Wednesday, December 30, 2009


December. Work shut-down. Vacation. Chennai. Morning. Elliot Beach. Walk/Run...

That sets the context. When we are in Chennai during the annual december vacation, we love to go to the Elliot's beach (in Besant Nagar) and enjoy the early (or late) morning ambiance. That is also the time, I run and walk, sometimes on the tiled side-walk, service side-walk, on the sands, and sometime close to the waves.

I've this habit at times, after I run the length couple of times, I tend to look for the foot-prints that I've left behind in my earlier lap and see if I could recognize those. I typically look back as I run to see what imprint my shoe-soles leave and try to match those fresh-ones to the earlier ones... Needless to say, I most often fail to even find a foot-print from the previous lap - in the cornucopia of several thousands of other footprints. And as you are running, the mobility makes it much more tougher...

As I was doing that this morning, it kind of struck me - the greatness of people like Gandhi, Lincoln et al, who have their footprints firmly etched ! I'm sure their journey/run was a million times tiring than a 7.5K run !

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kaminey - Movie Review

A pretty good movie. Considering its a Hindi movie, where run-of-the-mill mushy movies or overly macho gangster movie typically works, this is much more well made and well acted.

The story itself is not very deep, but it has been adapted to a very taut screen-play with excellent editing and direction. All the actors do justice to their roles. Although Vishal Bharadwaj is said to have stated that the movies is a tribute to Quentin Tarantino, this movie is neither dark as QT's nor have the funny lien that a Guy Ritchie's movie has - the other guy's creations with whom this has been compared with . It could be placed in that genre with multiple story-lines interwoven giving a good enough time, but taut, for the characters to develop.

It does hold the viewers in thrall and doesn't overly insult their intelligence by going overboard on emotions (except, probably, for the Mikhail's role). Shahid Kapoor is quite brilliant in both the roles - he was quite a revelation; and has shades of Tom Cruise in some of the scenes. Priyanka Chopra as Sweety is different and has done justice to her role, rather than just being a doll.

If you are a fan of such a genre, watch it - you'd enjoy it. However, I'd place this movie a notch below to that of Omkara, which had a bit more of heavy cast with a higher star value.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Run !

This is not about the movie, Run by Madhavan or Mr.Rai.

I had, for long wanted to run... I, infact, wrote about it on this blog a few years ago as Elevators and had an "Elevator Count" at the top of the blog. Then, as Confucius said, sh*t happened - one after another - knee, ankle, tummy, calf etc... (tummy problem, being just that - the usual middle-age problem :) ).

But, sometime in my life, I'd still like to run a mini-marathon... I know the window is ever-s0-surely closing. I have started running on treadmill - but one of my friends who has discovered running had told me that running on roads is altogether a different challenge... So tried it out today after a long long time (maybe 5-6 years). It was good, although a bit hot, but it was good. I did about 4.3K in about 40 minutes. The goal is to get to 10K and I'll be done ! The plan is to run on the treadmill during the week-days (twice) and run on the roads on Sunday...

Lets see how it goes...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Random Thoughts...

...I somehow am getting to a conclusion or a philosophy: To lead a contented and satisfied life, not just materially happy, but emotionally too, I've to have a cause that 'is just beyond me and greater than my own well-being alone'. Basically, work for something that is greater than ourselves...

...Something tells me that I'm thinking that Nadal/Federer may not meet again in a Grand Slam final. Looks like this year Nadal is out - with the knee issue, am not sure how much pounding he can take on hard courts. Given Murray's improvement, I believe, next year, Nadal and Federer will alternate, Federer may reach 1, Nadal 2 and neither 1. The year after, in 2011, Federer no finals, Nadal a few. So, go ahead and reach for the tapes of the 2008 Wimbledon and 2009 Australian open.

...I am reading the Art of War by Sun Tzu - interesting. As previously noted by many experts, a lot of concepts that could be used in today's business - probably would blog once I'm done with it

...Some fat asses in BCCI is piling on Kirsten for his comments on Indian team and fatigue. These asses have criticized Kirsten about talking about fatigue after the T20 world tournament and not before ! Wtf are they thinking ? Do they think Kirsten (or anyone else in his place, and one who has no control on scheduling) would say that the whole Indian team is fatigued before the tournament and thus demoralize the troops even before they go into battle !

...Pakistan has won the T20- Jai Ho to them - However, wonder how much of a balm could this be to that nation

...Talking about "Jai Ho", I see the whole country going ga-ga over Rahman's Oscar for that. Couple of questions for all (1) Do we really believe that Jai Ho would have won the best song, if the Slumdog Millionaire (as a movie) itself had not garnered so much attention (2) and more importantly, how many of us really think that Jai Ho is the best Rahman's composition ? Really !

