Of passion, pixie dust and devasena

I was worried about the uber driver. Worried about me. Worried about the woman who had a cigarette stowed in her hand and driving a mini cooper next to us in 405 interstate highway. Google maps on the driver’s dashboard showed 11 more miles to the airport. Today was yet another rainy day(61% chance of rain, the weather app on my phone accurately pointed) in Seattle. This past weekend was the start of fake summer. Yes, memorial day weekend kicks off summer flicks and vacations, although summer usually arrives much later in Seattle. At least the first rose(rich yellow) bloomed in my front yard, I saw that after coming back from a trip to Port Angeles for the long weekend. Rosy digressions aside, the song on my ears was about 3 minutes and 27 seconds long. If the driver took a minute to drive a mile I could listen to the song roughly 3.3 times. That would push the total listen count past 600. Yeah, 600++ times, conservatively counting.

I was worried about the driver and the woman as they probably wouldn’t get a chance to hear this song in their lives. It was mesmerizing, slightly hypnotic, kinda psychedelic, kinda trippy and completely engrossing. I was worried about me as I was getting mad about the song. The song – Orey Oar Ooril from Baahubali 2. You, just like me, probably saw and heard it for the first time on-screen while watching the movie. And if you are still trying to recollect the song, its also called Hamsa Naava in Telugu, Veeron ke veer aa in Hindi, Ore Oru raja in Malayalam, <something> in Mandarin and Madness Me in English(nah, I’m kidding now!).

Amarendra Baahubali arrests his love interest, the princess Devasena as a token of respecting Raajamatha RamyaKrishnan’s words to take her back to Magizhmathi and the ship sets sail. The sailcloth expands into a symmetrical shape on either side, the camera closes in on Devasena who is technically a prisoner but also a prisoner in the heart of Baahubali. As she throws the pink pixie dust into the ocean, the ship transforms into a fantasy fleet. Amarendra, who is now drumming, to his part throws in some blue pixie dust that makes the ship rise above the clouds. This is where Rajamouli’s craziness starts to show up. As though a flying ship isn’t crazy enough things get pushed a bit too far and the clouds get converted into white horses that run along with the flying ship. 40 odd dancers belonging to both genders appear and the scene is all set-up for romance. A medieval flying ship, a tricky prisoner-cop situation between the protagonist to-be king and his lovely princess, cloud horses, dancer women and some mind blowing music. Here’s how the music goes at a closer look –

0:00 – 0:35 – The music starts off low-key, slowly fading in with some bells and plates clanging far away. At 0:08 the Mohana starts to slightly hint the ohhohhhoh humming and at 0:14 the rhythmic drumming starts to join in. Stop here.

At first I didn’t know why this drumming was so jiving and mesmerizing. It took me a good 10 times to understand. When I was 10, we used to go on summer vacation to Trichy. It was either through Chozhan or Malakottai express. And as the train nears Trichy, somewhere near Srirangam, it crosses the kollidam bridge. Being one of India’s longest bridge, we used to wait for the bridge crossing to come by. And when it crosses it used to make a kind of pleasant clickety-clackety sound. Pleasant because it announced the arrival of vacation for an urban dweller like me. The usual clickety-clackety of a train is amplified while crossing bridges and the sound is super cool. The drumming in OreyOarOoril reminded me of the clickety-clackety train crossing kollidam bridge. From here the drumming continues all the way to the end. That could have been the only reason why I fell in love with the song. But there’s more.

As the train noise drumming goes on, at 0:21 the nana nana nana nana nananananana of Mohana and the harmony team starts. This nana sound is key for the song as the lyrics depend on every other line ending with an ‘na’ based word. I don’t know if this sound found its place by itself or if was by design, it elevates the musical quality of the song.

                                  loopety loop of a single song. madness.

0:35 – 1:12 – The lyrics start with the pleasant Orey Oar Ooril, kind of like a fairy tale beginning (once upon a village, there lived a king). Between every phrase, you hear the fish plates sound of the train tracks as the train passes over them. So does this love ship. Now we get to know that this song belongs to Devasena. Its from her point of feelings. Every line ends with a question indirectly posed to Baahubali. Something like – this Devasena is like a struggling ferry in middle of a river, will he come to hold me up? In the next line she talks about how she is a prisoner of Baahubali (literally and figuratively).

1:12 – 1:40 – A tiny but a lovely interlude of violin or some modern string instrument comes in only for it to be taken over by the trumpets and a grand sounds of a ship fleet crossing the ocean. This is place where the sheer grandness of the song is established. You know the song is already transported to a different world.

1:41 – 2:08 – So we are right at the midpoint of the song and the first charanam of the song starts with Devasena and Baahubali both sharing the lyrics equally(Mohana for Devasena and Tippu for Baahubali). Devasena puts forth a romantic question to clarify if she is in a dream state and Baahubali responds like a true warrior prince. Metaphors starts to show-up and things gets heated up.

