Saturday, October 02, 2010

Endhiran almost there, but not there

(Spoiler alert)

Back from Endhiran... It was like two movies in one. The first half had a taut script, It had Indian standard CG, Sujatha's intelligent writing being very visible (Fallibility of Inference Engines, Prime number, etc). It had "the pulse"... Second half was witless,trivial and long, It had Rajini's excellent performance and painstakingly created incredible CG, but it didn't have "it".

A R Rahman's work was unremarkable. Songs as MP3s worked in the context of being Rajini movie songs. But BGM doesn't work. Can't remember any other movie in the past where AR Rahman's BGM not adding anything to a movie.

In summation, what could have been coming up of age of Indian cinema ends up being just a valiant effort. Sujatha being alive to write the whole movie could have made all the difference...long live him.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Endhiran / Robot blow by blow account

This is not my review. CNN IBN's movie editor, Subha Shetty Saha posted these as short messages in her site, which I have reproduced here.

Here is the original link

Enroute to catching the 'God' at the press show of Robot at Fame Adlabs, Andheri. The fear of riots after the Ayodhya verdict, thunder and rain, it's almost like Rajinikanth is daring us to brave all odds to watch his movie, tonight.

Waiting. All set. Looks like we have to wait for a while to catch a glimpse of the star the country easily loves the most.

Even tough it is a late night show unlike other press shows which happen in the evenings, the general mood is upbeat and happy.

Almost like everyone is expecting to like the movie already.

Oh oh! Technical snag. 10 more minutes to go before the movies that is the most looked forward to begin. Frown

The director, Shankar, is Rajini's favourite, it looks like, His earlier release Shivaji was also directed by Shankar.

Aishwarya had done a film, Jeans, with Shankar, in the initial years of her stardom. That huge budget film had flopped badly.

The movie begins and the audience actually clapped and cheered when Rajini's name flashed. First time ever I have seen this at a press show!

Ooh! God on screen in the first scene. In a Robot land. He is a scientist.

Ok. There are two 'Gods' in the film. Scientist Rajini makes a robot resembling him.

Rajini at 61 looks no more than 30. Reminds me of the joke he had cracked at the music launch of the movie. His friend when told that Ash was doing a movie with Rajini had asked him, who is the hero opposite her? The friend is in for a shock when he watches the 'young' Rajini.

It's funny and people are laughing every minute. It is a good sign. Robot Rajini is endearing.

The huge budget of the movie shows in the breath-taking locales as Rajini romances Aishwarya.

Aishwarya is looking drop-dead gorgeous but pales in front of Rajini in the charm department. But then can you really blame her?

If anyone can be cooler than Rajini it is the Robot Rajini. He is such a darling. A girl in the movie says. He really is. He is exciting too.

Really really cool scenes with Robot Rajini. Won't reveal and spoil the surprise. You have to see it to believe it. He is called chitti by the way.

A fight scene by Chitti and some goons is so rocking that I can her whistles around me. It is an incredible experience.

Mind blowing action. Only Rajini can do this. Amazing! Amazing!

Unbelievable action sequence in a train scene. Totally edge-of-the-seat stuff.

What makes this film exciting is it is not mindless action, Every second is exciting. Too cool!

Can Robots have feelings? Looking like 'God' will make the impossible, possible again.

A delivery scene just before the interval was absolutely mind blowing.

This is not just a movie. It is an amazing experience. No, I am not exaggerating one bit.

Mulling over popcorn during interval. I wondered why people in Chennai would want to spend five grand for a ticket. But half way through the movie, I believe it is worth that an much more. This coming from a cynical seasoned movie goer like me!

There is an actual scene between mosquitoes and Chitti conversing. Hilarious and creative!

Naina mile... fun song. Mad, mad lyrics.

What ceases to amaze me is the thought behind the idea executed so well.

Double role made so believable. Exciting stuff.

One scene makes you gasp in disbelief and next scene makes your roar with laughter. Every moment is action packed.

If I thought the movie so was was exciting, the climax is making me forget to breathe!

Did you say God is everywhere? So is Rajini. A part of the climax has an army of Rajini lookalikes. Oops! Did I reveal too much?

A line from a song: "purushon ka main raja hoon." We won't dare disagree.

The climax is so simply fantastic that it is indescribable. I am speechless. Super duper cool stuff.