...Just found out a few days ago, that கூகிள் ஈமேஇளை உபயோகித்து தமிழில் கடிதம் எழுத முடியும் என்று. என் அம்மாவுடன் communication சுலபமாகி விட்டது.

....Interesting thought: There are always events that gives one a lot of hopes - then something comes along that dashes those hopes. Its a a sinusoidal wave - for every crest, there is a trough that pulls it down. Then it stuck me, what if I think differently: Its probably after every trough there is a crest that pulls me up !

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An absorbing movie !

Watched the movie "Crash" recently. I did expect the movie to be good, but did not expect that, it would be this good. The movie is a study of various play and by-plays between various ethnic groups in an highly charged LA environment. It is an amazing take on the subject of racism - eventually, it comes down to the fact racism is not about the differences in the physical appearances, but within our own mind on how we perceive and assume the other to be. An excellent and taut script with several separate characters and events moving towards a point, where they are intricately inter-twined. 

Even though the movie starts off with negativity, where every character appears to be racist, when put on the line of fire, most of them tend to do the right thing. There are several stand out scenes, acted and emoted in an outstanding way - where the racist policeman (Matt Dillon) pulls out his earlier victim (Thandie Newton) from the burning car after having felt her up the previous day in a stop, where the Shaoun Toub (Persian storekeeper) goes to shoot the locksmith (Michael Pena) and both are saved by the impenetrable cloak of Pena's 5 year old daughter, Terence' Howard (as the man whose dignity was violated by Dillon on that stop)'s second brush with the police. Actually, come to think of it, there isn't one frame that is wasted in the movie - most absorbing !

The thing I thought as I was watching this movie was - there is too much anger/angst in every character - their starting point of interaction with the other is mistrust. And towards the end, Sandra Bullock echoed that :-) All in all For people who liked this style of movies where multiple story-lines come together (Pulp Fiction, Traffic, Babel, Syriana or my own story - mysterious ways :-) ), this is a movie to watch. I would place this movie much much higher than those; and I'm a Pulp Fiction fanatic; but I believe for sheer movie making this is a must-watch. Highly riveting.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mysterious Ways...

Ganesh was in a hurry. He just saw the bus 83 go towards the terminus, which was about 3 (or 5, depending on the driver/conductors’ moods) stops away. He knew it would be back in another 30 minutes are so, with a 15 minute break. He had planned it in a way that he is on commute for the minimum time required to get to the job interview, so that he can stay with his mother who has been very sick, but getting better. He just could not afford to go all the way to Majestic and take another bus to the industrial locality outside of Bangalore. He had desperately wanted this job – his father had passed away three months ago and he was told he could apply for a job in the same company and will get a fair interview. Ganesh was confident that he could get the job – he was a bright young man and has also gone to the factory with his dad, when his dad had Sunday shifts. It was for a job as a machinist. He had cooked the food that his mother had needed with the help of his 11 year old sister who had gone to school for her exams; she would come home in about another 45 minutes.. His mother was still in the bed, coughing intermittently… He mentally checked everything, it was another 15 minutes to go. He was ready to leave, when his mother started heaving with wracking coughs… He sat her up in the bed, against a pillow and gave her some water and felt her fore-head. She still had slight fever; Ganesh was in a hurry, but her cough was bad – he decided to heat some water up for her; and as he was giving her the hot water, he watched in despair through the window, across the sparse lay-out his bus rolling into the bus-stop… His heart sank… he needed this job desperately and he could see that slip away, if he weren’t there on time… the bus would leave in a minute or so…

Thimme Gowda was lost in thoughts. Sitting on the bench Nair-Tea shop, with the work-day (or night) behind him, he let his mind wander. He was a police-man in the area. He has lived in the area all his life; or atleast it seemed so. He had just reached the position of head-constable. He had no great dreams or ambitions. He lived a simple life, with his wife and son, who will finish engineering in another 6 months and perhaps get a better job than he ever had. Maybe I would take the VRS and retire then, Thimma thought… as he sat on the bench sipping tea before he headed home. He has not done anything spectacular – he assumed those were all reserved for people who had high ambitions and not for himself… Maybe he would retire after doing something like that, he smiled to himself, amused at the thought. He had the night duty last night and told his wife that he would be home for lunch. Retiring would be good. The job has become complicated of late – earlier, he just had to tackle local thieves and at the highest complexity scale, the local goondas. Now, with all the crap going on in the world, they had every kind of fundamentalist to look for. In addition, these days there are also phoren terrorists! His inspector kept telling them to be careful and Bangalore had become a hiding place for every kind of people, particularly, in the suburbs where his police station was situated. There was a dossier that his Inspector got – there were every kind of people in that – Muslim fundamentalist, Hanuman Sena, Tamil separatists added to that local goondas and thieves, who had these days, had become allies against these outsiders as they called the ones in the dossier. How I wish things were as simple as old days; catch a local thief, give a thrashing, lock him up for a day or two and then let him out and you don’t hear back from him for another 3 months or so; and then the cycle repeats… In spite of all of these, Thimma had still wanted to do his job honestly, still believed that he could make a difference to honest people, who needed help, in the locality… As he was sipping the tea, he saw the 83 come to a halt at the bus-stop ahead…