2:09 – 2:26 – Devasena starts a loud pitched ohhohhhoh followed by an amazing piece of poetic verse. In order to not spoil this by translating, she asks – ekantha kaalam maatrinana, thee pola en meedhu patrinana, theekolamai devasena. Your lyrical mileage may wary in various languages but in Tamil the imagery is that Devasena is now a burning hot ball of passion for Baahubali. The song reaches its brilliant peak. All the build-up is for this 15 seconds of brilliance. Vairamuthu’s son Madan Karky and Maragadamani come together along with Mohana. The tamil lyrics fit the whole scene hand-in-glove expressing the Devasena’s side of love towards BB. This culminating effect is mind-blowing when experienced in big screen.

2:27 – 3:00 – The second paragraph is a bit condensed. You get to hear the Orey Oar Ooril pallavi quickly followed by four lines of a new charanam. Devasena concludes that she is now under the spell of Baahubali, blindly following him and speechless.

3:01 – 3:27 – The clickety clackety and the nananananana continues to fade out and things wrap-up.

It’s not often that I go mad for a single song but it’s also not so uncommon. Maybe one per year is my average. First it was Vellai Pookal from Kannathil Muthamittal, then it was Oh Eesa! from Aayirathil Oruvan, Dhan te Nan from Kaminey, Manipaaya from Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya, Asku Laska from Nanban, Kanukkul Pothivaippen from Thirumanam Enum Nikkah and recently Parandhu Sella Vaa from OK Kanmani. All these songs attack you at different level of lyrics, music and singing quality.

With this particular song it is the fantasy situation of the song in an already fantasy movie. Fantasy movies are always tricky. You either believe it or don’t. The reason a fantasy movie works for you is purely based on whether you take this leap of faith or not. All the ones who took the leap in Aayirathil Oruvan thoroughly enjoyed it, same with ET or King Kong or Baahubali. You either question how a bunch of untrained soldiers catapult into the fort using the Angry Birds formula or you just don’t. I loved the movie completely. Even more so the song. 700+ and counting now…

O Kadhal Kanmani – Of Millennials and Maritals


Disclaimer: What follows is a stream of consciousness type writing that hasn’t been edited at all. There are extreme indulgences about Mani’s past movies and some personal observations but if you want to know what a die-hard Mani fan felt about OKKanmani you should probably read it. Each of the paragraph is a standalone card so feel to start anywhere or leave anywhere.

— Mani Ratnam just killed my enthusiasm. I thought I lost the love story gene. While watching a random film, recently, I thought of writing an outright love story(read as பிழிய பிழிய) with romance and separation just to bring myself to it. Not that all I have written so far, either full stories or drafts or just bits of ideas have been made into full-fledged films or even seen the light of the day. But I really wanted to write one to see how I was able to bring out the drama from romance. With O Kadhal Kanmani, I feel even that faint idea to write a love story is now gone. How can it be better than this. Truly.

— There are Vikraman movies which sports a montage song and makes a bathroom singer into a super star singer where people just rush into a hall to listen and the ticket counter guy is shown placing ‘houseful’ placard across his counter for over 20 times back to back. And then there are movies like OK Kanmani which slowly and craftily captures the mundane of daily life to show the growing romance. The growing romance is so rich documented that the camera just hangs around like another viewer in weird angles and moves/shakes naturally. Refer the discussion between Adi and Thara after AR Ameen peacefully sings Maula Wa Salim, the camera almost peeks between the pillar and Adi’s head to see Thara’s face. The same seductive onlooker camera also enters into the white blanket alongwith Adi and Thara to hear these two millennials after a steamy romance session. This is Mani’s master stroke more than it is PC Sreeram’s. It’s the vision of the director to take the audience up, close and personal into Adi and Thara’s carefree life.

— The movie has a bit of micro-adventures. And they make it very interesting and sometimes comical. Like the moment when Thara jumps put of window as Adi’s brother arrives at his doorsteps and the comical stress surrounding the situation. There are even more micro-adventures like this one – Thara is on phone with her mom arguing and enquiring about the ‘special love’ shown to Adi during her absence. While she is such argumentative mood and walking with Adi, the bus arrives and they have to run to catch it. So as an audience you are now subjected to two sets of issues, will they catch the bus and what will the mom reply from the other-end of the phone call. And there are more moments like this, sort of frame-within-a-frame. So even though the film doesn’t sport a very dramatic third act, these adventures keep it going.

— Mani has fully engulfed Kurosawa. One cannot remove Kurosawa from his consciousness any more. He chooses to add energy to the movie as the cast keeps walking or taking a bus or getting rained on or something that keeps moving on-screen. From using weather to cooking sounds to camera pans, Mani uses everything possible to tell the story evocatively.

