Friday, September 30, 2005

2 New Reviews

Reviews for Dhaas and A Aa are now available at bbreviews.

Friday Jumble - 3

Regular bbthots readers should've seen this coming :-)

The theme of today's jumble is Tamil actresses. So all 4 words and the final answer are names of actresses from Tamil movies. No promises on old or new, how well-known they are, etc. But I can guarantee that all 5 have appeared in atleast 1 movie reviewed on bbreviews.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Back to the Past

Saw on Kaps’ blog that it is Kushboo’s birthday today and boy does she need some good wishes! Whoever thought that simply speaking one’s mind would land someone in such hot water?!

Kushboo, in an interview to the Tamil edition of India Today, apparently said that most Tamil girls today indulge in pre-marital sex and that that was OK as long as they protected themselves against pregnancy and diseases. Even before she could take her foot out of her mouth, she became the target of the self-appointed protectors of Tamil culture (you know, the same ones who think having English titles to Tamil movies destroys our culture).

The actress cut short her Singapore trip and hurried back and has since apologized both in print and on TV (very tearfully, I read somewhere). But the politicians and activists are just not willing to let it go. With a zeal rarely shown by our politicians, they have lodged a case against the actress in court. And at the risk of having dusty floors in their own houses, women have carried their brooms (I swear, this is true. I actually saw this on the news on Sun TV) and laid siege to her house demanding that she apologize. If not, she would be sent back to Mumbai, they proclaimed. Last I heard, she has to appear in court on 14th.

So we've now reached the stage where we can't even say what we think. An individual cannot express his/her own opinion on a topic without fear of repercussion from a few narrow-minded people who, through brute force, are able to act on their threats. Isn't this exactly what happens in an autocracy?

I can understand the politicians making an issue out of her statements just for some cheap publicity. That seems to be all most of them do these days anyway. But what about the others? Shouldn’t the judiciary simply throw their case out? Why is Kushboo being asked to show up in court? Shouldn’t the lawyers thrust the “Freedom of Speech” act in the politicians’ faces and/or read it to them? The film fraternity, which usually prides itself on its unity, has let Kushboo down too. The nadigar sangam has washed its hands off the issue, calling it her ‘personal’ issue. Yeah right! I'm guessing that with Vijayakanth now in politics, he just doesn't want to be seen as anti-Tamil culture. I haven’t seen any other organizations(women's or otherwise) express their support for Kushboo either. And where the hell is Sundar.C?

Is it possible that Tamils, as a society, are actually moving backwards? We have filmmakers being dragged to court for making sex comedies. We have boys and girls being separated in colleges. We have people being dragged to court for merely expressing their opinions. And we have hotel owners being arrested for hosting parties on their premises. Such trivial issues are what the politicians are expending all their energy on while issues like water scarcity, crime and corruption take a backseat. If this isn't the sign of a regressive society, I’m not sure what is.


Babs mentioned this link in the comments section for the iPod Nano post. It lists things that happen in Hollywood movies and makes for hilarious reading.

And you thought only Vijayakanth movies flouted the laws of Physics!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Aa

Movies like Autograph may have legitimized directors appearing before the camera too instead of simply staying behind it. But A Aa provides the strongest case yet for directors NOT turning into actors. S.J.Suryah before the camera is the biggest(albeit not the only) factor working against making his latest effort difficult to sit through.

Shiva(S.J.Suryah), an investigative reporter and his lover Madhu(Nila) live together. Madhu is unemployed and Shiva is always on the run, working double shifts, so that they can maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Wishing to lessen Shiva's workload, Madhu decides to start a restaurant along with her friend's brother. But Shiva fears that her daily proximity to her partner may lead to something between them and his suspicion leads to a rift between them. Now its upto their memories and thoughts of each other to reunite them.

Any review of A Aa is guaranteed to be spoiler-free since Suryah opens the movie with a monologue of what is essentially a synopsis of the entire movie. I'm not sure who Suryah thinks will be watching his movie but the narration seems way too condescending. A true case of dumbing down the audience. And from his grand declarations during the narration, Suryah truly seems to believe that he is God's gift to Tamil cinema.

Suryah undoubtedly has some good ideas in that mind of his. The brother lusting after his twin brother's wife in Vaali, lovers separated by their own egos in Kushi, a boy trapped in a grown man's mind in New - all these were new ideas. But the way he presents these ideas has unfortunately seen a decline in quality. In A Aa he gives form to the memories/thoughts of the hero and the heroine. It is an idea that is original, looks good on paper and there are a few scenes that point to how the concept could've been interestingly exploited. But the possibilities are hopelessly buried under heaps of over-acting and vulgarity.

Tamil cinema has seen the likes of Ramarajan and Kunal grace the screen. But I would go as far as saying that S.J.Surya in A Aa gives one of the most irritating performances ever by a leading man in Tamil cinema. He waves his arms more than an orchestra conductor, delivers every piece of dialog like he was talking to a deaf man and is more expressive than even Jyothika was in Kushi. He is never still and his body language makes him look like a puppet whose puppetmaster has gone crazy and is pulling his strings at random. It is clear that Nila wasn't chosen for her acting skills. But her inexpressive face and muted body language actually comes as a relief in this movie. Nambiar as the 'leader' of the thoughts(!) and Urvasi as a psychiatrist have cameos.

Suryah might have made himself and Nila live together purely for controversy but the fact does help make their separation believable. Their frequent fights and subsequent makeups help create the picture of an immature couple thrown together before they were ready for the burden of a life together. So the big fight seems believable when it happens.

Tamil cinema is really starved of new ideas with most directors having a "follow the herd" mentality. So Suryah's gimmick of giving form to the characters' thoughts got me interested. Unfortunately, it remains just that - a gimmick. Whats more irritating is that Suryah doesn't follow is own rules when he uses them either. So at one point, these 'forms' are actually able to blow hard enough to create a gust of wind that causes things to topple!. Eventually, their scenes end up looking like poor rip-offs of the scenes in Ghost. The amateurish execution(as when we see a group of 'thoughts' walking around) and cheesy graphics don't help either.

The glamor and double entendres worked in New because the movie was a sex comedy. But they are hopelessly out of place here. As Suryah talks with double entendres(or in many cases, moves his lips wordlessly thanks to the censors) in the middle of a romantic scene , the vulgarity seems heightened and only irritation sets in. What made Suryah proclaim that this movie is for family audiences, I have no idea.