Rafiq Ashraf was the typical guy with in-your-face-attitude; which these days was worn in the lapel as a badge of honour and as the face of New India! He worked in a call-center, had the money to throw away. Although, he just could barely get past his PU, he thought he knew more than everyone around him, since he spoke English with an accent, thanks to the call-center training. He belonged to the neo-youth that thought everything was wrong around them, without giving a thought as to what they are doing that adds to the faulty lines in the canvas. Like the rest in those elite, he too believed the money gave him the right to be arrogant. He was packed at the back in the company car, a standard Tata Sumo that ferries them to the company, to the 2’0 clock shift. After his work at 11PM last night, he had a late-nighter where he had lot to drink and a very little to eat – He had stopped on the way back, bought a few bananas; he recalled eating a few of those bananas on the way back in the auto-rickshaw and tossing the skins somewhere on the road. He had woken up with a splitting headache and a total hangover, using the deodorant instead of a shower and was in the taxi at the back-seat, hungry, with just one left-over banana. He saw his taxi-driver overtake the other vehicles, with the reckless abandon that he was used to and he kind of enjoyed it – as their speed made the other road-users scurry, like scared cockroaches he thought. He was finished with the banana; as the car sped and swerved to right side of the road to overtake yet another driver (“scared wimp”), he nonchalantly tossed the banana skin out of the window and it plopped on the road… The taxi hit a pot-hole and shook him up, as his head knocked against the side of the car, exacerbating his head-ache; Rafiq cursed the Government, driver, and the truck drivers and everyone around him for lack of civic responsibility. As his car overtook the almost stationery bus, he saw his car swerve back on the left side to avoid the oncoming truck and was heading almost straight at one of the guys who seemed to be sprinting…

Kulasegaran alias Sekar was living in the suburbs of Bangalore. He had taken a boat from Sri Lanka about a year ago, fleeing the Government troops, landed in an unmarked spot in the vast shoreline. With a little help from his friends, had gotten a new identity as Sekar, had moved several places and finally into the suburbia of Bangalore and had gotten lost in the milieu. Today, he had gone to the Terminus to get to the post-office and to the courier drop-off, to mail something back to his handlers elsewhere. He had gotten a specific instruction; since he was he was here, he might as well, eliminate one of the opponents. When going out, he usually carried two things – a gun and his Cyanide capsule. But the past year has been so peaceful, he didn’t bother to carry his Cyanide, just his gun. Today he was coming back from the terminus in the 83 bus – a standard guy who went about his business (as people thought he was doing). He was still in a call on his mobile as he got down on his stop – he didn’t notice that his bag had swung and knocked down an old man’s crutch, making the old man lose his balance. Had Kulasegaran noticed that, he would definitely have helped the old man and perhaps taken good care of him and helped to his destination… Unfortunately he did not!

Thimma was watching the bus roll to a stop just ahead of the tea-shop. As usual there was the buzz around the back-entrance as people wanting to get down and board at the same time, but with a slow and painful progress. How about a bit of order to make it easy for all, thought Thimma. To add to the spectacle, there was an old man who was walking on the side of the road with a crutch, had stopped to the let the crown diffuse and he was watching the people get on and down through his thick glasses leaning on the crutch, waiting for the bus to leave so that he can hobble on his path. Thimma watched a guy, who looked quite educated, dressed neatly get down from the bus, talking on his phone and knocking down the crutch and the old man but didn’t bother to stop to help. That made Thimma furious and indignant. He kept his tea glass down, got-up from the bench, moving swiftly to confront the man…