— After the movie, I went back to refer Wikipedia for a definition of Live-in relationship aka Cohabitation. I was terribly confused about what is so live-in relationship in OKK story. What Mani chooses to show is just the tip of the iceberg. This time-boxed love was already the Sid and Trisha short story in Aayitha Ezhuthu and even Nagarjuna/Girija of Idhayathai Thirudathey. Not a single issue of live-in relationship was brought out, not even adjusting with a single bathroom to use. All we know is that the couples indulge in a pass time as Thara confirms at the gynecologist office. Nithya Menon just nails the expressions during this scene that will be enough to prove her acting chops.

— Nithya Menon, what a find. A certain awesome reviewer highlighted in a certain high-profile movie review that he watches a certain awesome director’s movie as he is one of the best in portraying women. I was thinking how would that make a case for watching crappy movies of that c.a.director. Today, I would like to politely say, buzz off, to both of them. Thara is simply the best protagonist role a girl can ask for. It’s not the S.A. Chandrasekaran’s activist type roles but a role that has a purpose, style, sentiments and forms the core part of the OKK story. So again, buzz off sirs.

— Rahman. I was definitely critical of Rahman not supporting Mani’s Kadal. When I get to see the maestro play in Redmond during June, I will throw an extra clap for that brilliant electronica fusion he did in scene when Adi passes flying kisses to Thara just as a carnatic number finishes in the background. Rahman’s BGM is a breath of fresh air in the film. Both Rahman and PC Sreeram’s pallets have been rich and vibrant for OK Kanmani. They both have gone beyond in their respective areas to bring the story alive with colors and sounds. Such exquisite feast.

— Mani Ratnam is ageing very well. He has Bhavamulona(twice in the film) and Endharo Mahanubhavulu in the background. And Bhavamulona is used as a motif for Thara in troubled times. Mani’s taste for good carnatic music mixed with contemporary sounds is a sweet surprise. Not that I don’t know Mani’s love for carnatic music which has been there for a while but here is an indulgence. Go!

— Here is how a director goes for using just the right amount of ‘graphics'(lol) for a movie. And not talk about it in media.

— Live sound, really. Fantastically done. Great job, Anand.

— Yes the movie reminds me of various other movies of Mani. In fact I can tell you most shots remind of some other Mani’s movie. I can even see shots of Thalapathi and Anjali. It is still a very gripping engaging movie. As you invest the first half of the movie in Thara and Adhi, you are bound to be heartbroken in the second half and that did not just happen by happen. The master’s every shot was meant to get you to that state. Sheer Glee!

— The bright red wall paper in Adi and Thara’s grand apartment was so lovely and yet didn’t look like a set piece. Sharmishta Roy’s art direction was tasty and very urban.

— Scott Fitzgerald in his less popular, This Side of Paradise quoted- “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered”. Not only it happens to Adi and Thara but also to us.

— Mani rides on Kamalhassan’s hardwork. Pottu Vaitha Kadhal Thittam song is popularly known for its fantastic rock-like composition in a happy-go-lucky movie. And by taking the lyrics, Mani sets the tone for OK Kanmani. Smart move.

— Theera Ulaa was the best surprise of the soundtrack. The song grew so much and is almost at the top of the album for me at this point. Part carnatic and part electronic, it’s probably the best representative of the spirit of the album. Great job Vairamuthu just for this song. Lovely lovey tamil verses.

— Finally, like James Joyce and Stanley Kubrick, Mani chooses to stay silent, exile and cunning. For a fan like me, I see it in every single movie. His movies speak louder than his words. This time the world agrees with me.

Kadal – Uncharted

mani ratnam - kadal

Barring one fundamental flaw that equals Minnale’s Abbas/Madhavan flashback, Mani takes his beloved tamil audience to a place that is not only deep but has enough grey areas to ponder. Its understandable that the movie is already widely hated given that it makes one uncomfortable at places, just like any great piece of art.

With it’s cast providing great support, Jeyamohan’s story with rich characters and their back-stories lit up at right places, Kadal is Mani’s masterstroke that will be unfortunately overlooked due to one huge mistake, setting expectations. Kidnapping a literary story to people’s heart while marketing it to be a outright love story is deceiving and Mani will have to pay for that. For a Jeyamohan story, its not all that black given his track record but for Mani Ratnam this blackness is very new. Editor Sreekar Prasad and ARR have missed opportunities at right places to backup Mani with that extra cut or that punchy BGM but after all its the captain’s fault at the end.

As we drove back, my friend and I filled up the remaining holes by discussing and this is exactly what Mani should have done implicitly. Also should have had the heart to cut the Disney graphics at the end and should have stopped at the hospital shot.

Regardless, a work to rejoice for the cinephiles. 5 -8 years from now, this will be regarded as a classic. Come back to read this again.

P.S: My cheap shot sentence – And please stop saying the movie is about a 3 hour religious discourse. Get a life, become inclusive and take it easy, yo’all!

