Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Year

At the end of every year, the Media does us all a huge favour by over analyzing how every year goes by. They replay the rapes, the scams, the wars, the calamaties, the killings, the lootings and the bomb blasts.At the fag end of the year, journalists with their plastic smiles (or in a deeply concerned voice) wish us a happy new year and sincerely hope that the next year will turn out to be good.

By some curious mischance if things actually turn out to be good, half the journalists in this world would have to be sacked. Things have come to a point where nothing is considered news unless its bad news. People who know me well think that I am an eternal pessimist. I think I am just being realistic. I know its December 31st, you dont have to work tomorrow, just another excuse for you to party all night, drink to your liver's content and get high. But thats not going to make your new year any happier. You will invariably wake up late afternoon on the 1st with a really nasty hangover.An indication for the ordeals awaiting you in the coming 364 days.

So lets be objective about 2006 and not succumb to a night's partying and foolishly think that the New Year is going to be all honey and sugar. The best way to forecast anything is look at historical data and look for trends.Have you heard of the adage "History repeats itself". Offlate its been repeating itself with amazing regularity.

Do you know in 1981, Prince Charles married, England won the Ashes series, Liverpool were league champions and the Pope died. 2005 wasn't any different. I hope you see where I am going with this.

So my predictions for the next year.

1.Jihadis will continue with their painstaking efforts in teaching all infidels a lesson. Infidels: Anyone, it can be a Professor, a pregnant woman catching the train to meet her doctor, an office worker busily punching his keyboard trying to add a few more dollars to his company's coffers. Bush will continue his quest of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He might have to ocassionaly kill thousands of civilians. There will be some lives lost, but its all for the greater good of aMericANKIND or America's safety. Michael Moore and the rest of Bush's detractors will make movies,write columns,conduct surveys and opinion polls on how useless Bush is.

2.Mother Nature has been unwinding herself in too many ways in the last few years.I really do not know why Nature wants to expedite our passage to doomsday when we ourselves are furiously at work, constantly thinking of new ways to self destruct. So that gives rise to this multiple choice question,
Will 2006 bring us.....
A. An Earthquake
B. Flash floods
C. A Tsunami
D. A Hurricane/Cyclone
E. All of the above

3.Politicians will continue to be caught in compromising positions on Candid Camera. Scams of all sorts will be unearthed. We have already seen a gamut, from guns to fodder to coffins to something as simple as asking questions. So what if we cannot send a man to the moon, our politicans will continue to be imaginative and explore unchartered territories in their own way.

4. The media will continue targeting celebrities and will go beyond the call of duty to find out who sleeps with whom. Big B will end up doing 30 odd films. Rajnikanth will feature in another blockbuster. Vijay fans will continue lapping up his 5 gaana songs, 3 fights and mother/sister sentiments. Malika Sherawat will better her record of 17 kisses on screen.Tear inducing soap operas and artificial reality shows will register high TRP ratings.The Australian cricket team will beat the crap out of everybody. Federer, if he is out of form, will win 2 out of the 4 slams. If he is on song then he will go on to win 3 out of 4 slams.

5. The sexually starved Indian urban male will strike once again in one of the Indian Metros.The media will go bonkers for 3 days. They will ask all sorts of questions to all sorts of people about the lack of respect for women in this country. While the media play the role of crusaders, there will be 100s of women silently suffering a similar plight in the remotest corners of India. Think about it "Rape in Pallipalayam" does it sound newsworthy? "Call center employee raped in Banglore" now thats what is going to keep you tuned to your TV set in between all the cola and tooth paste commercials.

6. India will continue to be extremely concerned about moral degeneration of its society by pointing fingers at tennis players wearing short skirts and actresses expressing their opinions on premarital sex.Police officers who took 2 decades to catch Veerapan will continue to "do their duty" by roaming beaches, parks, restaurants and hotels by castigating couples for walking/sitting/standing together.Self righteous journos will splash pictures of men and women in private parties on their newspapers to sell a few extra copies.

