Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ghajini - Oh God!

A remake of a movie is great as long as it suits the masses. Ghajini is supposed to be a hit, atleast according to the innumerable reviews that has been posted everywhere. What is unfathomable is, how can a movie that defies the basic elements of logic can go on to be a hit? There were just too many illogical moments in the movie, that the whole two and a half hours was left so incomplete.

The four of us had planned to watch this movie for almost a month, and after a steely resolve, we decided to watch it yesterday (luckily one guy couldn't make it!). We had a lot of expectations from the movie. Obviously, people were going ga-ga over this madness. I wouldn't want to narrate the entire plot and relive those three hours of absolute torture. It is supposed to be adapted from a good English movie - The Memento. Of course, there is the addition of these comedy scenes and melodrama. All is fine! Ok coming to the story...Surya is a rich entrepreneur running a cellular service provider - Air Voice. He receives the Entrepreneur of the year award and his photos get splashed across every other magazine in the country. Asin is into featuring in ad films and accidently gives an interview that she is in a relationship with Surya. The story fills the tabloids with photos of Asin and Surya. Their future encounters are supposed to be funny. Sury meets Asin and she does not even realise who the genius is. Doesn't it sound foolhardy? Asin doesn't know about it, the members of the crew don't have a clue about it and I guess nobody seems to have an idea of this wonderful entrepreneur. The audience is supposed to roll with laughter! Due to the subsequent turn of events, Surya suffers from memory loss. He gets to remember only the last fifteen minutes and so he figures out what has to be done through a sequence of pictures. The ending is even more disastrous, as there is a particular scene where Nayanthara gets chased by an entire factory of workers. Oops, I forgot! Nayanthara is a medical college student who should have actually been a detective!

Everything is fine in a movie as long as the logic is not buried. Nobody cares little if the hero of a movie jumps fifteen floors, goes bungee jumping from the first floor or wafts through a tornado, but atleast you got to have some common sense as far as the screenplay is concerned. If there is a defect in the script, it just doesn't help anybody's cause. Surya, as usual has done a wonderful job as far as the acting is concerned. Asin looks pretty and her performance is neat. The less I talk about Nayanthara the better. She was really irritating to watch. Just can't figure out where she put those oodles of fat after Chandramukhi. The screenplay is terrible. The music is too repetitive. I think Harris Jeyaraj has to figure out something new to keep his fans going. Or he has to stop trying to emulate A R Rahman. A R Murugadoss, I am sure must have been impressed by the English movie and it just amazes me how cleverly(!!!) he has adapted to the Tamil masses.

At the end of the movie, we were over and out. We did not have any adjectives to slam the movie. The theme is great but the interweaving elements were miserable. One of my friends rightly summed it up at the end of the movie, I hope I have a memory loss of what happened in the last three hours.

A small world

Part I
I met him in a pretty middle class restaurant at Sai Shakti, Malleswaram, Bangalore. A restaurant that gives a feel of a home with its simple menu and reasonable good price. In front of me was a gentleman, who looked very simple in this simple ambience. What a setting! I was in no mood to strike a conversation with anybody. I was more concerned about my US trip at that point of time. By the way, it was about a month before I got my visa. So, obviously, I had a lot of things running in my head. I was involved in decision making and to be honest, I take quite a long time in taking decisions. As I was gazing in wilderness, I had a voice calling me. I realised that the gentleman sitting in front of me was calling and I had no clue in the world as to who he was. But we struck an instant chord. He was a friendly person, and his experience in life is my age. We chatted about a lot of things. And before I forget to mention his name. He is Mr Mallikarjuna H P, General Secretary, Dedicated Servants Association. The talks ranged over a lot of topics - education, politics and socio-economic issues. That's the end of Part I.

Part II
I had mailed him recently to tell him about my progress in the United States. He told me that he is currently in Dallas with his son and daughter in law. I was only too happy to talk to him again. He was pleased to know about my current status here. We spoke for a long time in Kannada and I also had the opportunity to talk with his family. It is always strange how bonding develops in another country. The mutual love and respect among fellow countrymen is totally different than what is there in the native country. We met, we spoke and we jelled. But the fun is we do the same things, but in different part of the world.

One can just not imagine the global village being transformed into a small world, but the truth is out there or here!

Pretty bad evening!

Sometimes you take sad decisions. After a long wait and much anticipation we decided to watch a movie and Ghajini it had to be. The seemless torture for about three hours filled us with agony for having watched such a meaningless cinema. Imagine leaving your studies, research work, assignments and discussions to watch a movie which leaves a bad taste in the end. But then, not all movies are good (unfortunately!!!)....