Delusions Galore!

mayakkam enna dhanush selvaraghavan

Mayakkam enna was a wasted effort, devoid of substance and class. It didn’t engage me as a viewer, didn’t bother to develop its rather cardboard characters and never stopped to pretend that it was a raw but class movie. All this I never wanted to say about a Selvaraghavan film but I do now. Given that I’m a huge fan of Selva’s films, I wanted to enjoy Mayakkam Enna and was already sold on the film although with just normal expectations.

The whole dating, fraaandship piece was artificial and the friends didn’t seem to belong together at all. Without dwelling scene-by-scene on why I was irritated, I guess the story wasn’t rich, its characters very superfluous without much of character, the very pretentious music that tends to cover up the nagging screenplay and of course some really bad acting. The so called ‘genius’ angst was badly expressed and its lead character gets a handful of accents that it confuses the heck out of a viewer.

The plot shifts rather swiftly from what it was trying to detail to a completely different dimension. Although it’s not uncommon for a selva film, this jump cut was crazy. How much ever one wanted to submit to the director’s thinking, he doesn’t support the shift with good reasons. If the ‘irumbu manushi’ issue was the point of the premise then the first half was totally wasted and if it was the ‘genius’ angst of the antagonist that formed the crux of the premise then the whole movie never wrapped around it clearly.

Simply put, its a movie to avoid even if you are Selvarghavan fan. I wish this is the last time I get to write such a review for a Selvaraghavan film.

Related Posts: Nasty Dynasty, Why I like/dislike Selvaraghavan?

Nasty Dynasty

First, a pedestal for Selvaraghavan’s Aayirathil Oruvan just like the one put up here for Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Fantasy genre is a very special one. Just like Harry Potter lineup, if you don’t get into the movie, your brain starts questioning how Harry Potter didn’t hit on the brick wall when trying to walk through a pillar in the train station. Not all of us are hardwired for such instant leap of faith. Cutting down such crap with which reviews usually begin and starts to bore us with such psychological theories that the reviewer referred to before writing the review, Aayirathil Oruvan is a kickass film that should be enjoyed in a full screen without uttering a single word to the next seater. All you might know, he might have already taken the leap of faith and immersed in the movie and you are just thinking, how the hell can lightning strike on karthi while being blessed.

In any case, AO has stupendous writing, great pace, wonderful camera, immaculate art and costumes and ofcourse an apt finish to the neat start. The movie hasnt been pulled off just by the different landscape or thoughtful subtexts in screenplay but by the actors who have made us believe that the movie could be a true story.

And yes, the critics say that it has tinges of Gladiator and every other historical fantasy they have seen so far. Sure. For that matter, King Kong had big influences from Titanic and Jurassic Park. It was still considered as a herculean effort. And Selvaraghavan needs to be lauded for pulling it off with limited resources.

Above all that the movie kept me glued to the screen throughout the length of the movie. It was paisa vasool and I felt I should have paid a few more bucks for entertaining me thoroughly. Not a single movie after Virumandi had me tied up so badly. If you are crazy enough, you would love Aayirathil Oruvan. I pity the ones who hated it. You just missed an interesting piece of Tamil Cinema for who knows how long you would have to wait for another movie as gripping as this. SORRY!

Santosh Subramaniam – The Romance is back

santhosh subramaniam

I didn’t have any hope for the film knowing that it was a re-make from the remake king Raja. But it turned out to be the exact opposite. It was fun, pure fun and clean entertainment for a genre that’s out of fashion in Tamil cinema. Priya’s Kannamochi Yennada couldn’t bring back that classic romance-family combo. Yaaradi Nee Mohini attempted to do that and failed badly. Not only Santhosh Subramaniam kept me awake for the entire span of the movie but it also brought back memories of yesteryear films that were mere theater plays made for the big screen.

In what seems like an acting competition between Prakash Raj, Geetha and Boys fame Genelia D’Souza, Genelia wins hands-down. She will probably walk away with the heroine of the year award, if Asin wouldn’t match her performance with Dasavathaaram. Genelia seems very natural and the major part of her success in this movie should go to Savitha, the dubbing artist. Genelia is becoming a talent to watch-out for. Watch out.

Prakash Raj wasn’t spontaneous in Mozhi and even in Vellithirai. He probably takes too much of importance in films he produces and I didn’t like his performance in those movies. But in SS, he rocks. Thanks to his controlled act as a strict father, I am starting to like his performance, again.

Geetha, one of my all time favorites in Tamil cinema and a much under-rated actress makes an impact with her stereotyped Kamala Kamesh role as the Kollywood mom. Everyone including Balachander[Azhagan] to Mani Ratnam[Thalapathi] under utilized this great performer and its one of the many shames of Kollywood.

