Sunday, August 27, 2006

Vettaiyadu Velaiyadu - A Fan's Review

It has been a long wait for Vettaiyadu to be released and the wait was worth every damn minute as Kamal Hassan shows us all, yet again, why he is India's finest actor. Directed by Gautam, the movie is the second in what is to be a trilogy of cop movies. The movie starts with a disappointing fight sequence - but all is forgiven as we soon realise that the sequence was just set up for the FANTASTIC opening number karka Karka. The start of the movie shows a DCP's daughter going missing and Kamal (Raghavan) being called in. After some fine detective work (I cannot believe I am finally using these words in a Tamil Movie), the butchered body is dug up. The DCP and his wife leave to NY where they are executed. Here starts the hunt. The first half is set in New York with Raghavan collaborating with the NYPD and FBI to try find the killers. The detective work and forensics shown are fantastic and are a welcome change from the usual gang killings shown. The identity of the killers is revealed towards the interval and only a stray sentance suggests that we are dealing with a psychopathic duo. The second half is set in India with an edge of the seat manhunt that culminates with the elimination of the killers. It is refreshing that both the policeman and the killers are actually credited with brains as well. The kind of traps set for the killers is a treat for those even remotely acquainted with criminology. While I have absolutely no need whatsoever to talk of Kamal's histrionic ability, Daniel Balaji as the psychopathic doctor is the surprise package. Fantastic performance. Jyothika impresses with her dignified portrayal as Aradhana. The romance is well handled as is in a Kamal movie. Gautam's touch is evident, and if the movie is a tad remniscent of Kaakha Kaakha, well, it is an open secret that Raghavan is just a more mature and older version of Anbuselvan. The psychology is rivetting and the manhunt has you rivetted to your seats till the last minute. Scenes such as when kamal tells Jo to cancel the tickets, when he calls the killers homosexuals, and when he calmly breaks Ila's neck and simply throws out is arms will stay in one's mind for a long time. Some of the explicit scenes such as the naked body are quite disturbing, though censored partially. The Paartha Mudhal song is absolutely wonderful and is a visual treat. Ravivarman's camera work is AMAZING. Background music by Harris Jeyaraj impeccable as usual. It is only unfortunate that they could not have got into the minds of the killers a bit more deeply and that the homosexual card was not played up to full effect. The final verdict - while this is not an Anbe Sivam or a Hey Ram, the movie is most certainly a fantastic commercial flick. For those people who keep bemoaning the state of the Tamil Film Industry - GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It is the responsible filmgoer's DUTY to ensure these kinds of movies are hits. What happpens otherwise? Nothing much. Just the usual plethora of Thambi's and Gilli's. On a personal note am extremely happy that my last Kamal movie I would be seeing in India is of the calibre of Vettaiyadu.

- Hari

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Nuremberg Trials

Coming after seeing Downfall, couldn't help but think of the Nuremberg Trials of 1945. It has always disturbed me that the Allies chose to try the various Nazi leaders for " war crimes ". Even more disturbing was Churchil's frank statement to war reporter Q Reynolds that if he won the war, Hitler would be tried and put to death. Now with the judgement already passed, where is the question of a trial? I do not mind the allies declaring that as the victors, they had every right to kill the Nazis. After all, to the victors belong the spoils. But to do so under the garb of morality brings the bile up to my throat. Let us take a look at the track record of the allied powers before and after the great war.
Britain - Colonization of India, USA, South Africa. Racist aparthied policy in SA. Jallianwallah Bagh - India, and the subsequent pensioning off of Dyer. Their policies in India that would have violated any human right's charter. (Just to name a few.)
USA - The segregation policy. KKK - aided and abetted by southern states. Korea. Vietnam.Bay of pigs. Iraq.
Israel (HAVE to include this to show the forked tongue of the jews.) - Terrorism in Palestine.
USSR - 20 millian russians and jews exterminated by Stalin. Polish annexation.

Now, which of these countries had the right to take the moral high?

- Hari


After being hyped by Sathyam Cinema for the last two weeks, their latest pure cinema offering Downfall, is nothing but a waste of money to a serious filmgoer / person with a keen interest in history. The film chronicles the 18 days between Hitler's last birthday on April 20 1945 to V E Day on May 8. The primary emphasis is on the 10 days till Hitler commits suicide. Based on the book Downfall : Inside Hitler's bunker, by Fest, the movie depicts a shallow one dimensional picture of Hitler as an absolute megalomaniac who has lost touch with reality. Nazi generals are portrayed as corrupt and self serving fools, and the end with the glorification of a scey. who suddenly realises her mistakes almost made me retch. In spite of the directors biased and unfair portrayal, there are a few poigant scenes as when the SS Leader tells the doc that they have to carry on the fuhrer's mission. When the doc asks for a show of hands evey single officer raises his hand. Though the director tries to portray these men as brainwashed fools, their patriotism has to be noted. All in all, for all those who would love to hate the Nazi's, you can watch this movie and come away with a smug satisfaction that you were right about those "barbarians." For people who are as yet not brainwashed by jewish propaganda / are actually interested in the truth - stay away.