Now to the other routine things,

Petrol and Gas prices will increase.
There will be some train accidents and Lalu will set up an enquiry commission as usual.
CTS, Infosys and TCS will hire thousands of people.
Its too early to say if Sania will win a slam but she is sure to get a couple of fatwas.
Some movie will run into troubles with the censor board or a religious outfit for inaccurately representing minorities.
Delhi will become dhilli (remember chennai,kolkota and bengaluru).
The Indian cricket selectors will be just as enigmatic as they have been all these years.

So after carefully reading newspapers, magazines and watching news channels all these years I can confidently say that 2006 is going to be like any other year.

The grass is green and the roses are red....
Hoping against hope, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Review: Kanda Naal Mudhal

Kanda Naal Mudhal from 'Duet Movies' directed by Priya.V, who has assisted Mr.and Mrs. Maniratnam with their movies, has been refreshingly presented despite its tried and tested storyline.

Story = Yesterday's biriyani
Boy-girl always fight....another guy comes into the picture....confusion and chaos which causes too many problems for the girl.....boy helps her out.....boy-girl love.... boy-girl hate.... boy-girl love again....the end

But, Priya has managed to package this wafer line story well. A good set of technicians, well etched characters, some really nice performances and rocking music somehow makes yesterday's biriyani very palatable. Krishna (Prasanna) and Ramya (Laila) had a very unpleasant fight when they were kids. Fate brings them back together again 20 years later, at Krishna's college fest but the unpleasantness continues. A few more years pass by and we are shown Krishna managing a software firm funded by his NRI friend Aravindh (Karthik) who hates marriage(Why do all NRI guys in cinema hate marriage?). Ramya on the other hand works for some company and supports her family. Her family consists of a younger sister who wants to badly marry her christian boy friend of seven years, a kid brother, a hearing impaired father and a really sweet but weak hearted mother (played admirably by Revathy). I think you can make out the story by now.

Now to the performances, the whole movie revolves around Prasanna and Laila.They have shouldered the responsibility very well. Prasanna has some amazingly funny lines in the movie.His perfect comic timing prevents us from realizing the absence of a comedian in the movie.However, he is not Charlie Chaplin throughout the movie. Prasanna brings out the right expressions when he is not able to decide on being selfish and proclaim his love to Laila or remain selfless and help his friend marry Laila. I don't know if its just me, but the way Prasanna carries himself resembles Surya in Mounam Pesiyadhe.Laila looks cute for most part of the movie except for the "Merke Merke" song where she looks absolutely ravishing in a green saree. I never thought Laila could play the role of a 'short tempered head strong girl who has an opinion about everything' so well. I have seen her in movies like Nandhaa where she mostly keeps quiet and in Ullam Ketkumae where even kids found her acting juvenile. So this was a pleasant surprise.I guess the director should again be credited for lending a whole new dimension to Laila's acting capabilities.Lakshmi who plays the role of Ramanima,a mother who will not rest until she sees her NRI son get married, raises a few laughs. Revathy plays Laila's mom with consummate ease that one can expect from such a seasoned actress like her.Karthik who plays the role of the NRI guy doesn't have much to do in the movie, he has a few scenes in the first half and then reappears at the very end of the movie. He doesn't overact and does what is required of him.

The movie has its share of flaws.Though all the characters seem realistic there is no plausible reason for their existence in the movie. The scene leading to the climax where Prasanna and Laila want to find out what's running through each others mind was an absolute joke. I have never seen people walking on the highway and talk about how they feel for each other when hundreds of monsterous lorries and buses are zooming past them. The dialogues in the highway scene (especially Laila's dialogues) makes you feel like tearing your hear apart.Sample this, " Yen nabanum nee, yen edhiriyum nee..." .It was more like a poetry recital, apart from people like Kannadasan and Vairamathu you wouldn't find many who can wax their eloquence in such a grim situation. I felt that the director hurried with the climax.Its a text book ending, I don't know how she muddled it up.