Waiting to watch another movie, nevertheless!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy B'day Praveen!

Place : Rolla, MO

Even though it is a pretty late post, I think the blame shouln't fall on me. I was waiting for the birthday pics before I could post my entry on this. If you are wondering what this is all about, this date happens to be my birthday. It was not a great birthday eve. I had sickness creeping in the late evening. A bout of cold along with mild fever made me take some home made Kashayam, courtesy my roommate Ramaprasad! I called up home and some of the relatives, and was flat out by 9:30 in the night. I later realised being dragged from my mattress and Lo and Behold, there were the 1300 dacoits waiting for me with colas and honey glazed buns. I received the birthday wishes from everybody, but then every fun element is associated with spanking. Yeps! receiving birthday bumps from all quarters and from a set of desperate guys to kick somebody at anytime is no joke. Believe me or not, one of them even had his boots on when I had to receive the kicks.

It was a nice surprise from the guys to get something as a birthday gift. Later I realised from them that it was a planning that was done in about a couple of hours!

I think I have this penchant of celebrating my birthday away from home quite a number of times. Last year, it was in Kemmanagundi, with my colleagues from Bosch. That was one of the best trips I have had in a long time. And this time too it was no different. Generally, birthdays do not have a special significance in my life. I feel that it is just another day. In fact, I don't understand the fun and frolic associated with this event. Most of them end up partying the whole night on the occasion. But, of course, birthdays can be a special occasion, if special people call up to wish you. Hey, so who's calling?

Age is a number and mine is unlisted

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Last evening was pretty eventful. As the thermometer was struggling to get the mercury levels rising, the dipping temperature provided us the ideal platform to test our Bajji making skills. The Bajji mavu, potatoes, chillies (rather Jalapeno) and onions were laid on a platter, with one of us cutting the potatoes and onions, and the other making the dough. It is always exciting to try something new and we weren't sure how good the final product would be. Of course, we were smacking our lips by just imagining how good it would be. As the oil in the tava warmed up to a nicety, the potato was dipped into the semi-solidified bajji mavu, propped up beautifully and finally immersed into the frying pan. KccchhhhK! Wow! What a noise! After a long time, it was good to hear the splattering potato in the oil. It was music to our ears. As the bajji emerged out of the frying pan, all of us were eyeing it with a sense of contentment and pride. Obviously! Who gets to make bajjis everyday. The bajji quickly was torn into four pieces and each of us were quick to gulp the miniscule piece in glee. And then, the packet of vadaam (fryums) also emerged from the suitcase. C'mon, if we can make bajjis, why can'y we fry up the vadaam. Yeps! It did sound nice! And so after about 45 minutes of painstaking effort, we had a big vessel containing the delicious jevarisi vadaam and bajjis.

And finally, you must be wondering what BLO-JJI is! Since it is a blog on bajji, the title now I guess must be self-explanatory!

Nevertheless, truly a fully filling experience!

Friday, October 21, 2005


It just doesn't matter how much ever the Professor says - It is a simple 100 marks paper. You will have five questions each of 20 marks. You should ideally be out of the exam hall in half an hour. The effort you put in to prepare for a relatively easy paper is almost the same as that of a tough one. Ultimately, whether the paper is easy or not, the contents can be filled in the sheet only when something is there in the mind. I am a professional as far as writing exams are concerned. Right from my school days, struggling through my Pre-University exams and battling it out in my undergraduate exams, I would have written close to 250 exams (tests inclusive) easily. Life doesn't change though when you are again preparing for an exam, the only difference being now you are writing a graduate exam. Atleast let me get the preparations right! Let's care about the result later!

Just like any other semester, there would be one elusive subject where you put the burden on the Almighty. The maximum efforts are put forth for minimum gain. You try every trick in the book to get your bearings right, but then there would be something or the other that flys off the track (Mostly a lot of things seem that way!). The realisation dawns a little late. Should I have taken this course? Now of course, you have no choice but to turn into a highly God-fearing person!
One good thing about exams is that you are finished with it at the end of the day. And the story actually repeats. Post-mortem that just doesn't shed any light on the returns in the paper and the results that really doesn't make you any wiser!