The picturization of the song sequences is overdone too. The melodious Mayilirage... is completely ruined with lame graphics and unsuitable dance movements while its remix, Marangothiye..., physically hurts the eyes with its fast cuts and bright backgrounds. The choreography for the catchy Aararai Kodi... seems a little too chaotic and Suryah's steps, which I appreciated in New's Sakkara Inikkira..., seem forced and ineffective here. Varugiraai... is the only song that actually fits into the movie and its lyrics make a lot sense at the point where it appears.

I wish my memories about this movie would take a human form and leave me!

iPod NaNo-No?

Steve Jobs finally knows what Bill Gates feels like!

For long, it has always been good news about Apple and bad news about Microsoft. While one regularly heard about hang-ups and blue screens of death and security holes on Windows, anytime one read about Apple, it was about a new product, the great bells and whistles on the next version of the Mac OS or the popularity of the iPods and their domination of the MP3 player market.

But the brand new iPod Nano is now giving headaches to Apple. Customers saw the LCDs on the Nanos breaking within a few hours of buying them and one disgruntled customer even set up a website about the issue. Apple has finally admitted that the issue is real and is due to "vendor problems" and said that customers with defective Nanos can return them for immediate replacement. But the company is still in denial regarding the complaint that the Nanos are more prone to scratches than other iPods.

PR is easy when all you are receiving are raves. It will be interesting to see how Apple and Jobs handle this issue and whether it cracks the halo that has been built around them.

PS: Btw, I read somewhere that the good guys in Hollywood movies always use Macs while the baddies use Windows. I started noticing this after reading the article and realized that it was actually true. Talk about subliminal messaging!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Simple Pleasures

Looking back, it is easy to remember life’s big pleasures. The big moments that had a significant impact on our lives and maybe even determined the direction the rest of our lives took. Gaining admission in college. Getting the visa to come to the US. Getting married. Becoming a dad. Getting a promotion. Watching the latest Rajni movie :-) Such moments are imprinted in our minds forever.

But as we enjoy (or look forward to enjoying) these big moments, we tend to forget that life throws up so many little pleasures too. Pleasures that get a raw deal and are usually dismissed rather unfairly as alpa sandhoshangal. So this post is dedicated to these li’l fellas. The things listed here may not have a big impact on my life. But for atleast a few seconds, they make me feel on top of the world. And that makes my day just a li’l bit better…

- See the traffic light turn to green just as I near the intersection so that I don't have to hit the brakes

- See the cutie at work park her car and walk to the door at the exact same time as me so that she smiles and says "Hi"

- Settle down at work to see no new (business) emails / phone messages

- Open up my personal email and see a bunch of comments for my latest post :-)

- Learn after coming to work that all managers are at an offsite meeting for the entire day

- See a car pull out from the spot closest to the mall/theater/office just as I drive up

- Parallel park on the first try

- Spot a customer return a brand-new movie I really wanna see just as I am walking out of the video store empty-handed

- Come to know of someone coming from India just when the current stock of thengappodi is about to run out

- Get a coupon through email for the exact item I’ve been thinking about buying (this happened to me today and I bought this)

- Wake up in the middle of the night, see that it’s just 2 o’clock and that the baby’s fast asleep, and go back to sleep :-)

Monday, September 26, 2005


- Paheli is India’s entry for the Oscars. I saw only about half hour of the film. So I'm not exactly in the position to comment on its selection. It was definitely original and quite colorful though. But my surprise is more on the other contestants for the entry. The Tamil entries were Kaadhal and Sachein. Sachein??!! What in God’s name did the judges find in Sachein that prompted them to even consider it as an entry for the Oscars?

But looking back on the 2005 releases so far, I realized that I would have a hard time picking even one movie as a nominee for any award. 2005’s not exactly been a good year for Tamil films, has it?

- A Aa is supposedly a hit. Who are these viewers that are going to the movie in enough numbers to make it a hit? I am yet to come across even a single positive review of the movie and the comments to this post mirrored my own opinion of it.

If New’s success prompted SJS to make A Aa, I shudder to think what this success is going to make him come up with next. The good news is that his next directorial venture(Puli) is with Vijay. So after Kalvanin Kaadhali, we may be spared from seeing him on the screen for a while.

- Ghajini’s advance booking is on the same range as the advance bookings for Chandramukhi and Anniyan. It has a hero who hasn’t had a genuine solo hit (I read somewhere that Kakka Kakka was a hit only in the metros), a new heroine and a director who, inspite of two hits, isn’t exactly a household name. So what has contributed to the advance buzz on the movie? Is it the possibilities afforded by the Memento storyline? Is it the slick promos? Or just good PR?

Whatever the reason, I’ve succumbed to the hype too and am eagerly looking forward to it. All that’s left is to show up at the theater on Friday :-)

- Ghajini’s the first of 4 big releases for Asin. But she apparently has no movies signed after these 4 and the Sify article strangely says that none of the 4 heroes would pair up with her again. Why not? Our heroes are not averse to having the same heroine twice (or more) are they? After all, Vijay’s Aadhi will see him with Trisha for the third time.

The competition between Asin and Nayanthara seems to have spilled over to Andhra too though Nayan seems to have the edge there with movies with top heroes.

- Dhoom 2 is really revving up the star power. Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai are gonna play the bad guys! Quite a casting coup. Aish has played a negative character before but I was pleasantly surprised that Hrithik is not succumbing to the image game and is OK with playing a baddie.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Last week was the official advent of Fall here in the US. That brought back memories of a poem I wrote a few years ago. The inspiration was the tree in our front yard that had performed its annual striptease to mark the season...



The majestic tree looks so forlorn today
As its last leaves ever so gently fall
Denuding as the season changes
Heralding the end of Fall

The start of the season saw the tree aglow
Swathed in the glorious colors of Fall
Its leaves painted in scarlet and pink and gold
Its beauty held people in thrall

Now that the skin of leaves has peeled off
Its body is as bare as a skeleton
The branches are bony limbs of wood
Scrawny fingers of twigs at the end

And as the chilly wind blows through the air
It bares its naked branches to the cold
Defying the winter to bring on the snow
Alone and vulnerable, but bold

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Movie Reviews

I may risk losing some bbreviews readers with this post but I think I've finally found the best reviewer of Indian(Tamil and Hindi) movies on the web. I've seen Bharadwaj Rangan's name on Zero's and Munimma's blogrolls earlier but bloghopped to his site only today. And I'm hooked. He has a great writing style and his reviews are fair, gramatically correct, very humorous and have a real nice flow. Real classy stuff. To see what I mean, check out his reviews of Chandramukhi & Mumbai Express and Oru Naal Oru Kavavu & Anniyan and his very insightful interview/article on Shankar. Makes me wish he reviewed more Tamil movies.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Jumble - 2

Unscramble the 4 words(no plurals) and enter in the boxes below. Now select only the circled letters and unscramble them to answer the question at the bottom.