Yuvan Shankar Raja once again is top class. "Ilayaraja's son" will soon give way to "Yuvan Shankar Raja's father".Ilayaraja's shoes are really huge to fill but YSR who has a distinct style of his own seems to be getting there. P.C.Sreeram cranks the camera, and it didn't look any different from the other movies being released (which goes to say that all Tamil movies are well shot and technically slick). Priya, the debutante director does a really good job if one discount the climax. In this day and age where "Kollywood" is about king sized egos, its nice to see someone like Prakash Raj to have the guts and back a debutante woman director and a relatively inexperienced star cast. On the whole, this movie despite its predictability has been well executed and is a welcome change from the "3 fights,2 gaana songs,father/mother/sister/brother sentiment" formula. Some really enjoyable performances and well tuned songs makes it a worthwhile trip to the theatres. Its one of those movies that you have to watch with your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife.(People who know me, don't worry I went with three fully grown men and NO I am not into that).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hurricane Mupaatha!!!

There has been a series of rain storms tormenting Chennaites and denizens of Tamil Nadu in the last 6 weeks. These hurricanes seem to be never ending. Just when you think that you have seen the last of the mupaathas, Bay of Bengal conjures a brand new Miniamma. I am tired of going to the office soaking wet. It especially takes a toll on your mental and physical well being when " the concerned authorities" in your office believe that a soaking wet employee would be VERY productive when you make him freeze in a centrally air-conditioned room. Actually, coming to think of it, it has increased my productivity levels. My frequency of visits to the rest room has doubled in the last month. If there are any tests like Arctic Circle Certified Eskimo, I think I would ace it.

Every morning I leave my home 'smartly'(please, my blog is the only place where I am given the liberty of associating myself with such adjectives) attired, looking forward to do some kili josiyam (an impolite way of saying market forecasting) with the North American enterprise communications market. I step out of my house, and I see a puddle of water lying between my house gate and the road. I try my best to long jump to the dry road (onlookers have mentioned that my run up and movements resemble Carl Lewis). 9 out of 10 times I manage to make the jump and save my leather shoes. Then the next big ordeal is to reach the auto stand dry. The only way I can do that is walk in the middle of the road as walking on the sides of the road makes me feel like a small fish in a HUGE pond. Now, walking on the middle of the road is not very easy as there might be this occasional kuppathotti vandi (garbage van) that will appear suddenly. One has to be extremely alert in such a situation as you will only have seconds to decide on your altered course to the auto stand. Lunging towards the right side of the road or the left side of the road should depend on the shallowness of the puddle on each side and your high jumping capabilities. High jumping because, you wont have the luxury of free space to take a run up to gather momentum and cross the puddle. 6 out of 10 times I manage to take the right decision and lunge my way to safe and dry land. Its very tough to do and you get better with practice. On reaching the auto stand, if I am still dry, I thank God for his divine mercy and start haggling with the auto-driver. Auto drivers these days just need a reason to charge you an exorbitant fare (the last absurd one that I heard was Sourav Ganguly not making the one day team). So the rains have made them double their usual fares.

So, now on getting into the auto I am resonably pleased with myself and I begin to entertain visions of reaching my office perfectly dry. But life is cruel my friends, I found out that the chances of getting wet inside the auto is double than walking the same distance by foot.The auto stops being an auto and gets converted into a motor boat once we reach the main roads (you should consider yourself lucky as long as the auto doesn't turn into a submarine, it has happened quite a few times in areas like Tambaram). Bright motorists rev up their engines and hit their foot on the accelerator pedal so hard that displace half the water on the main road into the auto. So the only way of avoiding the water is by sitting on the center seat, removing your shoes and placing it on the boot of the auto and rolling up your pant. When I step out of the auto on reaching my office, I look like the farmers shown in vayalum valvum (agricultural programme) on DD, wet and muddy. Instead of having paddy in my hands I will be having my shoes in one and my bag in the other.
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