Thursday, January 31, 2013

In defence of taking offense

Being progressive is not about never being offended. It is about being offended and having the ability to either express your feelings in a constructive manner or having the heart to just let go of the insult.

Now, Kamal has the wherewithal to offend people. He is an effective speaker, a great actor and has the stature that automatically makes people take him seriously. And frankly as he has made it abundantly clear, he WANTS to be taken seriously.

I had posted something a few years back about an interview on Vijay TV where he took the trip of Brahmin ladies in an uncouth manner. I can imagine why people could have become hurt by voicing such irreverent opinions. No. Don't close this page. 

Taking a page out of his book, let me try to second guess you. When someone tells you he humiliates Brahmins nonchalantly and hence 'had it coming', they do not mean it as comeuppance. They mean that they are able to sympathize. Our man has been insensitive towards one community. So it is hard to imagine he will tread softly when it comes to other communities or beliefs.

So, here we have a guy who 1) wants to be taken seriously 2) who has the currency to hurt sentiments and 3) who has a proven track record of pissing people off. When someone else claims that this guy has hurt their sentiments, you tend to take the accusers seriously! And you do something about it! This action cannot be construed as a blatant infringement of free speech!

As someone famous once said... "Your freedom ends where my nose begins" when he was accidentally struck on the nose with a walking cane. My defense is only for people who cry about the loss of free speech. Not how the state has handled it nor the current state of affairs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Solpa Fiction: The Bhupathi Situation

AITA Offices:

Khanna: Abheyaar what to do yaar? This saale Madrasi Bhoopathi is creaing such a ruckus?

Lackey 1: Slightly Paes was also a Madrasi.

Khanna: What was that? This guy Bhupathi wants to play only with Boppanna... and this Paes has an automatic entry to Olympics. We can send 2 teams or what?

Lackey 2: So you want to pander to the whims and fancies of players? Instead of handling the situation firmly, you want to suck up to all the players? What kind of a leader are you? If it was me, I would not field a tennis team at all.

Khanna: So that is your solution? To sulk and let India suffer? Though I see your point, it might work in a family but not for a country.

Lackey 3: Bbbutt... there is one person who can solve this problem. He is the man for the hour, a legend, a name spoken only in whispers among sports executives....

<Lalit Modi on the phone: I understand. Will take forever, I will be there in 10, Don't tell Sreenivasan.>

LM: Hi gentlemen.. I am Lalit Modi and I solve problems.

LM: You are Khanna? And this is your organization? Lets get down to brass tacks gentlemen.
Higher seeded player has bad attitude or so says lower players and hence cannot play with him. 
Need to send best "team" to the Olypics to maximize India's chances of winning. 
Whole country talking about this issue about players behaving like brats and AITA not being able to handle them.

Everyone in chorus: YES!

LM: Problem is simple, marketing already done, crowd interest is high, players are behaving badly,
Step 1: Set up match: Mahesh and Bopanna against Paes and whatshisname. Winner goes to Olympics!
Step 2: Sell TV telecast rights for a few gazillion
Step 3: Profit!

Khanna bows his head to the master.
2 months later, LM watches Paes and Hesh beat opposition to pulp in London.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

KH - Nayyaandi on Theism

Here is the full text of the "Kavidhai" KH had written/recited at the Anu Hassan show... Going by the face book fanboy comments this apparently is a literary masterpiece...Here comes the video / text.

Grahanadhi Granahanangal Appaalumey oru Asahaaya Sakthi undaam
Aalukku Aal oru Muzhuppiragirikkiyum Aarukkum Vilangaadhadhaam
Adhai payandhadhai unarndhadhai Thudhippadhuvandri Peridhedhum vazhiyillayam
Naam seidha vinayellam Un seidhadhendradhu Vidhiyondru seivithadhaam
Adhai vella munaivorai sadhi kooda seidhadhu, anbodu oozhserkumaamam
Kurudaaga Sevudaaga Maladaaga Mudamaaga karuserkum Thirumoolamaam
Kushta Guhyam Putra Soolai Moolam endra Kroorangal AdhanSithamaam
Punnil vazhum puzhu punniyam seidhudin pudhujenmam thandharulumaam
Kodikku eeswarargal peridhaaga varundhamal sodhithu gadhi serkumaam
Yezhaikku varudhuyarai Vedikkai parpardhadhin Vaadikkai vilayaadalaam
Nerginra Nervalaam Nervikkum Nayagam porkooda adhan seyalam
Paranigal potridum Uyirkolli Mannarku Dharanithandadhu kaakumaam
400 lakshathin oru vindhai uyirthetri alkulin Sinaiserkumaam
Asurarai pilandhapol Anuvayum pilandhadhu Anugundu seivithadhum
Paradesam vazhnthidum Appaavi manidharai palagaaram seythundadhum
Pillayim kariundu Nambinaarkarilidum Parivaana Parabrahmame
Utraaraum uravinarum Katru Karpithavaru Ulamaaru Thozhusakthiyai
Matravar Vayyubayam Kondu nee potridu Attradhai undendu kol
Aagamkulamoozhgi Mummalam Kazhi Arivai Aathigachalavayum Sey
KottadithuPotrum Maniyadithu Potru Karpoora Aarthiyai
Thayada oosiyir thayyana thantha pin thakkathai thayyaathiru
Uythidum meivazhi udhaseenaththaapin Neyvadhe Nandranin Ney