Everyone found the previous one too easy. Hope this one provides atleast a little more of a challenge :-)

Email bbalaji [at] sbcglobal [dot] net for hints/solution verification. Comments on 'fun' level, comparative difficulty, etc. are welcome too :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Online Indian DVD Rentals

Longtime readers may remember that the CEO of an an online Indian movies sale and rental website contacted me regarding using my reviews from bbreviews on the site. The site MyPicks is now online.

Though the influence of Netflix is pretty obvious, the site does look impressive. Its user interface is clean and easy and the well-organized DVD collection looks quite comprehensive at first glance. I clicked on a few movies and the information provided seems correct also.

If movie availability and customer service match what is offered by Netflix, I think MyPicks has a good chance to be successful. What do you guys think of the site?

Seven (or Less)

Thot I’d escape this tag but 2 people(Raju, Mitr) tagged me. So here goes…

I just couldn’t come up with 7 things for any of the categories. So rather than inventing things, I’ll just list the ones I did come up with. Makes it more spontaneous and honest anyway, doesn’t it? And in keeping with the spirit of this blog, answers are lighthearted but true nevertheless :-)

Things I plan to do before I die:

  • Travel to Australia, Europe and Africa (atleast see the pyramids and go on a wild life safari)
Things that I can do:

  • Completely entertain both my kids so they don’t get amma’s nenappu
  • Window shop at any electronics store for hours
  • Watch any Tamil movie beginning to end with Fast Forwarding :-)
Things that I can't do:

  • Take things seriously
  • Cook
  • Public speaking
  • Be a workaholic
  • Go on a roller-coaster that has a steep drop
  • Go more than a few days without eating thayir saadham and my mom’s thengappodi.
Things that attracts me to the opposite sex:

  • Pretty face (with that tough-to-define aspect I like to call ‘warmth’)
  • Smile
  • Sense of humor i.e. laughing at my jokes :-)
  • This is the one category I can actually come up with 7 things. But since my parents read this blog too, I’ll stop here

Things I say the most:

  • Shoot
  • Darn
  • Yeah right!
  • No, I will not fast forward this song/fight sequence :-)
Celebrity crushes:

  • Jo
Celebrities I want to meet:

  • Rajnikanth (no surprises here!)


Just had let it out after watching(or rather, enduring) the first half of A Aa yesterday. What the hell was SJS thinking?!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ghajini Update

Though not quite matching the (dubious) record set by Anniyan, Surya's eagerly anticipated Ghajini has been postponed a few times already. It has now been cleared by the censors and it looks like it might finally make it to the theaters on September 29. The censor board members "appreciated its racy and slick presentation" and those who saw the film(wonder who they are!) are "raving about it and Surya's performance". Lets hope the film ends this rather long drought of really good Tamil movies.

I last wrote about the film almost a month back when the movie's release date was supposed to be September 2. A few updates since then.... The movie's story, with its protagonist searching for a killer while afflicted with short-term memory loss, sounds similar to Memento. Question is how much Murugadoss can simplify and 'Tamilize' the rather complex original. I'm almost willing to bet that he does not follow the brilliantly original way Memento was constructed.

The movie has its own website that follows the usual template for Tamil movie websites and contains a brief synopsis, details about the cast and crew, stills, trailers and wallpapers. Nothing special. But the stills and trailers show that Nayanthara is definitely part of the movie.

The movie is also the first of 4 biggies for Asin. So we'll be seeing a whole lot of her in the next couple of months. The lady's so busy she had to miss out on Kamal's Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (but Kamal's not one to let anyone go that easily and I'm sure he'll rope her in for Dasaavadhaaram. Even if he has jodis for only half his supposed 10 roles, he still needs 5 cuties :-)

PS: While on the topic of Surya, Sify has some pics from his next venture Aaru. Surya(in rowdy get-up a la Nandhaa), Trisha(looking very cute!), Hari(director) and Charan(producer) make a potent combination for sure. Lets hope Aaru hits a sixer :-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Good, the Boring and the Worst!

Sin City

I like movies with style. I love slow-mo shots, wire-fu stunts, split-screens and all those other techniques that add style to a film. I love old John Woo movies and movies as diverse as Run Lola Run, Hero and The Matrix for this reason. The story is secondary in such movies which catch our attention with their visual flair more than anything else. Sin City is another addition to the list and a movie where style oozes from every frame.

The film has three stories and I shamelessly confess to not understanding all stories and the links between them completely. But I still watched what was onscreen with rapt attention because of the presentation. The film is presented in film noir style and is entirely in black and white. But there are flashes of color (usually red or other bright colors) in some of the scenes that really pep up the visual effect. The characters are memorable and some real cool dialogs are uttered with relish by the actors. Action (there’s not a lot of it though) and violence (there’s a lot of it) are way over-the-top but suit the mood of the film.



Sahara is an action adventure with little action and little adventure. Its characters spend too much time talking and the action, when it happens, is completely preposterous and boring.

The story in such movies is usually merely an excuse to string together a bunch of action scenes. So the outlandishness of the story (something about looking for a ship in the middle of the desert and contamination of all the water in the world) wasn’t a big surprise. But the lack of action definitely was. The first action sequence is a long time coming and I was barely awake by that time. And the sequence itself did nothing to wake me up.

The action set pieces also set new standards of preposterousness and make the over-the-top stunts in James Bond flicks look muted by contrast. In one sequence, the hero and his sidekick push themselves off the back of a pickup truck, walk across the desert (in the hot sun with no drinking water) carrying the bed of the pickup between them, find a crashed airplane and ‘sail’ on the sand using it. And you thought Vijayakanth’s movies had unbelievable stunts!!


The Ring Two

The Ring Two has to be the stupidest horror movie I have ever seen. It’s a given that the characters in horror movies are not exactly the brightest of the lot. I mean, they have to willingly enter haunted houses, dark basements, creepy cemeteries and other places we wouldn’t go near in a million years. But this movie and its heroine raise(or is it lower?!) the stupidity bar to a whole new level.

The mother here deserves to hauled up by Social Services for negligence and endangerment of her son. She lets him wander around alone in a fair in a brand new place, lets him sleep in his own room after knowing the ghost is after him and leaves him sitting in a bathtub in a co-worker’s place while she returns home to “pick up some things”!