Jeyam Ravi delivers a better performance than what one expects from him. And that’s good for his career. Santhanam cracks a dozen wordplay jokes on others. Another talent to watch out for. I’ve saying this from the days of Sagalai Vs Ragalai. And what was Sadagopan Ramesh doing there as the brother. Dude, aren’t you supposed to play cricket ?

The editing by Mohan(father of director Raja) is just perfect. He has to be thanked for the crisp climax, just like Chennai 600 028. T Kannan’s camera and combined with Mohan’s editing makes the film an easy watch. Two neat tunes by Devi Sri Prasad.

I haven’t watched the original Telugu movie, Bommarillu and so I am not sure if this is a scene-by-scene remake. But I’m sure Raja has sense of the big screen. He brings back Kollywood’s classic formula of bubbly romance mixed with family drama in a perfect fashion. This is a perfect rich-family-boy falling in love with single-parent-middle-class-talkative-girl story. For the fun filled first half, thanks to Genelia and Director Raja. Paisa Vasool !!

King Kong – Demi 'Peter Jackson' God

King Kong

An outright commercial. Fantasy flick. Overtly sentimental. Glitches here and there. Popcorn muncher’s special. Graphics Galore.

Yet its an accomplishment in modern cinema. Its bigger than what you have seen before. While it pays tributes to many classics, its tries to get better than all of them. It slightly succeeds too. If you are a sane person you wouldn’t attempt to make a movie like that. One would assume it was Matrix or Charlie Kaufman flicks which were unconceivable. Even after conceiving, bringing them on-screen would be a tight rope walk. But King Kong is very much conceivable but the script to screen conversion is where Peter Jackson displays his genius in movie making. If Lord Of The Rings was anything by grandeur, King Kong is an epitome of this show business. With this PJ proves he is one among the top showmen in Hollywood.

Oh !! yeah, its the same story. The beauty and the beast. The same moving fantasy tale that we have witnessed before more than once on-screen. But there’s not one beast here but an array of them. While the gorilla falls in love with blond babe, the other spooky creatures try to eat the beauty, flesh and blood. Its like making Mahabharata or Bible, as a film. The whole world knows the story. So what are you going to do different about it ? Peter answers that with an utmost ease. Even succumbing to have a very ‘believable’ ending, PJ still works his crazy ways of getting there, to the climax. With a three hour movie you could pretty much bore the fans with all the build-up. PJ does take his own sweet time in unleashing the beast but doesn’t allow you to sink in the seat, even until then. Howabout having King Kong + Titanic + Jurassic Park + all the what-if-you-get-lost-in-a-creepy-forest movies in one movie. Its a sheer tact to combine the best of all these and pack them into one movie.

The beauty and the beast are so well attached to each other. Just like the previous Kong flicks, you would fall in love with the Kong even at the very minute you meet him. At the end, it does compel you to shed a single tear. Though it might be laughable to watch the inter-species romance, this is how the original was made. Kong loves the Ann Darrow, a suffering actress. Ann just sympathizes Kong for that. But no where as I feared, Naomi shouts,” Kong…Kill them”. And thats a big relief.


An effort of re-creating this classic is an herculean task. There are hundreds of infinitesimal details that needs to be taken care. Without a worthy team, PJ wouldn’t have succeeded in creating this to-be-classic. Yes, PJ’s King Kong is the most complete movie in the Kong series and its an instant classic. A perfect cast which includes, Naomi Watts – the babe from Mulholland Dr., Adrien Brody – with a nose of namooru Vikram and the superb Jack Black. I would crime if you missed to mention, Andy Serkis as the man behind the CG Gorilla. You just can’t ask for more in the casting department.

Re-creating the depression-era New York mustn’t have been hard with computer graphics. But the production values are just mind-blowing. The skull-island and those wacky creatures seem horribly true. King Kong by himself seems completely alive. Be it the way he jumps thunderously to catch the blond girl or the way he sneaks through the streets of New York after finding her. while the most brilliant sequences being the above, there are also masterfully picturised stunts between the Gorilla and T-Rexes. You wouldn’t be skeptical, that Kong is a computer generated creature. However there are places where the cast caught in between graphics, seem unreal. An amazing support from the music director for those splendid BGMs.

It takes nearly 100 minutes for the Kong to enter the story but the entry is with a build-up much bigger than a Super Star entry. From then on until the end its pure action, every shot. At times it gets so high that you just wish, PJ would give a few minutes of break for the action.

As Peter Jackson says, its his childhood dream to make King Kong. But none including him would have believed that it would turn so spectacular. The whole three hour movie seems to be a big dipper of fun, romance, action and fantasy.

A must see, ofcourse in the theatre. Don’t even dare to watch in on the DVD. Forget your logic and critic hats at home. PJ’s King Kong like Spielberg’s ET is one of those reasons, why movies exist.