The first few verses are downright Abraham Kovoor level hatred, shielded with some MooKa range word manipulation/(in tamil:Yealanam). This word-play trend continues through the poem. I like the way it was written.. and in the video, recited... the rhythm is super nice... and can be attained in very few languages...and of course the passion is evident. Funny the way Anu reacts.. it is evident she cannot understand... I am surprised her head does not fall off.

As to the content of the poem, it is effective 'Nayyaandi', but follows the time honored tradition followed by rationalists.. attacking only the 'mooda nambikkais' without attempting to understand the psychology / rationale of why such irrational thoughts were brought in.

Apart from this, I am reminded of  that famous line from Anbe Sivam... "Thaaj Magaal idinju vizhundirichu na... Kaadhale illainu sollida mudiyuma? Andha madhiri daan.. Communisamum Oru feeling daan". Likewise just because there are a few incomprehensible (read:irrational) beliefs associated with Theism, it does not defeat the whole purpose of it.

The belief among most rationalists (read:atheists) is that believing in an omnipotent entity  is retrograde from one point of view. What they must also understand is that attacking said entity based on beliefs/practices is equally retrograde. Attack/defend the psychology behind it...  that would be more progressive.

Monday, June 04, 2012

The math of a KH Q-A session...

I am a veteran of around 100 KH interviews. Over 20 years. I find it difficult to wait for him to answer any question posed. So, I have devised a simple algorithm based on empirical data so that you directly access that part of the interview where he answers. The rest.. is just the set-up. Enjoyable, but irrelevant to the question.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Movie Review - Aadhavan

Aadhavan is a movie that makes you appreciate the good points of a T. Rajendar movie. You might now wonder what made me say that. Well for one thing, T Rajendar movies reek of shitloads of effort. But try however he might... his movies always suck donkey dong. Aadhavan sucks the dong of that T Rajendar movie. That is how bad it is. Almost like the creators did not want the movie to exist. Lacks effort totally.

There can be no excuse for such a movie. It is a rehashed story. It has rehashed songs from Satyam and Ayan. It has songs shot in similar locations and are also similarly photo shopped. It has Surya in a similar role performing the same stunt sequences in just a different zip code. To top it all, the original and the remix were spaced less than 6 months apart, with no buffer Surya movie in between.

Surya looks boring. I feel he has realized his potential... and is contemplating going the Vijay way. Why would he want to do similar movies 6 months apart if he wants to be considered a decent actor? I support the decision to go the Vijay Way if that is the case.

The Surya as a ten year old... gimmick... comes off well in the sense that it is technically close to perfect. He already has a young face and a little airbrushing removed hair and make him look young. KSR has learnt a bit from the UN while making 10vatharam in making the body proportions right.

Vadivel tries to save the movie. Almost does it. his sense of timing is approaching the Gounder's. Good... and he makes us happy. Ramesh Khanna's role had initially been that of a director. He is not a second comedian. Anyone know why he was demoted ?

Saroja Devi and Nayanthara both look stupid in their roles. 9thara looks more and more like a Thai transvestite. Saroja Devi need not have demeaned herself in this movie. A definite avoid but this warning is probably late. 90% of the population has already watched this travesty. Chennai should get over this craze to watch any movie in the first week.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Unnaipol Oruvan - An interview on Vijay TV

So there was this program on Vijay TV. The title had liberal splatterings of words like ulagam, sagaptham and varalaaru. Of course it had to do with the Ulaganaayagan if you had not guessed that already. The program had people posing questions about his movies and beliefs... expecting candid answers. He usually answers one question with another question. (He feels that this makes him sound smart). But this time he actually answered. It gave me an opportunity to see how confused he actually is.