Am thrilled to bits. That's the kind of effect Robot has on you. It makes you come alive, just like Chitthi, the Robot does!

The climax of Robot gives you the kind of thrill that you don't experience too often in life. Miss it at your own risk guys. I am happy, wide eyed and thrilled to bits.

Looks like we have a winner

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Hats of M Balaji, acting and the technical team

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Movie- Raavan. My thoughts

Let me come straight to the point. Raavan worked. For me, it definitely did. If you read further, you will come across spoilers. So if you're the kind that hates to know the story before watching the movie, and if you haven't watched it and you plan to watch it, then you will be well advised to to hit that small cross on your browser tab and say bye, now.

There are a number of things that I liked about the movie. I must admit, I didn't think the trailers were awesome. I liked a few songs and didn't like a few, when the album released. I didn't like what I read after the release. It turns out, the lowered expectations only gave me a great seat to watch the movie and the movie soared.

Yes, I liked the cinematography. Santhosh Sivan and Manikandam have done very well. But that's not the best thing about Raavan. Infact Raavan didn't surpass even Ashoka in camerawork. It definitely didn't out do Dil Se or Roja.

I liked the awesome BGM. The discerning ones among the ARR fans who've seen the movie would be able to recollect the Kannalane's Gum Sum Gum Sum Guppu CHUKK- inspired piece that comes twice or thrice. There is one interlude that reminds Thiruda Thiruda. And there is Jaa Re Udd Jaa Ree which gave me goosebumps when it came with Beera falling in SloMo. And there is this awesome Mangal Pandey like desi beats that run riot each time the Beera gang went on a rampage. But, there are bits where I felt Rahman could have done better. In the Song department, Kata Kataa and Behne Dee are my favorites. The others were good. But I couldn't appreciate Thok De or its placement or its relevance. So clearly, Music is not the overwhelming aspect causing me to care enough to write this review. That said, I have super high expectations from AR Rahman, higher than any other person who is credited for music in movies, and Rahman has lived up. Nice.

What really really worked for me is Maniratnam's brilliance. One thinks Mani has clearly reversed the goodness of the prime character's of Ramayan. Or that is what it seems upon cursory watching. That's what promos and pre release intuition would have us believe. But is that really the case, I beg to differ. If you notice carefully, Dev looks so unidimensional. We hardly adore the character. To top it Dev shoots Hariya. And he wears Ray Ban. And he utters hindi in rubbish accent. We naturally come to the conclusion that Dev is evil. We feel Mani wants us to hate the Ram of Ramayan and has been painfully obvious in his attempt. But look deeper. Did Dev commit any crime. Anything unworthy of a worthy police IPS. He did kill Hariya, but wouldn't it be naive of an IPS officer to let a dreaded criminal's aide go scott free. He could have taken him to custody or could have shot him, Dev chose the later, because Maniratnam was trying to fool us into thinking Dev was bad. I'll come to the polygraph test part later.

Lets come to Beera. Beera is supposed to be a dacoit known for killing police and looting guns for killing police. There is one scene where he is shown burning down a crowd of cops (2+ is crowd, isn't it). He kidnaps the IPS officer's wife to kill her because some khaki wearing people raped his sister. Yes shit happened to his sister. But Shit happens. The raping incident was never shown as Dev's fault. Beera's intentions of murdering Ragini changes only because he has a pretty_girl_jumping_off_the_cliff fetish. He is overcome by lust. From moment Ragini jumps off, his only agenda is to have Ragini stay with him. For all those overly concerned by lack of fear evoked by Bachchan in portraying Beera, he was supposed to act the seducing_married_girl act and not the spine_chillingly_cold_fear_inducing act. So chillax. In my opinion Abhishek Bachan did just fine. The plot mentions but doesn't delve on cruelty of Beera, by choice. Again Maniratnam's way of fooling us into thinking he is simplistically glorifying the Raavan of Ramayan.

Ragini is the witless, naive and fickle character. She falls for a totally_not_ubercool murderer who kidnapped her, gagged her mouth (the close up on Ragini's jaws forced apart by cloth was graphic, un-cool and un-sexy) and who is her husband's arch enemy from beginning. She is naive because the moment she knew that Beera is avenging for his sister, she starts feeling Beera's actions are justified. She is fickle because, at the slightest hint of being slighted by Dev she runs off and does and returns a Jhik Jhik Bukk Bukk to Beera to confess her love. But thankfully, she showed some decency by resisting the temptation of settling in Lal Mati with Beera till Dev takes care of the guilt part by questioning her chastity. If there is a character which is decisively different from Ramayan's portrayal, it is Sita's. Sita was as white as white, in Ramayan.