Harry's Hormones

harry's hormones

After nearly the whole world has watched Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire, I set out to watch the movie on a Saturday morning. By the time, I walked out of the theater, it was freezing cold outside and I couldn’t believe that there were still cars running around. Not because it was freezing cold outside but I was in a state of trance for the last couple of hours that made me believe that when you aim a wand at something it can transform into a monkey or a donkey or even an IIPM Ad. Who knows. Harry Potter isn’t Rajini to get you transfixed during his on screen presence. Still, Harry Potter has a magical aura around him. And even if you never liked, with people around you cheering, ” Harry Harry Harry”, you can’t just hate him. And I was one such odd man out.

Harry Potter and I have a love-hate relationship. Before I go on to state what the love is, here’s a secret. I haven’t yet read any of Harry Potter books. One reason could be that before I set out to read book one, I saw the first movie. After then, year after year, it’s a custom to walk into a theater where Harry fights Voldermot and succeed every single time. Hence I am not a major Harry Potter freak to whom you could ask, ” Which spell makes the Dark Mark appear ?” and I would readily shout, Morsmordre. From the first time, I always have a feeling that I haven’t understood the entire thing about Hogwarts and Harry as compared to someone who has read the book(s). Generally, I would love to read a book and watch the movie but I am not used to read a book series like Potter and watch the respective movies on screen. Not just me but millions of people around the world aren’t used to this kind of book-then-movie-book-then-movie stuff. Thats probably one reason, why I believe Harry Potter is a major phenomenon and would be talked about until at least the next century. I ain’t awestruck at Harry Potter’s movie but I I truly believe in this.

Even as I purchased the ticket, I knew that Harry Potter wouldn’t die in the hands of Voldemort. As the print media is already selling Harry’s sixth book, one would know before hand Harry Potter is going to succeed even in fifth and the sixth movie. That certainly distances you from getting involved with the movie. This is where my interest never gets even as as Harry gets a wild card entry in the Tri-Wizard tournament. So I have to say if there are major changes to the climax of the next Potter movies, my energy levels would soar and would make people like me, get involved. I wish that happened much against the wish of Harry Potter fans.

In this serving of Harry Potter’s Adventure at Hogwarts, Harry’s hormones work overtime even as Harry is thrown into a deadly challenge for which he isn’t mentally ready. As he makes a lengthy stare at his school mate Cho Chang, you know Harry has grown-up. This is clearly innocence lost. From just being a children’s fantasy story, Harry Potter grows up into a teenager flick. I am not sure if this is what J K Rowling originally intended to be. There is a huge possibility that she just allowed the character to shape it by itself and hence from being just a chandamama story hero, Harry Potter gives a feeling of being a real human being. This is the biggest plus in creating a fantasy story. You could make just about anything in a fantasy story. Even in the next story, JK rowling could take Harry Potter back to his first year at Hogwarts.

I have to ramble here. Harry Potter isn’t James Bond or Spiderman or Superman or any of the super heroes. If this Harry Potter like growth had happened, year after year, James Bond should have turned into a 70 year old man now, going by Ian Fleming’s initial description of James Bond. Or Superman would be a retired old man, sitting in a recliner and reading NY Times. But it never happened. Superman is as young as he was, when first introduced. Watch out for the young Superman as he returns in the summer of 2006. My Paati created a fantasy hero for her grand children. So the same Darling Rajakumaran is still fighting the Mahendrapuri Raaja as he was during my childhood days. My nephew heard the same story a few years back. Just that the latest Darling Rajakumaran drives a Maruthi 800 while mine had only a karuppu horse. May be this growing up is what makes Harry Potter a saga. An epic that could stay for decades to come. None can answer now and its for time to answer how Harry Potter would be carried into the future. Probably 50 years from now, like Peter Jackson, some could give life to the forgotten Potter story and re-take it for the movie standards of that day. The reality is, Daniel Radclife would have enough beard like Dumbledore and would be resting in a recliner like the above said Superman.

Goblet of Fire is a so-so movie. There are some fantastic CGI scenes but the movie is more realistic than other Potter movies. The Quiditch World Cup had breath taking special effects. Made me wish if only there was a real stadium like that. Someone said the whole quiditch stuff ran into more than 50 pages in the book while it was reduced to 5 minutes on-screen. Quiditch was one thing that made me sit-up in the first potter movie and I felt let down as the whole chapter ended up so fast. Still, the movie by itself was filled with competitions. It had 3 races and some story in-between the three competitions. While the dragon episode was the grand one, the other two were pitiful counter-parts. Especially the maze competition for climax, reminded me of the final scenes of Kubrick’s Shining.