- Hari

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quit India

I know this sounds strange after 59 years of independence, but then equally strange was the government decision yesterday to search and frisk students at public spots such as the beach, in response to a threat by the Islamic Students Union. If the government cannot even control these half baked extremists, how the hell do they plan to supress the jehadi militants and professional terrorists like Let?? This kind of fascist opression is way out of line and it is high time the eyeties went back home. It is disgraceful to see the kind of paranoid reaction, reminiscent of mad Texans. If the central and state government need to stop every student and rip out their bikes as a reaction to this "threat", it is high time both the DMK government at the state and UPA government at the center resign and go home. If you cannot control a state, you have no business being in power.
From Simon to Sonia we have two words for you -GO HOME.

- Hari

Monday, August 14, 2006

Re: God is real...unless declared int

Before starting I owe an apology to Sandy for 'lifting' the title from his blog....
But, the blog is totally a response to his!! (so I guess this is justified)

What/who is God? Is it a He/She? Does He/She have a form? Does He/ She belong to a religion?... And many more such unanswered questions!
Accepted, we are the children of a scientific upbringing - we are taught to question everything - never to accept anything at its face value. And I must say, for the lack of ability to ask pertinent questions in other abstruse areas, we keep jumping back to the one area where everything is foggy - even to the greatest of the greatest minds!

To me, God signifies Hope and nothing else. Just think, how many times have we faced situations where we've felt the greatest urge to be reassured - let me describe typical scenarios:
* Your semester results are out and you are glued to your screen, the page is downloading - tell me if you call out to some force then?
* If the above doesnt appeal much to you - imagine the case of a loved one being missing for quite some time - your parents have gone out shopping; they said they'll be back in an hour and its already three hours and no sign of them - do you wish for something then? - dont you say 'let them be back asap and I'll give them a major dressing down'
The hope that you nurture is God. The shoulder to cry on, the solace that you are provided with in times of need is God. The reassurance that you are seeking is God. You might argue that a friend could provide you with all of these and more. But, when you are really down and your friend is trying to cheer you up, dont you feel 'What can he/she do except say all these soothing words? If only it had happened this way' or 'I'd give anything to make this happen'?...If you do, this lamentation of yours is addressed to God.
It is just that often we feel more at ease when we think that 'things cannot be this bad; there will be better times ahead because there is a supernatural force watching over me' and we name this 'guiding/protecting' force 'GOD'.
Is there any religion associated with God? I dont think there is. It is a make-believe world that we create, in order to give our aspirations more credibility. How is it that when JRR Tolkein builds a whole plot as intricate as The Lord of The Rings, with so many fictitious characters, we are ready to buy it, but when the same kind of stories are spun around 'Balakrishna, Kamsa, Rama, Jesus' we question their veracity? Neither is true. The only difference between the two is that the first one is proclaimed to be fictitious while the second one is not - Why? Cos people need to feel secure - It is the inherent need for comfort that makes us cling to our Father - God.
Now, dont say that I am an atheist - I am NOT. I understand that I derive my comforts from the existence of this omnipresent force - I WANT to believe that such a protective armour exists around all of us - I do PRAY every morning and I DO thank Him everyday. I thank the force for not making me one of the many who dont have loving parents and friends, for not making me one of the many who dont get a full square meal everyday, for not making me one of the many who are deprived of education and most of all for loading me with sooooo many good wishes and keeping me safe, secure and comforted. Infact, many of us do this - Does this mean we fear God?
Is there any need to fear God? Is it bad if you are NOT God-fearing?
Lets just take a look at when we DO fear Him - Most of the times it happens when we do things that go against our value system. Have you ever thought how it is that a thing that appears so wrong to you (and merits punishment) is being done with such a free conscience by someone else? It is because the other person has a different set of values. And every time you go against your values you fear that you might be penalised for this - how exactly you do not know - but think again, the fear that you have is NOT that you will be meted out some corporal punishment, your fear is that the next Hope that you have will be crushed. Both are your own creation - the Value System and the Hope! (Is it a math relationship of positive and negative cancelling to give zero? Could be!)

Coming back to Sandy's qn - 'If there is God, why is He letting all these horrible things happen to everyone?' - God CANNOT stop all these calamities, He can only provide you with the Hope that you will escape unscathed.God is a positive ray of hope and nothing more than a force we wish to believe in - Often we need to rest our worries on something more stoic than your friend/parents' shoulder.

Another qn: Does God have a religion? Given my opinion, you shouldn't have a doubt about my answer to this question. The fight over religion is as absurd as a fight over the superiority of Hermoine vs. Harry!

