Captain Teaming up !!

[Pic – Obviously India Glitz]

With Rajinikanth clearing-off his political intentions, I was hoping that kollywood and politics will be dis-jointed in the near future. If only it happened, it would have been a welcoming move for the kollywood fans. We would have less of camera facing dialogues and more of story oriented scripts. Vijay and Simbhu types would talk less to camera and more as characters. We wouldn’t have movies being released under tremendous pressure during their release times because of the political air running across, like what happened with Rajini’s Muthu.

As Vijaykanth gets ready kickstart his party on September 14 at Madurai, those dreams are slowly turning into nightmares. Vijayakanth kept his word and has to appreciated for that. Only that he delayed his entry into politics, he kept the words to his fans on forming a political party. For the starters, last year he promised to enter politics with a party of his own on April 14th. The decision stayed but the dates got shifted by another 5 months.

What else should we say except, times have changed since MGR and we have seen the extreme moodswings with Tamil Nadu voters. Good Luck !!

The Shining – Devastatingly Kubrical

[Pic –]

Every time I want to write on film released long back, I fall short. To think about it, I realize that it’s the hesitation that one goes through in re-hashing stuff that has been already said and analysed. So when I wanted to write on Anjali, Unnal Mudhiyum Thambi or even Sridhar’s Kathalikka Neramillai, I was unable to. Either I compulsorily procrastinate or I consciously forget to write about it. The same isn’t true with The Shining. This is the 25th year of The Shining’s release. Watching it even now on a 27″ inch screen, which is nothing close to a movie screen, I was awestruck. I was stunned and floored. A stream of thoughts and emotions ran across as I watched the film and it is still disturbing me after two days. Not many films have disturbed me as Kubrick’s movies. First it was Mahanadhi, second it was Hey Ram and ofcourse Schindler’s List.

Based on Stephen King‘s third published novel, The Shining is regarded as an epic of modern horror films. While in school, I had stayed awake to read the scariest of Stephen King’s stories. My favorite of them being IT. The Shining isn’t even close to ‘IT’ in terms of the storyline. Its just the way how Stanley Kubrick has fancied it, has made it into a prodigious flick.

The premise of shining comprises of three primary characters and a grand hotel. Jack Nicholson, a man suffering from mid-age crisis takes up a job as the winter caretaker in far-flung hotel near Denver. When he, his wife and his kid Danny re-locate to the hotel for pursuing his job, the hotel gets closed for the winter season. The family gets stuck in an improbable situation that makes them undergo sheer terror, hardship and loss. With just these characters Kubrick terrifies the audience thoroughly.

I watched The Clockwork Orange and was amazed by Kubrick’s flamboyant manner of film-making. He is probably the first director to understand the grammar of the big screen. His sense of imagery and colors are thought provoking beyond doubt. Having watched few other older films, I had my expectations set for haunting images and mesmerizing music in this one. My assumptions were blown-away, for good. The images and the background music are nothing close to description. You have to watch it to believe it. Even as the logo of Warner Bros fades away in the first shot, the movie opens into a huge land of wilderness. The water and a strip of mountains around stay still as the camera, from the helicopter, locates a volkswagen travelling on the mountain road. The camera[from the helicopter] starts to zoom in on the car and also starts to descend, it cuts through the road and flies back in air over the water. With a movie like Shining, one would expect a dark start but this one is just out-of-the-world experience. I could easily vote that this is one of the best opening shot of any film ever made.

Through out the movie, there are all types of horror. We see the ‘ghosts’ briefly, we await the unknown, we listen to some outrageous background noises that scares your spirits, we go on a horror-and-seek in a maze of snow. This is probably one of the success formula for the movie. Kubrick has used all types of horror to make this a pilot for horror films. As Shelley Duvall, the wife of Jack Nicholson, in the movie, scans the bundles of paper types by Jack throughout the day time. She sees nothing but All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The BGM and the slow camera pan during this scene affrights even the unscared. The hotel with it’s grandeur and technicolor restrooms plays it’s own part in increasing heartbeat. The use of mirror in the movie enormous. Kubrick surprises with the mirror shots and also scares you at the same time.

Jack Nicholson with his eyebrows lifted gives peculiar stare and shouts, Here’s Johnny. It’s been written and written again that Jack is one of the finest actors of previous generation. Proves it with ease even from the first scene. Danny Lloyd as the kid is brilliant. It’s been said that Kubrick scanned through 5000 kids for the casting of Danny’s character. The effort didn’t go for a toss. Danny delivers and even as the camera is stuck very closely in his face, his expressions show the mature actor in him. As we watch The Making of Shining we know how Kubrick, with his loud shouts during filming made acting a cake walk for Danny. A performance to remember for ever and ever and ever(watch the movie to see the significance of this line). Shelley Duvall starts out unassumingly and as her character grows, tries to vanquish Jack himself.

