Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat!

Kavya and Karthik both dressed up as pirates for this Halloween. The cutest pirates I've ever seen for sure :-) Its been a busy couple of days with Halloween parades and parties at both Kavya's school and Karthik's daycare. As usual, the fun was capped off tonight with trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. Avast ye mateys!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Billa-2007 Photos

After Dasaavathaaram, the movie whose stills I was most looking forward to was undoubtedly Billa. While Dasaavathaaram atleast had those publicity stills released when the movie was launched, Billa, as far as I can recall, did not even have those (all the news items about the eagerly-anticipated movie have the same photo of Ajith, taken when he attended the launch). The lack of photos as the movie’s release neared (the latest news has the movie’s release date as Nov 30 but I think that is quite suspect since even the audio hasn’t been released yet) was surprising. But we finally got a peek at the film through some official photos released last week.

Ajith, in a slightly different hairstyle, looks good and stylish and the photos do suggest that style will play a big part in the film’s makeup. My biggest complaint about the photos though is that they look too ‘generic’. In other words, there’s nothing in them to identify the film as a remake of Rajni's Billa. Unlike the early stills of Shah Rukh’s Don, there are no photos of Ajith dancing to the updated Naattukkulla Enakkoru… or My Name is Billa… or Vethalaiya Pottendi…; there's no photo of whatever’s gonna take the place of the all-important red diary; and there's no photo of Ajith and Nayanthara together in the film. So the photos don’t invoke nostalgia about the original and seem just like photos from any other Ajith-starrer.

The most pleasant surprise from the photos is Nayanthara (the most unpleasant surprise is probably Namitha, who seems to have gotten plumpier than before). When I wrote about possible candidates for the different roles when the movie was first announced, I eliminated Nayanthara from the heroine’s role since it was more action-packed than your average heroine’s role and I felt she was too plump for it. But she has really slimmed down admirably (surprising, since our heroines usually go the other way!) and looks fit and ready for an action role. How she'll look executing those karate chops and kicks is something we'll know only after the movie releases but as far as her physical appearance goes, she looks perfect for the role.

Looking at the other photos, Helen’s role seems to have gone to a newcomer Rose. So I guess Namitha is playing the villain’s moll(played by Isha Koppikar in Don) who exposes the fake Billa. One photo has Prabhu and Rahman but it looks like they’re playing cops (maybe the officer who hires the fake Billa and the Interpol officer?). So I’m still not sure who is playing the all-important role played by ‘Thengai’ Srinivasan in the original and by Arjun Rampal in Don.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Continuing our Halloween tradition for the fourth year, we had the Halloween party in our house today evening. With 3 years of pumpkin carvings behind us, many of our friends have become expert carvers and this showed in their choice of jack-o-lanterns. Above is the parade of lighted jack-o-lanterns that marked the end of the party.

For the first time, yours truly jumped into the fray this time and carved a pumpkin. Mine is the last one on the right in the above photo and is supposed to be a ghost(a smiling, pleasant one though) with a 3-piece candlestick hovering near its head. There were a couple of near-mishaps with the ghost nearly becoming headless at one point and ending up with only 3 fingers instead of the intended 4. Carving the eyes turned out to a tough task too and so it ended up with only one eye! But I managed to successfully finish the carving with no accidents - either to the pumpkin or to my fingers!

The other fun segment of the party was the kids dressing up in their Halloween costumes. Since we don't get a chance to meet on Halloween itself, this gives us a chance to see all the kids in their costumes. Quite a colorful scene. Can't wait to take Kavya and Karthik trick-or-treating on Wednesday...

Friday, October 26, 2007

2 New Reviews

Reviews for Malaikkoattai and Thoovaanam are now online @ bbreviews.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mr. Brooks

Mr. Brooks is a very unusual and completely unpredictable thriller. Kevin Costner plays Earl Brooks, loving husband and father, who has just been selected 'Man of the Year' by the Portland Chamber of Commerce. But he has a dark secret nobody knows. He is the serial killer known as the Thumbprint killer and after controlling his instincts for 2 years, has just killed again. But this time a man(Dane Cook) takes photos of him and begins to blackmail him. Meanwhile his daughter has dropped out of school with some big problems. And a policewoman(Demi Moore) is determined to catch the Thumbprint killer.

Serial killers are typically the bad guys who have long been the targets for the heroes in books and movies. When a novel breaks the rules and has a serial killer as the hero, like in the Dexter series of books, he is a 'good' serial killer who eliminates people who are worse than him. So the fact that the protagonist is a serial killer makes Mr. Brooks stand out right at the start. And he is not given a backstory or a reason to make us sympathize with him. Killing is an addiction for him and that's pretty much it. This fact makes it difficult to guess how the movie will proceed or even end.