Ghost stories usually work within their own logic but this film has no logic and just doesn’t work. Some really outrageous concepts are thrown around (the ghost apparently cannot hear what they talk in their sleep, which results in the mother talking to her son when he is asleep) and there are scenes (like the one where mother and son have a conversation ‘inside’ her dream) of mind-boggling stupidity. And the ending truly makes no sense considering everything that went on until then.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lights! Camera! Politics!

As you all probably know, Kollywood’s self-appointed captain Vijayakanth finally took the plunge into politics last week. He launched his new party in Madurai on September 14 with the unfurling of its flag and returned to Chennai yesterday to a rousing reception.Following the usual algorithm for party-naming in TN politics, he threw together unavoidable buzzwords like Dravida and Kazhagam to come up with the rather generic but familiar-sounding name of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam(DMDK) for his party.

Politics and cinema have been inseparable bedfellows in TamilNadu ever since Anna, Karunanidhi and MGR realized the power of cinema and decided to exploit it to further their political careers. The biggest crossover success was ofcourse MGR. His carefully-cultivated do-gooder image in cinema made him the darling of the masses and helped transform him into an unbeatable politician. Even before Iruvar’s thinly-veiled take on his life, I was aware of the myth of MGR through stories my dad narrated about him. His questioning of party accounts that led to the DMK split; his leading a procession to the governor’s office; his election victory while in the hospital (quite possibly the only instance where a candidate won an election without campaigning in person) – truly stuff that legends are made of.

The man might be dead but his name isn't. To date, any politician worth his salt tries to associate himself with MGR. Even Vijayakanth apparently entered the Madurai arena in the same van that MGR himself campaigned in during the 70s and 80s. Our current CM Jayalalitha too made it by latching herself tightly onto MGR’s wagon both literally and figuratively (remember her on his hearse?). I always wonder how many of the voters still simply vote for the irattai ilai rather than for her. She could probably be called a legend too since she has her share of stories. But unlike the stories about MGR, the ones about her usually invoke irritation rather than awe or admiration.

But the list of failures is much longer – Sivaji, Bagyaraj, Ramarajan, T.Rajendar. All made much-publicised attempts at politics and failed. There have also been the occasional S.V.Sekhar or Revathi contesting the election as independents. But the list of political aspirants from the cine-field only seems to be growing longer. Every election we see news about actors joining all political parties. And any popular actor is immediately asked about his "interest in politics" in every interview.

What is it that has made actors, automatic politicians-in-waiting? In many cases, it looks like a case of simply following the career path laid down by MGR, naively hoping for the same kind of success. Politics has now turned into the default next step for actors who are approaching the twilight of their careers. There is also the unwillingness to let go of the limelight that cinema provides them. These are people used to being fawned over, written about and mobbed when in public. So anonymity and isolation are not concepts they will be comfortable with. Being successful in politics will keep them in the public eye and unlike cinema, they could be politicians right until they take their last breath. There is always the hope that some actors enter politics out of a a genuine intent to do good; to leave their mark on history in a more permanent way than what is afforded by cinema.

Whatever the reason, Vijayakanth has proved to be a man of his word. It will be interesting to see if he manages to find the success that has eluded other actor-turned-politicians of recent times.

PS: While on the topic of actor-turned-politicians, Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that he is gonna run for the second term as Governor of California. So he IS gonna be back!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

First Role

I'd read somewhere that Trisha had acted in Jodi before her 'official' first film Lesaa Lesaa and finally got the chance to confirm it today. They showed Jodi on Sun TV today and Trisha does have a small role as one of Simran's friends. She looked a bit chubbier and had way less makeup than the Trisha we know today(after all, she was just the heroine's friend!). But quite a difference that made.

While on the topic, another actor I can think of who made the jump directly from small part to hero in the space of 1 film is Shaam. While I thought 12B was his debut, I was surprised to see him as one of Vijay's friends in a scene in Kushi.

Friday, September 16, 2005

2 New Reviews

Reviews for Oru Kallooriyin Kadhai and Thotti Jaya are online at bbreviews.

The Jumble

One of the earliest word games I was exposed to(and soon became addicted to) was the Jumble. It appeared in the Sunday magazine of Indian Express and was the primary reason that our Hindu-addicted household bought the Sunday edition of IE. Imagine my joy when I subscribed to the San Jose Mercury News here and found that they carry a Jumble puzzle everyday! With all news now available online, that is the only aspect of the print edition that I miss since I stopped the subscription.

The rules of the game are pretty simple. You get 4 jumbled words(2 5-letter and 2 6-letter) that you first have to unscramble and enter in the boxes below each word. Particular letters in each of the 4 words are circled. Once you have unscrambled all 4 words, you select only the circled letters and unscramble them to answer the riddle(usually some kind of a pun) at the bottom.

This puzzle is one I created for a get-together at our house a few years back. Wanna take a stab at it?

PS1: If you do find this interesting enough to play, could you jot down a quick comment saying so? Thanks.

PS2: No answers in comments maybe until Monday so as not to spoil the fun for others? Email bbalaji [at] sbcglobal [dot] net for hints/solution confirmation :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Today was a big day for Kodambakkam as three big films had their launches...

Ajith's Tirupathi had its launch at AVM studios. The biggest surprise was the chief guest - Ajith's arch-rival Vijay.

It looks like Vijay and Ajith are finally stopping letting their reel life rivalry spill over into real life. I've complained in the past about the battle waged by the two through dialogs and songs in their respective movies. And I don't recall seeing the two of them together at any movie launch or award function either. But Vijay giving up the title Tirupathi to Ajith and Perarasu, the director of Vijay's Tiruppaachi and upcoming Sivakasi, directing Tirupathi seem to indicate a thawing in their relationship. The two posed together like lifelong friends at the poojai. Now lets hope that this friendship extends onscreen too and they both stop taking childish potshots at one another.

PS1: The film's heroine is Sadha(sigh!) and she was there too but IMO, Shalini looks more like a heroine.

PS2: What's it with Ajith and his sunglasses? He was wearing them at the Paramasivan poojai too though both these poojais happened indoors.


Another big movie launch on the same day was the launch of Sarathkumar's 100th film Thalaimagan. From the attendees it does look rather sparsely attended with no other actors showing up.


Jeeva's film E(first Hindi D, then A Aa and now E. Looks like the current fad is to use letters as movie titles!) was also launched the same day. The producer, naturally, is Jeeva's dad R.B.Choudhary.

