does a great job. The songs are as worst as it can get. On the whole, it was a great time pass.


Moulin Rouge

Obviously, being an Indian drenched in 100s of musicals (are they really?) a year, I should be lying if I say I don’t like “Moulin Rouge”. The thought that came to my mind immediately after watching this movie is that “when are our guys going to make a real musical like this?” Of course, earlier Indian movies were pure musicals with more than 60 songs that were shot exactly like a stage drama. I don’t want it to be in that way.

With lots of talented composers, singers, choreographers and directors who can make brilliant music videos I think we are wasting a lot of time. It is for sure, a musical cannot be logical but we can try to be as realistic as possible and at the same time squeeze the creative juices to flow beyond horizons to come up with something that is even more spectacular than Moulin Rouge. I hear what you say, Moulin Rouge had a suitable period and place where it is possible to make such a story but where do we find such a logical plot in India to fit in our songs. Moulin rouge actually pays tribute to Indian Musicals. The main play “Spectacular Spectacular” around which the whole plot of the movie revolves is set in India.

Moulin Rouge is also as unrealistic as any Indian movie, if we consider the situations in which the characters sing. For example, the song that comes when Sistine’s father goes to that duke to say that Sistine will not join him for the dinner this night. Most of their real life conversations are also in songs. But they don’t just dance in front of the camera by giving just enough lip movements like a student dancing for a college cultural on the stage and also as it is in most of the Indian movies. They show a wide range of emotions while they sing. What makes it brilliant is the way they have sandwiched a sweet love story and various real emotions like love, anger, betrayal, and jealousy, longing and suffering with in it. The song “Roxanne” and its visualization is the perfect example of it where a lot happens in parallel to drive the emotions to the audience through music.

Though it is just another love story, the screenplay plays the trick. The story of the play for which the characters in the movie are working is the story of the movie itself. The play writer makes his own love story into a play and as his love story is still happening, the real story of the movie and that of the play meets at the end and picks a climax of its own. This kind of interweaving actually makes the happenings interesting when accidentally in casual conversations, the play writer is referred as Sitar Player (the hero of the play) and the Duke is referred as the Maharajah (the villain in the play). The songs are well written, beautifully composed, rendered and choreographed. The visuals are breathtaking. Performances are good though they have gone for method acting in synch with the genre they have chosen to make. Nicole Kidman won a deserving Oscar nomination for her performance in this movie.

Hope someone will do a real Indian musical in the near future. May be a Maniratnam or Farhan Akthar. Let us see.