Premarital sex and Hinduism

It is not everyday that a talk on pre-marital sex can lead to Hinduism and religion. It was just one of those days, where everyone spoke and about a lot of things! How (im)moral is it to have pre-marital sex! It is always good to elicit different views on this rather subdued subject. Obviously, in India it is still a taboo to talk about sex and related issues. No wonder, we get to study the related topics only in the tenth grade and that too not in all the mediums. Imagine a student taking up electronics or computer science in his eleventh and twelfth grade. He would have no formal way to learn about sex. And this is what the majority of the country is into at this time - no person has no definite say in this subject!

So how right is it to have pre-marital sex? Or rather should we be saying Can we talk about pre-marital sex? But being mature enough individuals, it is always good to vent your opinion for/against this topic. What has been subdued for so long should atleast have a common platform to discuss this topic. And so were we, tussling out the nuances of the morality of the issue. There were two set of arguments - Pre-marital sex is nothing wrong if one has a long standing partner and if the person does not intend to cheat his partner in the end. Another one was, Pre-marital sex is immoral be it a single partner or multiple partners. At this point, I could remember a beautiful quote that I had read sometime back Pre-marital sex is like getting a Christmas gift well before Christmas! Considering the kind of society that we live in and the kind of culture that we are brought up in, I would definitely say that pre-marital sex is not a concept that is taken favourably in India. It is altogether different that today's youth have broken the myth of a conservative society and a confined culture extending the limits to beyond the obvious. So there were these two groups, one of which said that Pre-marital sex is good as long as both of them are able to realise their maturity in a relationship and there was this other group: Pre-marital sex is a strict NO NO. According to me, an activity that could result in repentence years after youth should be thought of very well. How far one can go in a relationship should be left to the individuals and it is their maturity and composure that can decide what is good for them for the future!

Now, pre-marital sex and Hinduism? What's the relation? Again there was divided opinion - One of them said that the early Vedas supported polygamy while the other guy said that it was the contrary. Now, one gets to interpret Hinduism in a million ways and everybody seems to have a clear idea of only what he perceives of Hinduism. We have seen the various sects and subsects of Hinduism preach what they think is right and stick to a stand that gets embedded with that set of people. But then, who are we to decide what is wrong or right? How much of Hinduism do we actually know? It is a vast ocean where figuring out a droplet is not at all going to be easy.

At the end of the day, we safely concluded the discussion with Pre-marital sex is not at all a debatable topic.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Nayagan - Work of a genius

A movie made by India's finest director Mani Ratnam featuring the most talented actor Kamal Hassan and having its music composed by the one of the best music directors Illayaraja was very much high on expectations. The product was nothing short of sheer brilliance. Nayagan had got it all right!! It is almost fifteen years since the movie hit the big screen, but even today it is the most talked off movie in film circles. It was supposed to be filmed on the lines of another great English movie, Godfather starring Marlon Brando. A remake from any language is a difficult job, but Mani Ratnam had got the basic elements right to take the movie to the Indian masses. This movie is nothing short of a legend.

The movie starts off in dramatic style with the protagonist Velu's father, who is a union leader is short dead by the police. Velu has not even grown up beyond 10 maybe. He escapes off to Bombay not knowing what to expect from the big city. There he gets to meet his to be long term friend, Selva enacted brilliantly by Janagaraj. His tryst with the underworld dons and popularity with the poor people is the simple theme of this beautiful movie.

Mani Ratnam has chalked out the role of Velu in various phases - as a kid, as a youth, as a middle aged man and finally as the old man. It is easy to visualise Velu in all the roles. It sticks in memory for eternity. As a kid, he avenges his father's death. As a youth, he avenges the death of his father who adopted him and also, starts to grow in popularity among the poor people. He acquires the title of Nayakar. As a middle aged man, he takes charge completely to help the needy, while in his old age, his duels with a strict police commisioner, Nazar is a treat to watch.

There are various scenes in the movie that are unforgettable and some of the dialogues have gone on to become immortal.

Naalu perukku nalladhu seyyanumna edhuvumay thapilla!!! : If you want to help others, there is nothing wrong. This is the dialogue in which the entire theme of the movie revolves.

Avangalellam niruththa sollu, naan nirutharen!!! : Ask them to stop, I will stop. When his daughter confronts him and asks him to stop all the misdeeds, this dialogue is quoted.

There is a scene where everybody bear the brunt of the police to save Nayakar. When Nayakar is about to surrender to the police, Selva comes up with a statement Ippo poi surrender adaindha, ivvalavu per seththadukku arthamayilla(if you go and surrender now, there is no meaning for the death of all these people) for which Nayakar comes up with an equally stunning statement ippo poi surrender aalayna, iththana naal senjadhukku arthamayilla illama poidoonda(if I don't surrender now, then there is no meaning for what I have done all these days)

And of course, the dialogue at the very end of the movie, Nee nallavara kettavara requires no words to express the beauty of the dialogue, and this is so famous that even the English translation is not required.