Surprisingly, this seems to be the most well-attended of the three launches. Guess R.B.Choudhary's clout was the reason for that. Kamal was the chief guest and both Ajith and Vijay made it too. I also spotted Sarathkumar & Radhika, Simbhu, Srikanth, K.S.Ravikumar, S.J.Suryah, Jeeva and Sibi apart from the film's heroine Nayanthara and cast members Vivek and Prakashraj.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Wife's Murder

My Wife’s Murder is a no-frills, tense thriller about an ordinary man thrown into an extraordinary situation of his own making.

The most surprising aspect of the film is how much it manages to mine from so very little. At its heart is a murder but it is not a whodunit, a whydunit or even a howdunit. All these are revealed to us when the murder happens. The story is fairly straightforward and doesn’t throw up any unexpected twists. And though it involves a murder investigation, the investigation is plain and thorough rather than being spectacular (i.e. it does not involve the police drawing clever conclusions from a string of clues). But inspite of these, the movie brings us to the edge of the seat.

The film's biggest success is that it makes us 'understand' the protagonist. His moves are dictated by desperation rather than calculated logic and this makes us sympathise with him. So there is genuine tension as the police draw closer to him. But the cops aren't the bad guys either. They are just doing their job. Their investigation is simple and precise and there are no bright guesses or leaps of intuition. Their steps are based on old-fashioned policework every step of the way.

After a brilliant first half the pace does drop off a little in the second half. And the scene where Anil Kapoor steals a truck affects the realism that the movie had built up so effectively until then. But it does recover nicely in the climax.

Anil Kapoor is a good fit for the protagonist’s role. He doesn’t have the ‘superstar’ halo and convincingly portrays an everyman on the run. But top acting honors go(again) to Boman Irani. He is superb as the food-loving policeman who follows his instincts and tracks the bad guy with single-minded devotion. Nandana Sen seems quite stiff initially but comes into her own as the movie proceeds while Suchitra Krishnamoorthy earns our irritation in the short time she is onscreen.

The first half takes place almost entirely indoors. The poor lighting and shadows very effectively create a claustrophobic atmosphere and a couple of scenes are actually a bit creepy. The background score also enhances the effect.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Separation Anxiety

My niece has recently joined Satyabhama Engineering College and my parents accompanied her mother to the college for the first day/orientation. Their description of the environment at the college surprised me no end. I’m not sure how many of the other colleges follow the same rules but I for one am glad I’m not enrolled there. The rules make it sound like a college in one of those dictatorial, futuristic societies we see in sci-fi movies.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided at allotted times (a separate fee is collected for this ofcourse). No private vehicles are allowed and everyone HAS to take the college bus to and from the college.

But never mind all that. The biggie is that the college completely forbids interaction between boys and girls. They are seated separately in the classroom and even the canteen has separate ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ sections. The staff members too are apparently not exempt since even the staff section of the cafeteria has separate male and female sections. Any boy and girl seen interacting on campus will be suspended.

That lack of boy-girl interaction pretty much takes away the #1 reason college life was fun. The pranks, the teasings, the gossip, the kadalai… college life would’ve been way more boring without all that. Not to forget the last-minute tips given by the studious gals before an exam that has many a time proved to be a lifesaver!

College administrator Jeppiar in his speech justified the above separation of the sexes by saying that students come to college to study and not have fun. And his promise to the parents of the girls in his college: “Unga ponnungala inga eppadi sekkuringalo, appadiye thirumba varuvaanga”(I’m sure I’ve heard that line in a Tamil film!).

Would this kind of strictness make the students more studious? Or would it make them even more distracted as they try to figure out ways around the rules? History has proved that students are always creative enough to find a way around the most restrictive of rules. So would the strictness even work? Will Satyabhama be the first co-education (hmmm... its been so long since I’ve used that word!) college where an entire batch of students graduates with no love affairs among any of the students?!

Age of Innocence

Sunday was Kavya's birthday party and needless to say, she was tremendously excited. She rushed to open the door as the first of our friends walked in. And peeking at their hands she asked "Did you bring a gift?" Sure it was good for a laugh but the question captures the essence of the most loveable and adorable aspect of kids - their innocence. But somewhere along the way, as we grow up, we lose that. Sigh...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Thotti Jaya

Thotti Jaya is an example of what happens when a director more comfortable directing romances tries his hand at directing an actioner. The film flows strongly and smoothly when the focus is on romance. But once the focus shifts to action, its sputters and struggles to keep our interest.

'Thotti' Jaya is the only name Jayachandran(Simbhu) goes by. Orphaned as a baby, he learned quite early that he could hit people (and hit 'em well) and that people were willing to pay good money for that. So he is now a goon of Seena Thaana(Pradeep Rawat), the biggest dada in Chennai. Forced to go into hiding to avoid the repercussions of a case, he goes to Calcutta, runs into Brinda(Gopika) and ends up escorting her back to Kanyakumari. The trip makes them both develop feelings for each other but problems crop up that make him go against his own boss.

For the first half, Thotti Jaya is a masala film. The introduction songs of Simbhu and Gopika confirm that. But it is a masala film without any masala touches. It has songs but no item numbers. It has romance but no duets, in foreign locations or otherwise. It has stunts but no special-effects-aided superhuman moves. And it has no comedy. These aspects, or rather, the lack of these aspects, make it a rather unique masala film pre-intermission. It is consistently involving, introduces likeable characters and fashions their interactions in a believable manner.

Director Durai proved in Mugavari(and to a lesser extent in Kaadhal Sadugudu) that fashioning a sweet and believable romance was his strength and he confirms that here. Thotti Jaya's romance is one of the best romances I remember seeing in a masala film. Though the basic circumstances, the timing and the reasons are the same as in Gilli, the romance here is even more believable. The way Simbhu and Gopika behave is very credible and in line with their characters. They hardly speak a few words to each other but the way Simbhu understands her requirements and does the needful is very sweet. And Gopika's reactions are measured and never over-the-top(her glance at Simbhu and her body language when she comes out of the restroom in the train look so natural) . So the feelings they experience at the end of the journey are very believable and the way the feelings are haltingly conveyed is very nice.

Durai is completely out of his league in the second half though. With romance out of the way and the battle between Simbhu and Pradeep now gaining top priority, he struggles to move the story forward. The movie is reduced to a series of sequences of Simbhu and Gopika running to a new place and fighting with the rowdies at that place. And many of those elements that were missing in the first half find their way into the movie too. So we get an item number, a folksy duet that sticks out like a sore thumb and unnecessary characters. These elements may go unnoticed usually but after a first half that was very different, the presence of these is more than a little irritating.