There was a person who asked him why he had the beard in UPO. His said it was his statement against gross generalizations... that not all bearded guys were Muslims. Yet, he does not have any problem in having as a hero and a teacher, a certain someone who grossly generalized all brahmins as slave traders and all theists as barbarian fools. Hypocrite!

And then there was this question about being brave. He eloquently said the exhibition of Ahimsa is the ultimate form of bravery... and he is trying to be brave. Wow. A film star who is brave in real life too? Lets see how brave.

There was another obvious question about 'Saving Thamizh'. He apparently has very strong opinions on this. He said even learned brahmin ladies would substitute 'sha' for a 'sa'.. as in 'Shaptacha' for 'Saptacha'. This apparently is some sort of travesty in the thamizh world. Very brave I should say... to pick on ladies... right?

A less brave person would have picked on a certain political stalwart who does not even know to pronounce 'zha'. He says "Tamilukkaga Vaalndhu, Thamilukkaga Ulaithu"... AND still manage to get 8.5% of Thamizh votes. Haasar is not a brave person. He is not what he thinks he is.

Haasar... with respect... the guy who has put in 50 years of film service, is no philosopher. He is not even a great thinker as many purport him to be. He is just the above average actor, who can make us laugh... a LOT... and only if he teams up with Crazy Mohan. He is definitely confused... nothing wrong with that is there ? But the point is confused men and their opinions must never be taken seriously. Just enjoy them. Like you would enjoy Vasool Raaja.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Movie Review - Terminator Salvation

As a rule, I avoid writing English movie reviews unless I either hate or love the movie exceptionally. Terminator 4 is abyssmal. I remember people getting all excited up about Christian Bale becoming part of one more superhero franchise, but then to all those people... bad luck.

With the Terminator franchise already being squeezed to nothingness, I thought the director / story-writers would have come up with something exceptional, either in terms of story or cast to garner some interest. T3 had a woman terminator which drew in a lot of interest. More importantly, it had Sivajinagar in a come-back role. T4 has nothing even remotely interesting, except of course Christian Bale.

He seems disinterested, and is playing Batman yet again with those intense expressions that he uses when he is trying to decide between lime juice and orange juice... it kind of bores you. How did Nick Stahl become Christian Bale? The guy who plays the human robot with a human heart that somehow seems to fuel a computer brain. Or what ? Well, if a pacemaker can control a human heart... why not...? right ? The human heart that controls a machine body can ALSO be donated to another human who would then use it to control a human body. ?? What ??

Story? What is the use of killing Christian Bale, if Skynet already has his yet to be father? Skynet can kill the Bale's father instead, and hence wipe Christian Bale even before he came into existence? There are just so many glaring holes in the story that you can drive one of those hunter - killers through it withing scratching its sides. The entire premise behind the movie sounds so terrible, that the line "The end begins" sounds prophetic. I feel this will be the last of the Terminator movies.

The only thing that was exceptionally good in the movie was Moon Bloodgood's name. She is the only person in the world whose name has three 'oo's sounds. Also Bryce Capricorn Dallas Einstein Howard... doesn't her name sound like an attendance register? Well, I am interested in finding out where she got her make up samaan when the world has been decimated by a nuclear war.

Avoid it. Watch Maayandi Kudumbathinar instead.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Movie REview - Kulir 100

It happenned with Sakkarakatti, and now it has happened again with Kulir 100. Thamizh audiences have no trouble with cliches. They can handle the same Vijay movie remade a dozen times and even watch each one at least twice. But you know why that is ? The characters are hackneyed and the setting is identifiable.

Kulir 100, has neither of these. Even though the principal character had the makings of any normal Tamil hero... (slightly uncouth, value friendship, mother worship, aggression... ) the rest of the characters saving his close friend, are caricatures. Unidirectional and completely unidentifiable. So, immediately there is a feeling of aversion that is felt towards the hoity toity.

To make matters worse, the entire story is set in an unrealistic environment. Half the theatre walked out by the time any seriousness got into the movie, understandably.