I have a question - Why is there ANY NEED to prove that God exists? If you feel that none of my arguments make any sense, I just ask one question in return - Why do you want to quantify God? Is it necessary that he should be described by an equation ? Is everything scientific out here? Doesn't science itself use the concept of uncertainty - The 'probability' that you will be able to read this blog is 0.7 (just being +ve, lol!) Who is responsible for the remaining 0.3????

- Chandri

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The best first of them all.

People talk of so many first's with delight - The first word, first day of school, first time you are sent out of class, the first date, the first fag, the first drink, first hangover, first night, first job, first salary.............the list is endless.
However there is one first which people do not normally think of, and which in my humble opinion gives you as much a kick if not much more than the rest - your first resignation. It is a wonderful feeling to actually hand in ones papers - a sense of euphoria hits you as you realise you can actually do what you want till your last day - after all, what the hell - they cant fire you, right? And the sense of freedom is heightened by the looks of envy on the faces.
Anyway to quit beating around the bush, on 14th August 2006, I shall proudly and officially join India's millions of unemployed , at least for 45 days, after which I shall unabashedly call myself a student. Ashok Leyland's gain shall be Lancaster's loss.
At the risk of sounding absolutely soppy, I would like to single out a few people I really need to mention.
My mentor Mr P C Balan without whose well timed kicks in the pants it would have been impossible to even think of a future in finance
The director of the MDC Brig. Bhoon - Looking at him, I was absolutely horrified to think that I could end up like him - this only cemented in my mind the need to do my masters.
My first boss Mr T V Seshan - Everytime I would get in a comfort zone and stop thinking of my future, I would be reminded of what a d*ck this guy is and how I really really needed to get the f out.
The service department - The department with the highest employee turnover rate, and we all know why.
My boss Mr M Balasubramanian - It is really tough to imagine a boss who lets you have as much control of your work as this guy. To working at home to extremely flexible hours, it was this man who helped streamline my visa process and it was great working with him since last sep.
Mrs B Radha, Mr Viswanathan and Mr Balaji - Three absolutely great secy's who go out of the way to help you settle in.
Mr SNR - A genuine person who would always be on call to help you in any matter personal or professional.
Mr Srikant Srinivasan - For giving such leeway to a newcomer.
The batch C guys - The best damn batch there ever could be
My friends and colleagues Diwakar, Anandh, Bile, Lindon, Sapta, Koushik, Mushir, Gopi and Neelesh - Guy's who would make the workplace much more interesting than it actually was.

- Hari

The tenets of eccentricity

Man is an eccentric animal. Period. Rational, Social, Political etc. - Maybe. Eccentric - Most definitely. So that is one myth debunked there - no one needs to pretend to be eccentric - as all men are born eccentric.
So, having said that let us lay the basic tenets of eccentricity.

1. There is no connection between the XQ (Eccentricity quotient) and the IQ of a human being. (Just look at our Lok Sabha if you want to prove it - 545 men with the IQ of a tree stump and as eccentric as eccentric could be.)

2. Eccentricity does not recognize political / territorial barriers - Fidel castro, G Bush, Modi - all eccentric in their own way.

3. Inventors, Scientists, Authors, Poets, Artists etc. etc do not have an edge over others in eccentricity. All men are born equally eccentric. They only develop to varying degrees. In the case of the above professions a high XQ is a job requirement and only highly developed professionals can succeed.

4. Sex does not determine the level of eccentricity. (Guys, if you doubt me just look at your girl friend / wife / mom or whatever. Gals, you just look at your bf / hubby / dad etc.)

5. Fame merely produces an oppurtunity to display eccentricity and to finetune it. The people around you might be as nutty as a celeb, they just dont get the oppurtunity to shine.

Finally the person who wrote the piece " How eccentric are eccentrics " must be absolutely bonkers for even thinking about such a piece and yours truly even more so for replying to it.

- Hari

Note : With all POSSIBLE respect to certain carping feminists in the blogosphere - Pl note that the word MEN here should be read as MEN AND WOMEN by YOU wherever necessary. The rest of us normal eccentrics - kindly ignore. This is not meant to be inflamatory / chauvinist / sexist.

Friday, August 04, 2006

How Eccentric Is an Eccentric?

Wats this thing abt ppl dying to be termed 'eccentric'? (ya, Hari is at the corner of my mind as I write this)
It has been my recent fortune to meet one more truly eccentric person. Am not going in to more details about him/her. Suffice to say that the person is AMAZINGLY brilliant and never have I been more impressed by anyone... But rumours are that the person talks to himself/herself etc etc (weird stories runnin around) but the way he/she behaves it is really hard to picture them being anything BUT logical... (first of all a salute to his/her intellectual prowess)
But coming back to what I was writing about, is it true that geniuses are eccentric? Also, if you are eccentric do you belong to the class of geniuses?? Isnt this second qn. the reason why many ppl 'pretend' to be eccentric...?? Who defines eccentricity? What is it to be eccentric????
Can I first have Hari's comments on this before I complete the article???