There are a few places(like the way Simbhu fashions his escape from the terrace of an apartment complex) that the movie shows signs of some cleverness. But those are too few and too far apart to rescue the film. It sinks under the weight of the one-too-many stunts and other unnecessary distractions. In retrospect, what the second half needed was a director like Dharani who mixed brain and brawn equally in similar situations in movies like Dhill, Dhool and Gilli.

Bearded Simbhu looks scarily like his dad in many scenes. But he confirms that Manmadhan wasn't just a flash in the pan when it comes to performing a role realistically. There is no finger-swishing and no punch dialogs here either. He is very restrained and lets his hands do the talking. Gopika spends most of the movie looking scared and running away from the bad guys. But she does do that well. Her sore point is obviously dancing. Pradeep Rawat is unnecessarily loud and gets on the nerves(he could've taken some pointers from Kanaa Kanden's Prithviraj). And his get up makes him look like the bhootham in those old Vittalacharya movies!

The movie has one song(Gopika's group song) that wasn't part of the soundtrack but it isn't anything special. On the other hand, I don't think Yaaridamum... appeared in the film. Uyire En Uyire... is picturized pleasingly and plays in the background instead of being picturized as a conventional duet. The cinematography matches the serious mood of the movie. Black and other dark colors dominate the palette and the atmosphere is gritty.

First half - Vetri Jaya
Second half - Vetti Jaya

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rajni - Ayesha Takia?!

I've seen the news in just one place so far but Ayesha Takia is being touted as Rajni's heroine in Sivaji. Though she has acted in a couple of movies(the article terms her "equally attractive compared to Aish" and "top of the top heroines in Bollywood"), this is the first time I've heard of her. And I'm not too impressed with the photos I've seen on the web (the above is one of the better ones I found).

Lets hope this is one of those rumors that stays a rumor :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Paramasivan Launch

Inspite of a series of flops and no releases since Ji, Ajith seems to be going strong and is on a signing spree these days. His next film Paramasivan has been launched even before Tirupathi shooting has commenced.

Paramasivan is being produced by Bala(whose company has apparently been renamed to Samrat Film Corporation from B Studios) and directed by P.Vasu. Vidyasagar is the music director. A film called Idi was announced recently with Ajith and Laila and was supposed to be directed by Vasu too. So I'm not sure if that's the one that has undergone a name change to Paramasivan. But no heroine, including Laila, was present at the poojai.

After Chandramukhi, P.Vasu is probably Rajni's best friend. So Rajni made an unannounced, surprise visit to the movie poojai. He enquired about Ajith's surprising weight loss. And referring to his own Arunachalam, he told Ajith that movies named after Lord Siva had always been successful and so Paramasivan would be a hit too(guess he forgot about Siva!).

With Godfather, Tirupathi and now Paramasivan, it looks like Ajith has the next 3 festivals covered! Lets hope he makes another of his comebacks with these movies.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Broken Prey

Broken Prey is one of the best thrillers I have read of late. Serial killer books I have read recently have been pretty disappointing with weak twists and not enough action. They almost led me to think that the genre itself had run out of steam. I mean, how many interesting stories involving a deranged serial killer and a cop chasing after him, can authors possibly weave ? But John Sandford proves here that a well-constructed serial killer story can still get our pulses racing and end up being very satisfying.

The book starts off with two perverted but otherwise very dissimilar murders of a college girl and a widower(and his young son). Lucas Davenport, the investigator in Sandford's Prey series, is called in to assist with the investigation. Suspicion falls on Charlie Pope, who has recently been released from a psychiatric hospital and now works as a garbage-man and evidence found at the second murder scene confirms it. But Lucas is unable to find Charlie, who seems to have vanished from the face of the earth.

The basic techniques used by authors in this genre are all present here too. The good thing is that they work. Sandford uses a lot of misdirection and red herrings to keep us guessing about the identity of the murderer. But they are quite clever and sparingly used so that we aren't irritated about being misled when the final revelations are made. The twists are genuinely surprising but not so shocking that they become unbelievable. And there are segments of real suspense scattered throughout the book. One example is the section where Davenport tries to figure out how information is being conveyed to some inmates in the hospital. The sense of urgency in that section kept me turning the pages feverishly to find the answer.

Its pretty amazing that the book never lets the pace flag. Distractions are few and far between and mostly involve discussions about the 100 best rock songs of all time(Davenport recently got an iPod and a certificate to download 100 songs from iTunes and so wants to download the 100 best rock songs). There are also some places with real and unexpected humor, both macabre and otherwise(the description of the driving style of a friend had me in splits). That said, the book is really very bloody, violent and even a bit kinky and is definitely not for everyone.

Sandford is an author I read occasionally i.e only if I have finished reading all the latest books of my favorite authors! But Broken Prey has convinced me that I should start looking out for his new releases more religiously and get my hands on them as soon as they come out.

iPod Nano

The iPod line has a new baby! Apple unveiled the iPod Nano a couple of days ago. The Nano is thinner(supposedly pencil-thin @ 0.27 inches) and sleeker than its predecessors and its battery lasts upto 14 hours. It can display the color art for the currently-playing album and can carry photos too. It comes in 2GB($199) and 4GB($249) models.

I have my entire Tamil film song MP3 collection on my mini iPod and still have ~2 Gig to spare. So I'm in no hurry for a new MP3 player, Nano or otherwise. But hey, I can still drool, can't I?

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Waqt seems like a relic of the 80s or an even earlier decade. A leftover from the time when sentiments and emotions ruled the box-office and a tearjerker was the best bet at the box-office. It is a sobfest where the characters are clichéd and their behavior, over-the-top. It attacks your tear ducts in a crass and obvious manner and is annoying precisely for that reason.

Akshay Kumar plays the irresponsible son who is trying to become an actor and leans on his dad for everything. Amitabh Bachan, his dad, pampers him, bowing down to his every wish. One fine day Amitabh decides that Akshay must learn to stand on his own legs and drives him(and his pregnant wife Priyanka Chopra) out of the house penniless. Akshay is naturally miffed but Amitabh has his own reasons for hastening Akshay’s journey on the road to independence and responsibility.

It is clear that subtlety is not a word the director is familiar with. Be it Akshay’s irresponsibility, Amitabh’s pampering or Priyanka’s support, every emotion and feeling is hammered in several times over. The characters’ behaviors too are always one of two extremes and there is no concept of ‘middle ground’. Amitabh either lets Akshay trample all over him or berates him with words that the typical villainous stepmom would be proud to utter. I can't point out even one scene where the father-son relationship seemed real. The film turns almost unbearably sentimental towards the end as characters realize the truth, repent and reconcile, all in a very predictable manner.

