The Harry Hurry !!

The Harry Hurry
[click for a bigger image]

I’m not in this race for I haven’t read a single Harry Potter as of date. I have watched the movies but somehow I missed on reading Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings. Having a Barnes and Noble just across the street, and such enthusiasm picking -up, I’m becoming curious. I’m planning to stay until friday midnight in Barnes and Noble to enjoy the release party of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Will catch some crazy emotions during the release through my mobile camera. The picture above was shot using the mobile cam, so excuse the quality. BTW, I might buy the book too.

Quickies

We’re Not Afraid, a website created by London web designer Alfie Dennan, is creating waves. The website, in structure of a blog, has pictures of people from London and notes that displays, we are not afraid. Via BBC.

Users are being urged to enter a number in their phone’s memory under the heading ICE – In Case of Emergency. Via BBC.

Odeo is open to public, now. I stongly guess that this quick move is to balance the competition from Apple’s iTunes. Try it out.

Free SkypeOut Days. Yesterday was one of them and I got 10 skypeout minutes, free. BTW, I’m skyping, for the last couple of months @ guruwho. Catch me there.

Gillmour Gang’s podcast on Gnomedex ’05 was interesting. Gave good insight into the adoption of RSS by Microsoft for Longhorn. Must listen.

A decade of Amazon; a best-seller of it’s own. Also, Amazon’s Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, this is the time you should be reading this. Tell me if you understood the link.

Lilliputian Reviews

Arindum Ariyaamalum – Hugely inspired from Mani Ratnam Flicks. Arya shines. Heroine couldn’t act. Yet again, Yuvan delivers. If only the climax wasn’t cliched…good watch.

Rear Window – A Photographer, a broken leg, a rear window and a homicide. Hitchcockian thriller. Engrossing.

The Ring – Urban Legend. Happens in Seattle. Good Screenplay, reminds me of a Stephen King book.

Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat is hanging on the stand. Yet to see !!

Sunday Samayal

“Etho oru sunday, naamalum lungiya madichhu kattikittu, samachiduvom. Athu Nallavum vandudum. Athukaaga…” says Arjun in Muthalvan. That’s exactly what I did yesterday.

Armed with lungi/kathrikka and tons of ‘experience’, I logged into the kitchen with the idea of cooking some exotic meals. A few hours later….. I was running for a glass of water, hot spicy saambar.

iTunes incorporates Podcasts

ipod_podcasts

The newest version of iTunes has a section for Podcasts. iTunes 4.9 was released a week ago and within two days more than a million customers subscribed to the Podcasts content. While this may sound a welcoming break for iTunes users, start-ups like Odeo might have stiff competition. Odeo essentially does the same thing of accumulating a common place for Podcasts. It also allows Podcasts to be created and published. While iTunes allows you to publish, it doesn’t feature Podcast creation software.

With Apple joining the Podcast fray, not only will Podcasts gain attention, new & fresh podcasts will come to light. The online/print media wouldn’t want to miss the happenings of Podcast movement like what they did for blogging, in early days. Every second article on the technology forum of mainstream online media is on Podcasting. Just be aware of the media hype created here.

Aithayum Mamanum Soagam Thaana Aathula

Aithayum Mamanum Soagam Thaana
Aathula Meenum Soagam Thaana
Aithayum Mamanum Soagam Thaana
Aathula Meenum Soagam Thaana
Annamey Onnayum Ennayum Thooki Valaththa
Thinnayum Sugam Thaana…

The water droplets from the top of the glass window, in the bus, were sliding down. On the way down, as they were accumulating other droplets and enlarging themselves in size, it was this Rahman classic that was vocalizing in my ears. Was as energizing as the rainy day.

My player was on the shuffle mode. Guess what was the next song….Themmaangu Paadikondey Silu Siluvendru Sinduthamma Thooral, Muthu Thooral. IntelliShuffle !!