According to me, it is very difficult even for a versatile actor like Kamal Hassan to beat his performance in Nayagan. The scene in which he cries when his son is dead is one of the most brilliant scenes. Even Sivaji Ganesan, another versatile actor of his era was stunned by the performance of Kamal Hassan. In every scene, one gets to witness his acting prowess. What can one say as far as Mani Ratnam's direction is concerned. His directorial skills was never questioned and as far as this movie was concerned, he had hit the pinnacle of glory. Only a skilled director like him can bring about such a beautiful sequence to stitch this masterpiece. Illayaraja's music is nothing short of sheer brilliance. The title track of the movie Thenpaandi Seemayile is nothing to beat. The background score of the movie entirely revolves around the backdrop of this title track and not once is it boring. This movie is an epic as far as Indian cinema is concerned. The pulse of the audience is tested to no limits during the flow of the movie. Even the ending of this movie is highly realistic.

Today we have seen many movies that revolves around mafia and the underworld, but I am not sure whether any of them can come close to this greatness crafted by Mani Ratnam. I have watched this movie close to a twenty times, and I try to catch glimpses of this movie even today, when it is played on tamil channels.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Black Friday - Haunting

The real backdrop of a typical hindi movie cannot be complete without these messy elements - songs, dance sequences, more songs, more dance, hero meets heroine, love against all odds and finally ending up a in a marriage sequence that can be befitting only to Hindi cinema. Many directors have time and again made it miserable for the Hindi movie audience and the mental truama associated with the cinegoer is unimaginable. But there are some directors who break the norm associated with Bollywood and come up with something unconventional and sensational leaving the audience gasping for breath. These directors can be packed to an elite class and Anurag Kashyap invariably finds his name cemented in this league of extraordinary gentlemen.

Hussain Zaidi's book, Black Friday hit the stands depicting the 12th of March, 1993 Mumbai blasts, one of the many unforgettable days in Indian history. And so did Anurag Kashyap's film based on the book was made. I refrain from using the phrase hitting the stands simply because the Supreme court of India passed a ruling staying the release of the move as it might affect the judgement in the case. This may sound ridiculous, but then we are upheld to act in accordance to the Court of Law. Anurag Kashyap has potrayed the grim realities of that ill-fated day, where hundreds of people were killed in the bomb blasts that engulfed the commercial capital of the country. Life hit a standstill as bombs exploded in all the important places in the city. The rest of the world watched with bated breath as Mumbai catapulted to one of the worst disasters of the century.

The film is all about the Mumbai blasts and the investigation that takes place in the aftermaths of the bomb blasts. Slick editing and narration, coupled with highly realistic facts makes it interesting to watch. Even the characters are sensationally real. No aliases used in the entire movie. The names are used indiscriminately to potray facts as facts. That is highly difficult considering the kind of circumstances that we live in today's society. This movie not only deals with the Mumbai blasts from the investigator's perspective but also gives a clear perspective of what the terrorists really undergo after such an inhumane attack. The director has to narrate the events from a diverse cross-section. The points emerge from the investigation department headed by Rakesh Maria, enacted brilliantly by Kay Kay, Tiger Memon enacted by Pavan Malhotra, Dawood Ibrahim, the pawns of the big guns who implement what is entrusted on them and then of course, from the lay man's perspective. The way the director juggles with the views of all these different narrative points to build a coherent structure, and breaking the boring conventional norms of tortuous cinematic sequences to build a racy encounter supported by facts and only facts leaves the audience witness the excruciating pain that hit the country on Black Friday.

The cast is held together by a set of low-profile actors, headed brilliantly by Kay Kay. When realism is depicted the way it is, the cast has to be equally appealing. Each scene unfolds to a shock and the viewer is fed with events, that gets real all along and and the viewer is in a tough position to digest the innumerable events that gets streamed in each scene. Black Friday ends on a powerful current of Indian Ocean's Bandeh, a phenomenal song that fits the backdrop of the blasts.

Anurag Kashyap hit the limelight with beautifully crafted dialogues for RamGopal Verma's realistic Satya. But jinxed that he is, his Paanch suffered the wrath of the censors. It remains to be seen whether he gets the chance to get this movie to the forefront of the Indian audience, as this is one movie that should not be missed nor messed with!!