The comedy in the movie is quite repetitive but the actors manage to carry it off. Not many can display exasperation quite as well as Boman Irani(the college principal in Munnabhai MBBS) and he has the chance to be exasperated a lot here by Rajpal Yadav, the dimwitted servant. Irani’s one-upmanship comments and Amitabh’s visible irritation at them are also quite funny. Amitabh and Akshay gamely try not to overact but the cinematic situations and emotional script make it seem like they are. The actress playing Amitabh's wife comes off well with an understated but solid performance.

My primary reason for seeing this movie was the now-defunct rumor that the movie was going to be remade in Tamil with Rajni playing Amitabh’s role. I was curious if there was any way Amitabh's role can be tailored to suit Rajnikanth and the answer is a big NO. Rajni fans can heave a big sigh of relief that this particular rumor is no longer true!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Coming Soon - Thotti Jaya, A Aa


Two big releases, Thotti Jaya and A Aa, are lined up for this Friday and the two films have a few things in common. They both have promising directors, non-good-looking(to put it mildly!) heroes who are coming off of big hits and soundtracks that have become popular. Both movies have also faced several troubles(of different kinds though) in their journeys to the theaters and their fate will finally be decided over the weekend.

Manmadhan was a turning point for Simbhu. While his performance proved that he could actually act (not to be confused with simply swishing his finger in a vain attempt to become the next Rajnikanth), his screenplay earned him respect. So it is natural that Thotti Jaya, his next movie, is raising more expectations that his previous releases. He is bearded in this film(which makes him look even more like his dad!) and is supposed to be playing a strong and silent-type role. Paired with him is Gopika, who has not had much success after Autograph but is definitely a popular actress. Behind the camera is Durai, who, with the underrated Mugavari and the disappointing Kaadhal Sadugudu, now has a fifty-fifty success rate but has never directed an actioner before. Harris Jayaraj’s soundtrack has only a couple of good numbers but good picturization and choreography could make the folksy numbers popular too. From the story outline the film looks like yet another dada movie and we have to wait and see if Durai can give it a new spin.

S.J.Suryah has a diverse set of movies on his resume so far. Vaali was a thriller, Kushi was a love story and New was a sci-fi tale. Only two things were common to all three – a liberal sprinkling of sex and glamour, and box-office success. The controversy-loving director is once again acting as hero in his next release A Aa and is introducing a new heroine Nila. The film’s soundtrack by A.R.Rahman is a big hit and will almost certainly guarantee a good opening. The film’s core idea of giving form to the thoughts of the hero and heroine seems like a very interesting and creative idea and we have to see how Suryah has handled it.

At this point my money’s on A Aa. Suryah has proved (thrice!) that he can craft an interesting screenplay (IMO, the most important aspect of a film) and give the viewers what they want. And that’s usually what matters in the end.

Vinayaka Chathurthi

While Diwali might be my favorite festival, the festival of choice for my taste buds is definitely Vinayaka Chathurthi. The vella kozhukattai is my favorite festival eat and easily beats out the Krishna Jayanthi seedais, the Karthigai poris, the Diwali neiyappams and the all-festival paayasams. The mere sight of the distinctively shaped(I guess we can think of them as white balls with tiny party hats!) eats huddled together on a plate sets my mouth watering and I usually end up eating an insane number of them. Truly ambrosia for the palate.

Ofcourse, while the gastronomic memories are the most vivid, they are not the only ones associated with Vinayaka Chathurthi. Shopping for the clay Vinayakar idol; picking the most colorful kudai to shade him; fighting with my brother over who drops the idol in the well in our backyard; watching the immersion of the huge Vinayaka idols in the sea on the news – all those memories come flooding back on each Vinayaka Chathurthi and today is no exception. No wonder I miss Chennai the most on festival days…

Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi everyone!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Actor-Director Pairs

A good director can bring out the best in any actor and a good actor delivers his best irrespective of the director. But it is undeniable that some actors and directors share a chemistry that associates them closest with each other and drives both of them to give their best. Rediff has taken a look at some popular director-actor pairs in Hollywood. Here are a few pairs from Tamil cinema over the years.

Sivaji – Bhimsingh
Its been a while since I’ve seen a movie from this combination but I know enough to know that the pair created quite a few classics and blockbusters(Paasamalar, Paavamannippu, Paarthaal Pasi Theerum, etc.) that have had an enduring effect. It is a well-known fact that all their movies started with ‘Pa’ and my parents, who were avid fans of this pair, have said that Sivaji’s new ‘look’ in each film was as eagerly looked forward to as the film itself.

Nagesh - KB
While KB introduced and then groomed several stars, his association with Nagesh has given us some real gems. While he fully exploited Nagesh as a comedian in movies like Bhama Vijayam, he brought to the fore the actor in him in movies like Neerkumizhi and Edhirneechal.

Trivia question: Has KB used Nagesh in any of his later movies? I don't remember seeing Nagesh in later movies like Avargal and Moondru Mudichu or newer movies like Sindhu Bhairavi and Punnagai Mannan. Did the pair have a falling-out?

Rajni – S.P.Muthuraman
This pair pretty much redefined the term ‘masala film’ in Tamil cinema. They churned out blocbuster after blockbuster during the 80s and films like Murattu Kaalai and Nallavanukku Nallavan played a key part in Rajni’s meteoric rise during that time. They shared good chemistry and have even tried offbeat, non-formulaic films like Aarilirundhu Arubadhu Varai.

Satyaraj - Manivannan
Manivannan has been behind Satyaraj’s gradual rise from supporting actor to villain to anti-hero to hero in Tamil cinema. His Nooraavadhu Naal gave us the unforgettable image of Satyaraj with tonsured head and round glasses while 24 Mani Neram made Satyaraj a bonafide villain with some of his most delicious one-liners to date. Their Amaidhippadai, made after Satyaraj made the transition to hero, reminded us that no one could play the bad guy quite as well as Satyaraj.

These two have shared a truly symbiotic relationship. Sarath's flagging career has been restored a few times by timely hits like Naattaamai and Natpukkaaga while those hits helped KSR truly become a sought-after, A-list director who was the first choice of even Rajni and Kamal.

Madhavan - Manirathnam
After Karthik and Arvind Swamy, Manirathnam gave Tamil girls another reason to cheer, with Madhavan. He introduced him as a typical teenybopper hero in Alaipaayudhe but has since then showcased him more as an actor than heartthrob. To Maddy’s credit, he has not shied away from playing either a dad of 3 kids(Kannathil Muthamittaal) or a bad guy(Aaydha Ezhuthu) when Mani has asked him to.

