Thursday, June 28, 2007

SIVAJI - an extravagant crap

Sivaji, the recent over-hyped movie, has been released and churning money everyday (A Rajini movie as expected). What is really there in this movie for an extravagant expenditure and tons & tons of people falling for it? I really dont know the answer.

Story goes like this.. A software engineer returns to India from the US with enormous amount of money to start an university to serve the public. Compromising on his principles, the protaganist bribes the government officials to clear the hurdles. Subsequently, the hero goes bankrupt and disinters the black money from billionaires. Converting this black money into white (a thought provoking process ofcourse), he fulfills his dream. To add spices to this 4 line story, the hero dies and comes back to life in a different identity to kill the antagonist.

Amidst this, the hero falls in love with a common girl and marries her. Shreya has done a goody goody role in dancing with the Superstar for alluring tunes and shedding some tears in few scenes. Also Rajni has tried to attract the mass with his inane comedies in the first half of the movie. Enough dissapointments for someone who expects a unique stuff (like Mudalvan etc).
Shankar, a high budget director, have maintained his trend with a skyrocketing film budget. Extravagant expenditure on song backgrounds, costumes, etc etc. Rajini's young makeover is noteworthy, especially the tonsured makeover. When the audience are getting used to his old age looks, this movie has broken the preconceived images.

In general, the movie has quenched the thirsty fanatics of Rajni. And as usual, Rajni has attracted the crowd with fierce action movements and unreal gravity controlled camera sequences. But this movie doesnt deserve an extreme hype that was given.

In short, sivaji is an stereotypical Rajini movie garnished with extravagant expenditures.
- Diwakar

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hard Knocks - Chris Benoit - A rant

First of all, I would like to apologise for the rather sketchy tribute to Benoit. And an apology in advance if this article is rather incoherent. In my defence, I am writing this with a splitting headache and coupled with the events over the last 24 hours doubt if I am capable of saying anything coherent right now. I also want to get this done with. So - here goes.
First - Kudos to the WWE for the initial handling of the Benoit tragedy, and a great tribute show.
At the same time - as far as WWE corporate and Vince McMahon - FUCK YOU. The McMahon death angle was the most insensitive, disgusting god damn storyline ever and in an industry with an extremely high mortality rate you bloody pricks managed to undermine every single tribute that really meant something. Also for the suits who decided to pull every single mention of Benoit from the WWE site - once again FUCK YOU. So you got a few complaints for the tribute show. BIG DEAL. After Mae Young, Katie Vick, Dr Heeney and McMahons death do you guys even think that a tribute show to Benoit was going to tarnish your image? OK. Benoit murdered his wife and son. He then killed himself. No matter what his personal life was, Benoit was one of the greatest ever technical wrestlers of all time. Period.
I want to go into the reactions of both WWE and TNA after the details came out.
First, from the WWE show it is obvious - Benoit was highly respected as a wrestler and a human being. For the sake of TV ratings there have been a number of angles that have been insensitive and repulsive. Surely for a tragedy like this the WWE could afford to be politically incorrect.
From whatever is being said about Benoit, I gather that people - those who knew him as well as those who knew him only as a wrestler are stunned that he is capable of this. While his wife had filed for divorce in 2003 citing abuse, the two reconciled with Nancy asking the petition to be dismissed. Also note that he was on prescription steroids at the time. And finally think of Wrestlemania 20 - THAT moment - Benoit, Eddie, Nancy, Daniel - I dare a fan to say that he did not shed a tear - or at least have a lump in his throat.
People do things that they do not intend to do under circumstances over which they have no control whatsoever. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PERSON SHOULD BE JUDGED BY THESE MOMENTS OF MADNESS. I KNOW exactly what I am saying - and I have a right to say it. I have suffered from "Roid rage", and rage in particular. Luckily am off steroids now, and as far as the latter goes professional training such as Landmark Education has helped me a lot. I know what the hell it is to have mood changes that keep you on a high one minute and a blubbering wreck the next - to have anger than urges you to do someone in - to be be in pain that you don't even care if you see the light of day - to have times which are a blank, where you don't know what the fuck you are saying or doing. Yes - these can be treated - but the moments are scary. And the most important thing is that I - as a human being should not be judged on who I really am - not on these moments of fucking insanity. And having a few fair weather friends simply judging me on these few instances than the whole had left a very bitter taste in the mouth which is still there. So when I see the WWE and TNA pulling their tributes, WWE removing every single trace of Benoit from their site - God you bastards I hope you rot in hell. Didn't you pricks hear the wrestlers talk of Benoit? Chavo? Edge? Bret?
Don't you guys even have the sense to understand that what they said about Benoit was as f'n true as what happened on 25th? Again, after being judged and slandererd by a friend who supposedly "knew" me, I guess I shouldn't expect an employer to understand these demons. especially if the employer is Vincent K McMahon.
All I can say is I don't give a rats ass as to what Benoit did on Sunday. Benoit's life should not be judged by a single act of madness. Benoit was a class person who inspired a number of people inside and outside the ring. What he has given to the business is truely amazing. Benoit is a person who can be looked up to not just as a wrestler but as a good man. His legacy is NOT, I repeat IS NOT a few bloody days of insanity.
Again Thank you Chris - Thank you for the memories.
Note. - Referrring to the divorce / abuse in 2003 - Please note it was Nancy herself who asked the judge to dismiss these, including the restraining order. Also note that even their close friends suggest that they were a happy couple. I do not think that Benoits was abusing his wife. I do think that there were episodes of abuse - but they probably to do with his mental state.

Also - if anyone wants to point out that the murders took place over 2 days, the bible placed etc. - Have you ever suffered from roid rage? Mood changes? Depression? If not keep your f'n opinion to yourself.