The story is about an inherently aggressive guy being sent to a boarding school. He develops a few friendships and a few enemies. Gets ragged, falls into love with a crackpot, fights with some overly villainous seniors. The tragedy is senseless, and reeks of desperation on the story writer's part. She just wanted something to happen in an otherwise plain-vanilla storyline. The finale re-confirms this opinion, and you walk out of the theatre with tired smirk.

The good things? Music is passable. Bobo Susi, I feel is the industry's new Iman. He is sure to make music for a few Arjun movies in the near future. The movie is short, in spite of the 5 songs. Location location location... I would have liked to see some wild life. A very ordinary movie trussed up to look like something special. The hype does not hold even for 10 minutes into the movie.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie Review - Kha (Ghaja)

As the movie title says, Kha does not stand for Ghaja.. it should be Gha for Ghaja... but as Thamizh does not know the difference between Kha and Gha, it cannot be found fault with.

Kha for Ghaja starts with a bang... not the bang that you hear during Diwali, but the bang that you have accounts in. The hero is not shown for the first few minutes.. (director's fear ofcourse... but why fear the inevitable?). The robbery goes as planned and we are shown the beast responsible. VNR (The non de plume of the writer / actor / director / audience) for this magnum opus may never want the populace to know its expansion... but nevertheless fills the screen for the first time. To borrow an expression.. "What chas been seen, cannot be unseen". I would not even hire the auto, if he was an auto driver. Let alone watch his movie.

I have a theory about such movies. See, there are areas in and around Chennai city that have increased in property value a few thousand times. Like for example, some land near Vedandhangal, which no self respecting Chennaiite would even throw garbage on, has increased from 10 paisa per square foot to 3000 psqft. So there are guys who have 30 acres of land here do ? They sell the land, and make Kollywood movies with that money.

They have their disproportionately overgrown sons cavorting around with heroines who look like Ennatha Kannayya in drag. They have storylines that will appeal only to BA history students in Pachayappa's Kalloori... and that too only in the afternoons. They release it in theaters whose seats are fossilized cockroach ejaculations and whose owners use the theaters as tax shelters for the tea shop they have outside the theater.

Ka (Ghaja) is the king of all such movies. I think the guy's father sold the land that not even a cow would piss on... for a few crores, built a hideous looking bungalow, painted it dark magenta and made this movie out of the savings got by painting the inside of the house Agsarcem's Gobi Kalar. Watch this movie if the only other option you have is to spend your time in Bricktop's pigsty.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Movie Review - Mariyadhai

Why is Mariyadhai like IPL 2?

What do you expect in a VJkanth movie? He has to be a police officer/RAW official/CBI honcho. There has to be a humongous entry fight with a seething captain making 3 lorries spontaneously combust by just looking at their gas tanks. It should have a few gratuitous mentions of Baagisdaan Theeviravadhigal, bees with radio collars that can obey only captain's eye commands and spectacular stunt sequences with captain and victims jumping across continents. And ofcourse a bevy of big-busted heroines irrelevant to the storyline, being charmed out of their clothes by a scorching hot captain.

But then we get Mariyadhai, an excuse for a Vijayakanth Movie... pretty much like IPL season 2 goes for a 'Cricket Tournament'. Imagine Vanathai Pole (The most aggressive thing in that movie was captain's ear hair...), Then imagine Vanathai Pole written by Mahatma Gandhi. That is Mariyadhai. Sad but true... a movie that was released just for sake of the election, and nothing else. Pretty much like IPL was scheduled in South Africa just because of the elections in India. An inefficient, apathetic exercise that fails to inspire even an iota of fervor in the average cricket lover.

Mariyadhai is so bad, that Captain is played down to the extent that the two heroines collectively aggregate more screen time than both his roles. Both heroines are deeply involved in the storyline and are not treated like how a dog treats a lamp-post. Captain's senior role does not even have nose hair... forget ear hair! Captain junior even wears white instead of his usual shades and wear a dhupatta (!!!!) in his love songs. No coolers... no gel... no long coats.. and no bling. The blasphemy! The only thing that hints at the captain we know is when he muscles in a few b-boy moves in the dance with the jasmine girl... in some far eastern country.

Do not watch this movie if you are the average Vijayakanth fan. Captain has been reduced to just a caption... in Comic sans, size 7, pale pink colour. At the end of the movie I felt the only parigaaram for making this movie would be for Gautham Menon to direct Vijayakanth in an inter-gallactic cop thriller. Maybe GM can finish his Cop Trilogy with that idea. But then we don't live in Utopia !! We have IPL2 :-(.