Though the motifs and the ending of The Shining has in debate over the years by Kubrick’s fans but for a normal unassuming viewer its nothing more than a top-class horror flick. No one is complaining. For each of the audience gets what he is upto. The Shining isn’t one of those b-grade Hollywood horror flicks made in shoestring budget. Kubrick stresses on the fact that a movie needs the grandeur it demands. His lavish spending on the sets and the art hasn’t gone waste. Even when you are making a horror movie, make it as the best of the genre. It’s Kubrick’s philosophy on film-making, as he quotes, “One man writes a novel. One man writes a Symphony. It’s essential for one man to make a movie”. For he is undoubtedly, THE ONE.

Go Seattle !!

My mobile camera just bumped out of my pocket and started clicking pictures of everyday Seattle. To encourage it’s enthusiasm, I decided to create a photoblog on Flickr. Go Seattle !! will be shot with my mobile camera and will have pictures from this lovely city of Seattle.

From buses to downtown avenues to grocery stores to interesting marketing captions, there are some nice moments which I’ve missed to capture. Not anymore. I’m taking snaps and sending them to flickr instantly through my mobile phone. So if you find a new picture that was pretty much taken few hours back.

Lazy Casting !!

Here you go. My first blogcast/podcast whatever you want to name it. Blogger‘s own Audioblogger, allows you to call a US number and leave a message which is then converted into a mp3 file[approx 1k/per second], named as audioblog. I took a quick spin with registering my mobile and heck it was done within seconds.

Basically I’ve done a quick review of Anniyan followed by a commentary on Page 3 recieving the national award for Best Picture. For those who are regular to this silly space, will know (!!) what my reactions are. For others, I’m strictly warning not to listen and develop an instant enmity. Proceed no further.

this is an audio post - click to play

Read moreLazy Casting !!

Mani Ratnam on Personal Film-making

I think we are on the threshold of development. Today, a lot more films are made for an international audience. Technology will play a big role with the growth of the digital medium. Filmmaking will become a lot more personal. It will become like writing. Anybody will be able to make a film.

Those are words of Mani Ratnam in a short interview to Deccan Herald. Interesting observtion. Rest of the interview, has already appeared on print before, in some form or other.

With the way things are exponentially progressing, what Mani says will happen sooner than expected. Like blogging, anyone will be able to make a film. By then, most of us would be already standing with a Sony movie handycam and loads of ideas. Ofcourse, rehearsing the script within ourselves. !!

Potter to be let out !!

Harry Potter

I came back home even before the book was released. But it was all fun @ Barnes and Noble. Check out some pictures of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince book release party. Thanks to my mobile camera !!

Looks like the book is already out in UK. I have ordered the book from the library. Yeah, Harry Potter – Book One.

So they actually gave PAGE

So they actually gave PAGE 3, the national award for the best film ? God save the Indian film industry.

I couldn’t believe, Swades lost out to Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat on the award for the best hindi film. While I just saw Raincoat and liked it, I still think Swades was one of the best hindi films in the last couple of years. Virumandi was released in 2004 and Aayitha Ezhuthu / Yuva rocked in 2004. What happened to those ?

I know why mature directors still day-dream Oscars. Because we have such screwed up ways to judge ourselves, they have started looking else where for proper recognition. No wonder !!

P.S – I didn’t want to open up yet another comment war but someone posted a comment in the previous blogpost looking for this. Neyar Viruppam.

Of Jobs, Books and Gandhi

Three months of wait before iCon Steve Jobs finally arrived from library. After the long wait for the book, when I had my hand on it, I lost interest in reading it. Just browsing through the book gives me a feeling that it’s just a re-hash of The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. I’m yet to read it to confirm my assumption.

The other books that I am reading[reading, reading and reading] are Rushdie’s Imaginary Homelands, Lavanya Sankaran’s The Red Carpet : Bangalore Stories and Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City : Bombay Lost and Found.

Offlate, more than fiction, I’m liking to read non-fiction though I hate to loose the kid in me. But non-fiction, especially by famous fiction writers is always amusing. Imaginary Homelands is collection of essays/criticism written by Rushdie during the 80’s. The essays have a different tone compared to the celebrity writer tone, offlate. In the preface, Rushdie writes about how he managed to get writing jobs for small magazines and how he finally settled in ‘writing-for-food’. The criticism on Attenborough’s Gandhi was a riveting read. For once, I could say, the review of a movie was riveting. It sure was.