The screenplay has a many yawning places which made me slide down the chair and yearned to go to sleep. Of course there are also sensational scenes in the story. Though reading the whole Yule Ball episode might be sleep inviting, on-screen it was short and sweet. Harry asks for a girl to dance with him during the ball. Since she is already going with someone else, he finally settles down for an Indian girl. And why would they want to symbolically represent Indians as brown skinned by choosing darker girls while there are thousands of fairer Patels and Shahs in England. Spontaneously, Harry hugs Granger while he is about to start for the second round of competition. Thats probably a highlight of this Harry Potter episode. I’m waiting to see if Granger would marry(?!!) Potter or Weasley, as Wesley also sights Granger as much as Harry. The ending was sober with the death of a friend but there is an entire sequence before that seems like the mummy awakening, which is exciting.

There is absolutely no reason to write a review for this movie. Its become like a sort of social thingy for Harry Potter movie to release and the world waits for their turn of tickets in long queues of theaters to watch him do magic. They still cheer, “Harry Harry and Harry !!”. More reasons to love this movie than hate it.

Sivakasi – Okkamakka Kalakks !!

Vijay in Sivakasi

The process of creating a successful potboiler lies in the art of creating an interesting storyline. While a successful film stops there, a super hit goes into unraveling the interesting story with lots of twists thereby doping the audience. Though how much ever Perarasu sounds completely crass and cliched when they display a title, Story Sceenplay Dialogue Lyrics Direction – Perarasu, has managed to create an acceptable masala that is certain to end up as a Super HIT.

Sivakasi is coming together of a divided family and this ain’t new for kollywood for we have been witnessing this since Kudiyirundha Koil. As a change, the movie starts in the Ranganathan Street of T.Nagar and travels to the village for a climax. Offlate, the stories from villages come speeding towards a city, this story actually is a relief as the second half is set in a village. The speedy second half would actually cover-up for the comedy drag in the first half and when the people come out of theatres, they would certainly look at Sun TV cameras and repeat, “Sir, Padam Super”. The winner is actually AM Ratnam. While a successful movie always reward nearly everyone, AM Ratnam manages to get a super hit from every alternate movie.

Exactly on the fifth minute, an iron door is cut with a gas burner and an image walks out. The camera pans in wide angle from the shoe to show the face. The camera wantedly shakes and a loud harmony of Oh !! Oh !! continues in the background. Few minutes later, the mechanic kid says, “Anney!! Oru anju thadava turn pannunganney”, our hero actually turns five times with a ready-made music of vishk vishk vishk. Irrespective of your movie philosphies, you tend to enjoy just these supremely exaggerated shots and willing to watch this angry young man in action. By the time, our hero reaches for the kumkum plate and make a thilak on his forehead, you are sucked into an idiosyncratic world of Super Stars. With Vijay, An HEIR to the Super Star arrives.

Heroism in kollywood terms, comes easy to Vijay. He is graceful, cool and is on his best when the story requires him to display heroism. This is the third of Vijay’s good movie in the last 3 years. After Thirumalai it was Gilli and now its Sivakasi. Vijay has nearly perfected the rajini pattern and infact I should say he says that loud in few scenes like when he is throwed onto the throne as in Rajini Muthu. Also when he pronounces, Unmaiya Sonnen while vishking his finger. With the boy-next-door looks and a typical dravidian face, Vijay will be celebrated like Rajini. Vijay who is 30 has an advantage of starting early. Vijay is here to stay provided if he doesn’t get carried away in doing ‘different’ movies. I only wish those crappy dialgoues on ‘how to be a girl’ are most avoided.

Prakash Raj actually increased the value of the film. With his role similar to Gilli if not the same, he out performs most of others in the movie. As they say, only when you have a Nambiyaar, MGR can become a hero, Prakash Raj is a must have for such movies. Asin is the heroine. Asin is the heroine. Asin is the heroine. Nothing much about this girl who even laughs in malaylam. The comedy gang spear-headed by the ‘hari-giri’ Chittibabu does a neat job. Prakash Raj’s sidekick, the guy with the beard is actually funny. And as many believe, the director just ensembled the hit characters of the recent commercial hits and brought them together in one movie. The songs and dances are certainly cool and reminding me of Dhill, Gilli, Dhool and Thirumalai.

If you are all out for the movie, you will enjoy, clap hands and whistle along with the crowd and I did miss watching this movie in Kamala among numerous Vijay fans. Have a mighty timepass !!

How not to write a review !!

While the puritans, journos and some industry elites are upset that anyone today can write movie reviews on the internet, I was worried about those who say that. When anyone can walk into a theatre to watch a movie, anyone can comment on it. Whether the comment withstands applauds or succumbs to criticism depends on the smartness of the reviewer. When someone could get angered on all the reviewers of the mainstream media and kick start his own reviews online, it is his way of expression. Just like how the technology enables sharing of the knowledge which was once reachable only by the haves, it also enables expression of a common audience.