Do I even have to explain the Polygraph test. Dev never doubted Ragini. He reads Ragini's body language and learns that manipulating her could lead him to Beera. Which he does. Ragini falls for the bait. Dev follows her to Beera and kills him. I have come across reviews where authors have shown excessive concern about the future of Ragini's character after the movie ends. Guys come on, give me a break. She will either divorce Dev and live with her parents or marry again. Or she might even overlook that she was manipulated and go back to Dev. If she does it, in all probability the street-smart Dev would forgive and take the dancer wife back, for the high investment in mirrored bedroom that he has made.

If this version with a good Raavan and a bad Ram were the one that Doordarshan had shown us in scores of episodes in the eighties, Maniratnam wouldn't have had any problem in reversing the characters and showing Ram as good and Raavan as bad. Infact the Ram of Ramayan was guilty of doubting Sita. This Ram is whiter than that. Maniratnam has deftly attempted a double-double cross where ultimately Ram is not bad and a very smart, Raavan is a murderer and lusts married woman and holds married woman in captivity and waits for them to relent with no intention of releasing or killing or raping them, which the original Ramayan is anyways. The character that gets manipulated in all these manipulations is Sita's as I explained earlier. Mani Sir has just given his interpretation of Ramayan without touching the story. In summary, Raavan is a mindgame that is superbly shot and has great music. It is a pity that learned many could never get beyond the slow pace of the first half of the movie.

Dear Maniratnam, if you calculate lifetime value of your customers, us, double the amount that you expect from me. After Raavan, I will pay more to watch your movies irrespective of the reviews. Take a huge bow, Sir.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It happens only in IIM-I

Some time back a few students from France were there in the campus. They were here for a term as part of the student exchange program. In one of the lectures that they attended this thing is supposed to have happened. The following is a simplified version of a true story.

It was early in the morning. Lets say 11:30 Am. A section of PGP2 had a class conducted by our beloved prof X. One of the exchange students from France had an urge to sneeze and let go without following up with an excuse. I wasn't there in that class but I guess the incident must have been followed up with a noisy nose clean up job, if anything. But nothing justifies what followed. Prof X, being the mercurial personality that he is, asked the student to leave the class. I don't know why he did this..lets take it at face value and move forward.

Apparently the French guy thought that it is not okay to sneeze and not apologize in Here. He assumed that he broke some sanctimonious protocol of India. He wrote to the consulate of France to help him out. He thought that the Prof had barred him from the subject altogether. The French embassy followed up with the Indian government which lobbed the issue to the HRD ministry who get back to the institute to reinstate the student.

Will I get in touch with Obama if I burp in the US of A?
Sorry I don't want to see Obama. I could do with a certain Carla Bruni's personal attention.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Familiar Feeling

Last night I was preparing for some quiz. One of those quizzes that happened with an announcement. Being the procrastinator that I am, I postponed preparing for it till 1 am. There were about 100 pages of bland HR stuff to read. All of a sudden feeling became one that's very familiar. The one where one is tired but still has loads of things to finish. Those rare moments where even the most notorious of the nocturnal tissues of the eyes give up. The only option is to crash in bed feeling depressed and unhappy with oneself. Damn when it happens.

This is another in the same lines. There are no submissions to make tomorrow. Time was available in plenty. And lots of long term work pending. One and the most prominent was studying Finance 2. Exams were near and Fin had grown to become a huge Demon. I was very good in Fin 1 but Fin 2 was a different ball game all together. It is like a snake that throws venom the moment you try to go near it. So the plan was to somehow try studying when I had a slight temptation to play a game of cricket in the F block courtyard for 20 mins under the newly attached flodlights. So I called some friends who at first gave a sensible reponse of turning down my offer. I should have stopped then..but no I didnt. Finally we started what was supposed to be a 20 minutes game.

It went on and on and on. When I finally stopped it was 12:20 AM. I lost most of the games, lost the Pepsi bet. Lost energy. Lost the enthusiasm to study fin. Thats when I login to my blog and continue writing from a boring piece that I had left in draft. It is a pity that you had to read it. Sigh.

Monday, March 02, 2009