Rahman 3D Tour

rahman 3rd dimension tour
[Thanks Srkriz]

The venues are set, dates fixed and promos are in full swing. All this and more for Rahman’s latest world tour, Rahman – The 3rd Dimension Tour. Looks like its the first 3d concert. So you have to sit there and wear 3D glasses [like My Dear Kuttichathaan] and Rahman will be singing the high pitched, Alahoo, a few feet away. Here’s what they say –

In The History of Live Entertainment, for the 1st time a Live 3D Concert…

A concert where you can reach out and Touch your stars…

The Virtual Reality, embraces the Live format and brings the enigma of euphoria…All you have to do is sit back and look cool while you wear your 3D glasses…and enjoy the concert.. For those who have Spectacles, you can wear these glasses over the spectacles…

The promo video runs for one minute and is a must watch. Also check out the pictures of promo shoot. The venue and dates for US isn’t yet fixed. Does anybody know how to charm Rahman for a Seattle concert. I can book tickets rightaway !!

Anniyan – Aala Vudu !!

Anniyan

tribute
noun
1. An expression of admiration or congratulation: commendation, compliment, congratulation (often used in plural), praise. See praise/blame.
2. A formal token of appreciation and admiration for a person’s high achievements: salute, salvo, testimonial.

screw up
verb
To harm irreparably through inept handling; make a mess: ball up, blunder, boggle, botch, bungle, foul up, fumble, gum up, mess up, mishandle, mismanage, muddle, muff, spoil. Informal bollix up, muck up. Slang blow1, goof up, louse up, snafu. Idioms: make a muck of.

Sometimes tributes end up as screw-ups. Though being inspired and inspired again by his movies, Shankar fails poorly to display his tact in handling social subjects with proficient ease. Anniyan ends up being a bad exercise in execution and is undoubtedly a defective tribute to his own classics. I was sold even during the first 15 minutes of the movie. After that, just like a bad one day cricket match, the movie treads into an unrealistic path with a face mask of realism, only to bore you and me to the core.

Coming from the S A Chandrasekhar factory, Shankar has always stuck chord with problems dodging the society and has delivered escapist fantasy flicks with earnestness in story-telling. Boys was his first full-length realistic movie with little exaggerations sprinkled throughout. With the entire Tamil Nadu taking a holy dip to remain virgins by making Boys a super-dooper flop, this is what they did to a human called Shankar, whose directing career graph, until then, knew no south-pole bends. I can perfectly sympathize Shankar for being hurt with the hungama made with Boys at the box-office. At the same time, one would also expect a mature director to rebound from the fall, make a movie that would be applauded by the same crowd which made his previous gem a failure. Instead, Shankar goes on a remix mode and loses the artistic credibility, what kollywood had on him.

Anniyan had a much better message storyline than Indian or Muthalvan. It calls for a root cause analysis of social issues and not harvesting weeds in the bureaucracy. This probably should have been the first of Shankar’s movies as it shouts for a bigger attention than the reformation to education department, like in Gentleman. While I strongly believe in the philosophy of watching a movie as presented instead of suggesting changes to someone who conceived it, Anniyan made me cross the rule. If made appropriate changes to the basic story-line, Anniyan would become a classic. It ends a sore interlude in a beautiful symphony. If only…If only the MPD wasn’t used and misused, Anniyan would emerge as a winner of sorts.

There are logically unanswered questions, poor characterization, terribly bad screenplay and of course some hyped acting in abundance, throughout the movie. While the protagonist, Ambi has a truly admirable character his alter egos are preferred to be forgotten as nightmares. Contrary to popular belief, in my opinion, Ambi aka ‘Rules’ Ramanujam isn’t a loser. He is one of the stalwarts of this society. As we see hundreds of social blunders happening within our vicinity, most of us escape from the scenario. Ambi at least has this innocent confidence to fight out the blunders right at that spot. Though being dishonored by others, Ambi is a true citizen of this society. If we were take a poll, as to how many of us would engage in questioning a dada molesting a girl in the pallavan bus, Ambi would win hands-down. Ambi is an Anniyan in this country for that matter. With a country full of escapists and hypocrites of various degrees, who can just make passing comments on social issues while traveling bus or writing about what should happen to the politics in blogs, like us, Ambis are rare breed of brave heroes. Aayitha Ezhuthu‘s Michael Vasant and Anniyan Ambi have similar milestones, only that they choose different ways to reach there.