Ganesh was in a panic. He just cannot afford to miss the bus. Through the window, he saw the bus roll to a stop. As he began to leave his mother started coughing again – Ganesh was torn on what to do – maybe he would borrow money from someone and take an auto, but who? He was already in debt, with everyone… Fortunately, he watched his mother’s cough stop; he quickly told his propped mother that he had more hot water on the stool nearby and picked his bag, rushed out; the bus was still stationary, it would take about 2-3 minutes for him to clear the empty space between his lay-out and the bus-stop…His heart sank as the bus began to move…

Rafiq’s nonchalance, in what seemed to be an eternity, slowly turned into horror, as he found that his driver was losing control of the car, as the car’s path would take dangerously close to the man who was sprinting. He wasn’t sure if the driver had noticed the man; the man seemed to slip on something and fell right on the path-way of the car; Rafiq could see his driver brake hard, the car screeching to a halt, careening a bit and hit the man with a sickening thud and the taxi losing control and heading for a lamp-post; when it hit the lamp-post, Rafiq was thrown into the back of the front seat, headlong first. It opened up a nasty gash and the blood started pouring… The splitting head-ache would not be his greatest pain for a while…

Kulasegaran could not afford to get caught. He started running after he had evinced interest with the people around. His mind raced; he would brandish his gun, steal one of the countless bikes parked and make his get-a-way. He stopped running, pivoted quickly, but found that his leg gave way, as he stepped on something squishy – it was a mushy banana skin with half-eaten banana, he slipped; to his horror, he saw one of the Tata-Sumo heading his way; it hit him at his knee, probably broke his leg and threw him off balance and his gun flying the other way! Today, he wasn’t carrying his cyanide capsule!

Ganesh was about 100 yards away as the bus started moving; and with that his hopes of being on time for the interview and the job! As the bus was eclipsed by a house, he saw it slow down. Ganesh raced at full tilt and got to the back of the bus, that had stopped completely now; as he was boarding, he saw an accident in front of the bus, where people had milled around a Tata Sumo; as he boarded the bus, he saw a panting policeman run past the bus towards the accident scene. After a few minutes of milling around, the bus started rolling. Ganesh heaved a big sigh of relief!

Thimme Gowda alias Thimma was the star of the small police station an several other adjoining stations. He was scheduled to meet the Commishner a day later. He was lauded as a brave policeman, who with a lati had caught a dreaded terrorist with a gun; Every government that Thimma voted for and didn’t vote for and every politician that he liked and disliked, had promised him cash reward. Thimma felt as if the Gods had smiled at him just on the eve of the retirement.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday... sum musings !!!

  • Sunday afternoon - the cusp where excitement and inspiration slowly turns into perspiration, looking to the week ahead...
  • But even tomorrow would be the first day for rest of my life... (and with the additional one day behind me, bit more of past data to help me in my decisions and what I want to do), exploring what He has in store for us...
  • But, God moves in not so mysterious ways - its for a  reason; that is an opportunity that our simple minds are yet to fathom and see
  • And being lucky with the opportunity being at the right time, right place... and more importantly with the right preparation...
  • Right prep making an honest effort at the key variables (x, the efort and y, the attitude) we control and be aware of the "K", that we do not...
  • Playing our role in the game, that is much bigger than our own cause...
  • ...Believing our cause is a miniscule pixel in the vast expanse of the canvas; miniscule but NOT a trivial piece the overall big picture of the existence of this universe...
...Sunday, bloody Sunday, as U2 would sing; or Sunday, bloody boring Sunday !!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Director Top Talent !

Blogging after a long time - someone had forwarded me the link to the new Bala's movie - Naan Kadavul. Being a big fan of Bala, am looking forward to seeing the movie; after having seen Nandha several times and enjoyed Pithamagan. I have seen Sethu a long time ago too. In fact he made actors out of Vikram and Surya. Ajith was supposed to act in Nan Kadavul and it was said NK would do to Ajith what Nanda did to Surya and Sethu to Vikram, but Ajith backed out (and that had several other issues)... Given the pedigreee, Naan Kadavul should be a must-watch movie...

Then I thought back about the directors in Tamil movies. Here are some that I've enjoyed seeing over the past few years. These are some of Tamil Directors, who do make some really good films, but dont get noticed on national stage:

Bala: Outst
anding director, but with a really dark outlook - if you are a fan of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters, you would love Bala. He weaves an amazing story together; the actors really fade into the background of the characters. Technically brilliant, with no frames wasted and no characters extraneous. Very very low noise/signal ratio. If only, he makes a movie, with more positivity like the one he produced - Mayavi (who else... with Surya); I suppose he needs to make peace with his urge of "poetic justice" thing and take some creative liberty !