To all the Benoit Bashers, to TNA, WWE, team, Vince McMahon, the fans who wrote in complaining, the TV Networks, and to the people who decided to apologise for the tribute - Fuck yourselves.

Before I finish - First - No matter what you think of Benoit the man, and whether he deserves a tribute or not, Benoit the wrestler deserves to have a tribute. You cannot ignore what this man has done.

Second - This EXCELLENT column on Lords of Pain by degenerate deserves a mention. I was in tears reading it - it was truly cathartic. The column can be found at this link

- Hari

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Benoit - RIP

21/05/1967 - 25/06/2007

I am in shock as I write this. Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and 7 year old son Daniel were found dead in their home at Atlanta today. Chris was scheduled to wrestle CM Punk for the ECW title on Sunday, 25th June at the Vengance PPV at Houston today. Minutes before the match was scheduled to begin, it was announced that Benoit had to leave to Atlanta due to a family emergency. No details were given. It was announced on WWE earlier today that Chris and his family were found dead at their home. Authorities are still investigating. Tonights 3 hour RAW from Corpus Christi has been cancelled, and WWE will air a tribute show on USA instead.
Chris is - was one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all times, and his matches with Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle etc. will surely go down in history. He was one of those rare wrestlers who could work a good match with almost anybody and a great match with a good opponent. Chris was one of the wrestlers who truly gave to the business. His matches with MVP solidified MVP's status and put him over with the fans.
I still cannot believe that I will no longer see the Rabid Wolverine apply the crossface anymore. Chris is a future Hall of famer and WWE as well as the fans will sorely miss him. I sure will,
Thank you Chris.
- Hari

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Arrah Patsy mind the baby.....Stalky and Co.

This was certainly not what I had originally had in mind, with a host of topics ranging from the Holoucast to Hamilton's pygmallion story to Jisatsu Saakuru but after a chat with my friend yesterday, sat up reading Kipling's Stalky and Co. yesterday for i guess the zillionth time. The book is like a vintage wine.....gets better with every reading.
First off, this is NOT your usual school story. While mentions of Eric and St. Winifred's (especially Eric), are scattered throughout the book, there is no sermonising or cut out characters who are either black or white. Everybody from Stalky to Mr.King are made of liberal shades of gray. Couple that with Kipling's unique style and we have a book that is sheer class. As I mentioned this book cannot be compared to traditional classics like the above two by Farrars or Tom Brown's schooldays. Neither does Kipling glorify the anti hero as Crompton does with William. The very setting is not the usual English public school but rather a public limited company where the parent's are also shareholders and most of the kids trying for the army for whom the barracks is a home away from home. Unlike in Eric or Tom Brown, Kipling does not make heavy weather of the usual schoolboy vices like drinking or puffing on a cigar. Kipling merely accepts this as part and parcel of school life and moves on. In sharp contrast to the other books is Kipling's moral code too. Stalky is extremely relieved when he does not have to tell a lie to his peers but has no scruples of pulling the legs of his masters. The attitude of the head too, is truly amazing.....a downy bird indeed!! The whole book deals with the escapades of Stalky, Beetle and McTurk, and the war they wage against authority - masters and prefects. The retribution that follows when anyone crosses their path - with punishment suiting crime is hilarious. The scenes when the masters hear the "putrid talk" and recognise it as variants of their own leaves you howling with laughter, as does the private battle waged between Beetle and King.....the final encounter where the Latin paper is printed incorrectly due to Beetle "helping" the printer unkown to him, and the chaos that follows is sheer class. And unlike other school stories, the finale where Stalky is absent and the rest narrate his encounters in the army...ah.....i do not have enough superlatives.
All in all, while this may not go down as a traditional school boy classic, true aficionados of the genre will no doubt count this among their favourites. A must read.

- Hari

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Phony Cinemas

I was just wondering how herculean would it be if I happen to watch a person thrashing almost 20 brawny individuals in reality. Sounds cinematic..right.. It is possible only in cinemas. A lean fellow knocking everyone who stands against him, an age old person smacking down muscular men in no time, what not..everything is possible in big screen for a simple reason of emphasizing a heroic image. Telugu industry seem to be a king and a trend setter for these.

Tollywood, an industry new to me (saw few telugu movies of late), is no different from the commercial Tamil movies but I found it more repulsive when it comes to these unreal and unimaginable action sequences which were aggrandized to a great extent. Gravity controlled shots, heroes flying in unwonted gestures, smashing a whole city in no time, totally unaffected even after stabbing with a poisonous knife, what not.... Everything for a single reason that hero is always unstoppable. Even he is a human right....Do directors think public will accept anything when a tag named "ABOLISHING EVIL" is attached? Are they aware that these unfathomable actions at times became hilarious? (Vijayakanth's and Rajinikanth's movies)

It is high time for a dose of reality. I do accept that a commercial movie can't be taken without a wild and violent action scenes. But that shouldn't mean everything should be unimaginable. Action sequences can be handled with a tinge of reality.

Further to this, when such a movie is a box office hit in one industry, the same thing is carried over in the name of remake. Vijay, Simbu, Jayam Ravi, etc.. are branded as commercial heroes and are well known for their remakes & adaptations. Very few good movies are remade in other languages that too only after adding spices in the name of fights, hero introduction, mass attraction. (Manichitrathazhu remade as Chandramukhi with too much extra spices). A successful monetary return after the release of a stereotypical movie is good enough criteria for a remake. Are the directors running out of fresh stock and innovative storylines? Do they think they can't attract crowd without a stereotypical framework?

These questions remain unanswered as usual.

- Diwakar