Vikram was a huge let-down. While his body language was nearly perfect to the ‘timid’ Ambi character, his intonation as Remo and Anniyan were unbearable. Vikram portrays Anniyan’s killing-of-the-bad with only a revengeful attitude and not with a fierceness of achieving a goal. By just rolling the eyes and blowing air like Arjun, I don’t think the characterization of Anniyan was complete. I only wished Vikram to have understood the subtle fierceness, Kamalhassan displayed as Indian Thatha. Even the thatha had fire in him to cleanse the society and it was brought out in a manner, with a devastatingly underplayed role. While I’m not comparing Kamal Hassan to Vikram, Vikram might need good directors to help him with true-to-life characters.

Prakashraj’s character not only ends up a bad joke but also helps in bringing down the interest in the movie. While Vivek provides some good escape from the boredom, Sada disappoints as the heroine. Acknowledged artists like Nasser, Prakash Raj, Nedumudi Venu, Cochin Haniffa, Kalabavan Mani are wasted with tiny unimportant characters. The Thiruvayaaru festival ends up as a hyped up marketing effort.

It’s a little annoying to sit through a movie with bad continuation and screenplay. The minute you have Anniyan executing Garuda Puranam type punishments, you know you are heading in the wrong direction. Garuda Puranam has a good mythology behind it. And I think it wasn’t presented well on screen. The loosely hanging strands of hair in-front of the camera, made me hate the man called Anniyan. It’s so amateurish to have shots like that. I only doubt if Shankar and Sujatha ever saw the movie before it released to public. While I believe they have a good eye for detail, how could they ever compromise on such bad shots and characterization of Anniyan? Yet again, childish graphics end up as villains for Shankar movies. With so much talked about technology involved in making movies, I can’t believe shots of Anniyan website having such poor quality graphics which any local graphic artistic can make.

Harris Jayaraj disappoints even more than Shankar and Vikram. And one is forced to think the impact of having Rahman for a movie like this. The BGMs are nearly missing while songs are a mediocre effort by Harris who has some good numbers before. I loved the Kaadhal Yaanai song but bad picturisation made me avoid it. Even the similar Muthalvan’s Shakalaka Baby had some nice picturisation. I’m unable to distinguish between Mani Kandan and Ravi Varman’s splendid cinematography. It’s lovely to have two good cameramen for the same movie. Camera ramping has become a sort of Shankar trademark and I just love the way he uses it at right place of the movie to speed it up without having to edit them.

Sujatha’s dialogues not only help in setting up the movie, it helps to ground the movie and make it relatable to the audience. It’s a potent combination to have such realistic dialogues with a fantasy story. Only that Anniyan had overdone the fantasy part. But I wasn’t for comparing Singapore to India. It wasn’t comparing apples and apples.

Anniyan isn’t certainly a movie; Shankar could be proud making it. I would only expect a sensible director like Shankar to bounce back and raise his own bar, instead of getting crippled to the joint discouraging effort of the media and public for his Boys. He probably should be making small budget flicks of his own taste instead of such big budget movies like this, to escape out of the image he has created amidst the public. Not only would we get a classy director Shankar who can make movie watching a thorough experience, it would also allow him to pursue his endeavors. Whatsoever, Anniyan would remain as a biggest blooper of recent times.

Was camping over the long

Was camping over the long weekend in Dash Point with Ram and few other friends. No electricity, No cable/DVD, No internet. Just the nature. Though the cold weather made me shudder in the wee hours of the morning, it was a good break from the routine.

I came back this afternoon to see many mails and many more spam comments. I was oblivious to the Mahabharata/Mani Ratnam/LOTR fact/prank until I read the mails from some friends. Someone tell me it was a prank and I would love it. Not that I hate the idea of Mani filming Mahabharata. Just that I am not sure how it will turn up or probably I’m too sleepy to make myself believe the fact.

Bellevue Strawberry Festival

vintage cars

It wasn’t exactly filled with hemangioma simplex[strawberry]. Though it had shops selling special strawberry products like Strawberry Shortcake and Strawberry lolipops, it was a cultural gathering and a grand display of vintage cars.

From the previous episode, you know that I ain’t a car freak but even for me it was a fascinating line-up of Mustangs, Chevys and Volkswagens of yester years. Catch pictures of Bellevue Strawberry Festival / Vintage Cars line-up on the Seattle photoblog.