With blogging becoming an enabling device for reviewers of all sorts, movie reviewers were also born. A few years later after blogging kick started, you could spot only a few gems here and there. Many of them are just re-telling of the story, sub-standard and completely clueless about the grammar of reviews. They are silly, sloppy and irritating. But these are bound to happen. I am going to support them. Call me biased. With a heap of crap coming from the mainstream media, who are regarded as the people who define standards for writings, these mushrooming blog reviewers will also get consolidated and only the fit will survive. If someone was to write a review of Kurudhippunal and has no idea about the motifs and the philosophy behind a movie, it will glaringly show-up in the review. Either it will end up as 5 paragraph review with every para directed towards a component of a movie thereby encompassing all the elements of a movie or the other way. The other way is to just take a small theme of the movie and magnify it to exorbitant proportions and finally ends up as just a piece-of-the-pie.

I believe a perfect review lies somewhere in-between these two extremes. Any one who can balance between these two will emerge with a successful review that’s laudable. If you take either of these approaches, you fall short at the end. Stop. Before you start posting that comment here asking me how I can claim a say on this issue of reviews, I am not the authority of reviews, so is everyone. None of the so-called-reviews that I have written here have followed these rules. Its just now, I am getting the see the grammar of reviews clearly. I haven’t followed these at but I believe that this is what will work.

First off, writing a review shouldn’t be just to create a controversy or to add one to the count of your reviews or to brag about the knowledge of films that one possess. Writing in-depth about a movie can become boring to the readers and in the same way shirking the other aspects that contributed to the movie. A good review, again, I believe, can only come out of watching a good/bad movie. Whoever wants to write a movie should be moved by the movie, for good or bad. For an armchair critic, everything will appear faulty or shiny. Someone who watches a movie open-minded, given the skill of expressing what he witnessed, would be the best reviewer. Hence the critic ceases to be correct after a dozen times. For him, alcohol has no effect. But for the fresh reviewer who writes reviews just for the joy of it, even a bottle of beer can be intoxicating. The idea of constantly doing the same joyous job again and again, even for a porn actor, would become mundane. Hence the blogging community taking up reviewing as their second profession is a welcoming move. Even if it is not welcomed, it will happen. But as said before, the best will remain. Others will be discarded or will not be noticed.

I was triggered to write this whole blogpost only because of the review of Anniyan that I finished reading just now on Kumudam’s Theeranadhi. Written by Ramaswamy, the review made me laugh for nuts. It is such narrow minded review that I was mentioning before as blowing up a small motif to a godzilla. Starting from the Aryan invasion, the brahminical violence and few other unheard theologies, the review completely misleads the reader into a different track. One specific instance where the reviewer points out, that a link exists between Charlie’s killing by Anniyan and the Dravidian abuse on Brahmins during the early 70’s. He goes on to say that Anniyan is a movie to role-model brahmins to oppose that abuse. In the concluding paragraph, the reviewer tries to balance the review and then goes back to his own arguments again.

While I’m positive that some amount of Sujatha’s inputs would have influenced in the characterisation of Ambi, I don’t think Shankar to be such a fool to allow his movie to be hijacked for some unknown historical cause. A 70 year old Sujatha needn’t write a movie to infuse brahminical thoughts in the people’s mind. He could might as well tell them straight through a column. Even if these could be theoritically true, Shankar wouldn’t want to risk a high budget movie for such a small cause. Also by infusing these unheard thoughts, Anniyan seems to be a better movie that it really is. Anniyan is such a badly executed commercial movie without any such under-currents. Such reviews are only written to boast on the intellectualism the ‘Siru Pathirikaigal’ seem to be advocate of. While I don’t blame the reviewer for it, because he has a his own limitations of what the editor wants to be published. Probably the entire review would have been re-written in his name.

A similar mi-leading thing happened with a wonderfully shot movie named ‘Kathal’. Balaji Shakthivel’s movie could be called a classic in the coming years except for it’s abrupt ending. While many of us call it abrupt ending, the intellectuals of these small magazines call it as a rebellious and infectious climax. During the final scenes as the protagonist, a backward caste teenager, roams in the road as an insane dude, the heroine comes running to him and falls in his feet to request a apology for marrying someone else. All this happening and the climax being complete here, two reviewers of small magazines (I think, Dheemtarikida and Uyirmmai, though I’m not sure here) wrote that the movie has anti-periyaar sentiments being adviced in the movie. Reason, while the climax happens, a periyaar statue stands in the middle of the road. And hence they call ‘Kadhal’ to be a movie with intentions well hidden. Even Periyaar himself wouldn’t spare these folks.

Not only these folks but there are bunch of mainstream media folks who also write bad reviewers and hence the coming up of a new genre of blog reviewers should be a welcoming move. We have tried everything and now we need to give bloggers a chance. If only bloggers can be level-headed and not write such horrendous reviews, atleast the main-stream media folks would start understanding that just being in main-stream media alone doesn’t help, you got to write right stuff. Bloggers Arise !!