Mommy Simran

That’s Simran, in her first public appearance since she became a mom in June. She was in Hyderabad to promote Sparsh - a baby massage oil. Looks every bit the happy mom huh?

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

One of the factors that lends uniqueness to a novel is the author's narrative style and this style naturally gains more importance when the book is a first person narrative. Mark Haddon's first novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has a very unique narrator who lends the story an emotional core that very few books manage to create.

The book is narrated by Christoper Boone, a 15-year-old autistic boy, who is being brought up by his father since his mother died from a heart attack. Christopher comes across a neighbor's dog killed by a pitchfork and takes it upon himself to find out who did it. But as he investigates, he finds out more about his family and has to conquer his fears to step beyond boundaries that he has never crossed before.

There have been movies(Rain Man, Mercury Rising to name a couple) that had important characters who were autistic. But we were mere observers to their behavior in those cases. By making an autistic boy the narrator of the story, Haddon allows us a peek into his mind here and that makes for fascinating reading. We've seen the characters in those movies groan loudly on hearing strange noises, do math blazingly fast and be scared of new people and crowds. But here we understand the reasons behind those behaviors(and quite a few others). We understand how Chris' mind works and why he does the things that he does. So the book serves as a journey into the mind of a very unique individual.

Haddon has been able to put himself in the shoes of an autistic boy and so the book has a very simple but endearing style. Every line in the book makes complete sense considering the narrator - from the very reason the book was written to its oddly-numbered chapters to the reason why a novel has an appendix with the proof to a mathematical theorem! Even the way the book goes on a tangent at different points frequently mirrors the way the mind works and makes things more realistic.

The murder mystery itself is solved at a rather unexpected point and so comes as a surprise. But this allows the book to branch into some new areas that make it more emotional. It also allows the book to expand its canvas beyond Chris' house and neighborhood, thereby magnifying his problems exponentially. It is a testimony to the effect Chris has on us that we end up hoping fervently that he makes it to his target. The book doesn't have real closure but that works for this book. The last line is just perfect.

PS: This book was recommended by one of the commenters in one of my previous posts. I had never heard of this book before that and can say with certainty that I wouldn't have read it if not for the recommendation. I couldn't find the post and so do not know what the commentor was. But whoever it was... Thank You!

Friday, September 02, 2005

2 New Reviews

Reviews for Oru Naal Oru Kanavu and Englishkaaran are online at bbreviews.


There was talk till yesterday that Arya's Oru Kallooriyin Kadhai would be released today. But no news today on whether it made it to the theaters or not.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bride & Prejudice

Bride & Prejudice is a Hindi movie where everybody speaks in English. And that didn’t work for me. Most movies are fantasies and require suspension of disbelief. But I just couldn’t get over that one big, basic incongruity in this one and as a result, didn’t enjoy it. On the other hand, my wife did get over it and thought it was a good film. So just one thumb up for this one :-)

I have not read Pride and Prejudice nor seen earlier movie adaptations and so can’t comment on the similarity of the story. Aishwarya plays one of three sisters here. Her older sister Namrata Shirodkar is in love with Naveen Andrews, who lives in England. Naveen has come down to attend the wedding of a friend and with him is Martin Henderson, an American. Aish and Martin feel an attraction but he rubs her the wrong way with his comments about India. So she gravitates towards another American while her mom tries to fix up her marriage with a NRP(Non-resident Punjabi).

The film is a bundle of contradictions. It has a Punjabi family having day-to-day conversations in English. It has the sisters singing an English song while teasing Aishwarya. I understand that this is necessary since it is an international film but that didn’t make it any less weird for me. I was turned off in the first scene where Anupham Kher and Aishwarya talk in English in the middle of a field. And I was never turned back on! And then there are the contradictions in characters like the old-fashioned mom agreeing to send her daughters off to Goa with a couple of guys.

The movie is visually very appealing. It is bright and colorful throughout and has some nice locations and scenic shots. The song sequences are vibrant and energetic though the songs themselves weren’t too appealing. The lyrics were too simplistic and sounded like everyday conversations rather than poetry. It was almost like they were composed in Hindi and literally translated to English.

The film has all characteristics of a Hindi chick-flick. There are stereotypical characters like the mother whose only aim is to see her daughters married, the father who is on his daughters’ side, the idiot suitor, etc. All these are caricatures rather than characters and exhibit extreme characteristics. There are artificial conflicts between the pairs (there’s more than one). And worst of all, the techniques used to create/extend these conflicts are lame and artificial and involves people not talking or saying something important even when its perfectly clear that they should.

Aish looks good as expected but just doesn’t come off as a natural actress. She is too stiff and her expressions, body language, etc. all look completely tutored. Namrata is more believable whether she is happy about her love or sad about the breakup. Martin Henderson is adequate but Naveen Andrews is quite convincing as the NRI. Naveen and Namrata make a more believable and likeable pair that Martin and Aish. The guy acting as Aish’s suitor is quite funny.

Prashanth... Something Something...

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Prashanth and Grahalakshmi on their wedding yesterday. As usual IndiaGlitz has an exhaustive gallery. Second best thing to being there :-) Looks like the function was quite well attended with Surya, Vijayanthimala, Selvamani-Roja, Manirathnam-Suhasini and a bunch of other cine personalities.

That pose by the newlyweds brought back memories of my wedding. I still remember facing the camera for a thaali kattufying pose after actually kattufying the thaali so that the photographer could take a picture. He said that it was needed for proof of the marriage at the US embassy when we got my wife's visa!! Experience spoke I guess...

Question: Both Thiagarajan and Prashanth proclaimed that Aishwarya Rai would be attending. Varaliyaa? Or maybe she attended the reception?


'Jayam' Ravi is really turning out to be 'Remake' Ravi. Tuesday was the launch of Something Something Unakkum Enakkum, the remake of the the Telugu blockbuster hit Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, that was directed by Prabhu Deva. I think the Ravi's acted/acting in 5 movies including this one and 4 of them are Telugu remakes! This one will be a family affair too since its being produced by his father 'Editor' Mohan and directed by his brother Raja.

Something Something... has Trisha(the heroine in the Telugu original) as the heroine(Yay!) Read somewhere else that they were having trouble casting the important role of Trisha's elder brother. Sarathkumar, Arjun, Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, etc. had all refused and they were going to approach Parthiban.