Cheran: Pretty good, could be as good as Bala, if not for his first love of acting; apparently he wanted to be an actor, couldn't make it and then went on to become a director. He has several very very good movies. Pandavar Bhoomi, Solla maranda Kadhai, Porkalam, Autograph (a bit long, believe could have made the Sneha part a bit more terse) and Thavamai Thavamirundhu, aided by some brilliant acting by Rajkiran; if only Cheran had foregone his part (of eloping, suffering etc), the film would have been truly outstanding. His inability to make it as an actor when he started out, should have given him the message ! Of course, few friends I know didn't like the movie - their argument being why pay money to cry through the movie ? However, of late, seems to have run out of material with Maya Kannadi. I'm yet to see Pirivom Sandipom.

Radha Mohan: A new director; so far has combined well with Duet movies (Prakash Raj's production company) - Azhagiyae Theeyae was the first one - usual off-beat softie, a decent one. Then came Mozhi, which I had covered elsewhere in this blog; it impressed me a lot; the characters, storyline, dialogues, songs - each dovetailed perfectly into a well orchestrated symphony. He has recently done a another out of the box movie - exploring father-daughter relationship - Abiyum-Naanum... Stand-alone, it might be a good movie, but somehow it would get seen through the lens of Mozhi; I believe even Radhamohan had done that; seems like he felt a heavy responsibility to fit into a genre and tried hard to to be as good as Mozhi.

Ameer: He of Bala's understudy. He seems to be more versatile and makes films of all kinds - Mounam Pesiyadhae (an entertainer), Ram (serious subject with "autistic" as an hero) and Paruthi Veeran (somewhat mirroring Bala's style of story-telling, complete with a dark ending). Paruthi Veeran, with the village background and Karthik performing like a seasoned actor on his debut was worth watching. It was kind of throwback to Bharathi Raja's Padhinaaru Vayadhinilae kind of set-up ! Some trivia about Paruthi Veeran - pre-release, it had gotten into some controversy around money, and Ameer who was very close to the Sivakumar's family split with them, after this movie.

Myskkin (Or Mishkin): Possibly, the new emerging talent - with Chithiram Pesudhadi and Anjaathae - IMO, both were very intriguing with some unexpected twists - the one in CP was brilliant; He seems to have lots and lots of ideas
and comes across as struggling to fit all of them in the same frame. He also chooses some unknown actors - Naren and Bhavana for Chithiram Pesudhadi, who were very very irritatinlgy loud in the movie; In Anjaathae, Naren, Ajmal Ameer (who was passable as Krupa) - and Prasanna who, in my opinion was terribly miscast as the villain. Additionally, I also think Mishkin works with very poor team; usually you find some of the editing amateurish, screen-play redundancy, camera angles puzzling. If only he had a good technical team, he would come across lot more professional; and perhaps a better product packaged well all around.

Venkat Prabhu:
He of bit-characters-in-Vijay movies and he of son-of-Gangai-Amaran fame. He is the up and
coming director who looks very promising. Much like Radhamohan-Prakash Raj combine, he seems to have struck a good rapport with S.P.Charan (he of S.P.Balasubramaniam's-Son fame). His first movie Chennai-600028, was funny (thanks his to his brother Premgee, narrative, dialogues and screen-play), very cogently constructed and narrated. Some good scenes, with funny twists, down to earth dialogues ("Dei, leg side'lae podathada"..."eppadi pottalum, adikarangada") made the movie lovable. His second movie was Saroja. If you didn't know its a rip-off from an English movie, it is a good movie pictured well. If you forgive the start trying to woo the college folks, its quite taut thriller, building up the intensity slowly. Lets see what he comes up the 3rd time, now that everyone knows that the 2nd movie is a rip-off.

Vasanth: discovered him recently :) with Rhythm... Need to look at his other movies

If you are not looking for story lines, but want to take your brain off and get completely entertained, look for these directors; there are pure, 100%, unadulterated entertainers... like
Hari (Thamizh, Saami, Aaru, Thamiraiparani), A.R.Murugadoss (Ghajini), Dharani (Dhil, Dhool, Gilli), Perarasu (Sivakasi), Lingusaamy (Anandam, Run, Sandaikozhi, Beema) K.S Ravikumar (who is fun to watch - has directed quite a few Kamal, Rajni movies)...Gautham Menon started well, but has hit a plateau. All of them have their flashes of brilliance and some of their movies stand-out.
And ofcourse, not talked about Maniratnam - i thought he was over-rated, anyways, because of the urban appeal !! And after Mouna Ragam and Nayagan, imo, he kind of lost it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Deep Thoughts !

Not to be anywhere close to the original Deep thoughts !
...but my question, should I leave January 2009, unblogged ?!