Inspite of that, we don't dislike him and there are a couple of scenes where we come close to cheering for him. Credit for this goes to the director. He makes Costner a troubled individual who doesn't like what he is and wants to stop. On the other hand, the director gives human form to his alter-ego, making it the part of him that is responsible for his addiction. So it becomes easier to feel sorry for Costner. His genuine love and affection for his wife and daughter also do their part in softening our feelings for him. And then there's the fact that the movie presents us with some pretty unsavory characters like Dane Cook and another serial killer Meeks to divide up our feelings of dislike.

The film has a very unpredictable screenplay. There are quite a few coincidences(like the whole Meeks subplot) and some plot developments(like Costner's trip to California) that are difficult to accept but the film makes up for these by constantly keeping us guessing. The film has some surprises up its sleeve and reveals these at regular intervals to keep us hooked inspite of the slow pace with which the story unravels. It keeps its cards hidden right upto the end and because of this, even a familar cheat works as a sudden, shocking surprise.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2005/2006 State Awards Function

I mentioned in the post on our National and State film awards that one of the primary aims of the awards is to make sure that the awards function is well-attended. That aim was certainly met with the recently-held 2005/2006 awards function. Combining the awards for 2005 and 2006, which saw films of all our big stars being released and becoming hits, made it easy for our Government to hand out atleast one award to all the big names in our industry. So the who's who of Tamil cinema was present at the awards function.

With Rajni and Kamal attending a few functions recently, seeing them together on stage isn't that rare anymore. But the second photo there, with the 4 biggest stars(after Rajni and Kamal ofcourse) of today, is not something we get to see too often. With this being the State awards function that was attended by Karunanidhi, there is no doubt that this will be screened on Kalaignar TV. It will be the second time (the first time was on Vinayaka Chaturthi when Kalaignar TV showed Chandramukhi's 804th day function while Sun TV's feeble response was to show a repeat of the same film'z 200th day function) that I will wish I had Kalaignar TV instead.

Btw, when I was reading the news items on the awards, I thought Vikram and Ajith had been shut out completely. While films they had acted in(Anniyan and Tirupathi) collected awards, I thought the two of them did not get any personal awards. But the photos do show them receiving awards from Karunanidhi. Did I miss something in the news items or were these awards given to all actors?

Monday, October 22, 2007

East Coast Trip

As a traveler, 2 of my longtime dreams have been to see the leaves change color during Fall and visit Washington DC. On this trip, I managed to do both those. And then some.

New Jersey
We flew in to Philadelphia on Saturday and then drove to New Jersey to my brother’s place. Sunday was spent at the nearby Van Saun County Park, which was decked out quite nicely for Halloween and had a small zoo, pony rides, a train ride and a carousel. It was a relaxing start to the vacation and Kavya and Karthik had fun on the rides.

Washington DC
We drove to Washington DC Monday morning. Always wary of parking in big cities, we stayed at a hotel whose main plus point was that it was very close to a Metro station and had an on-demand shuttle to and from the station. After checking in, we took the Metro to the city and visited the White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. On Day 2, we spent most of the day at the Museum of Natural History. The dinosaur, ice age and Egyptian sections of the museum were very informative and interesting while the minerals and gems section, which also houses the Hope Diamond, was eye-catching. We then walked to the East side of the National Mall to see the Capitol building. On Day 3, our first stop was the Arlington Cemetery, where JFK is buried. We then visited the Air and Space Museum. It was a fun place and I think we barely skimmed its surface. The astronomy section and the exhibition on the Wright brothers were fascinating and my favorites. We drove to Fredericksburg in Virginia the same night.

Shenandoah National Park
Thursday was spent in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. With Fall colors coming in a little late this year, the mountains in Western Virginia were supposed have the colors in the second week of October, which was why I picked Shenandoah. Turned out to be the perfect choice as the colors were out in all their glory. Driving along Skyline Drive with the bright yellows, startling reds, glorious pinks and deep browns lining either side was truly a heavenly experience. We took a 1.4 mile hike to a waterfall. It had many steep sections and so the walk back was back-breaking (especially since Karthik got tired and wanted to be carried more than half the way) but the nature lover that I am, those 2 hours were easily the highlight of the whole trip. The hike amidst the bright colors was awesome and though only a little water in the falls, it was surrounded by bright yellow trees and provided a magnificent sight. A real visual feast. The rest of the drive on Skyline Drive after we walked back up was equally spectacular with some gorgeous views of Shenandoah valley and its multi-colored trees.

On Friday, we drove to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Our original plan had been to drive to Philadelphia but since we hadn’t really done much for the kids so far, we decided to make a detour to Hershey. And we were so glad we did. It is a very cute little town completely developed by Hershey. The streets have names like Chocolate Avenue and Cocoa Avenue and even the street lights on Chocolate Avenue are shaped like Hershey’s Kisses. We visited ‘Chocolate World’, which has a roller-coaster-like tour showing us how chocolate is made, a 3-D show and a very interesting and informative trolley tour of the city. We drove to Philadelphia the same night.

With just half a day in Philadelphia, we visited Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed and read out and also saw the original document. We then took the city tour which hit the main spots like Elfreth Alley, the oldest residential street in the US, and Penn’s Landing.

On-time flights, cooperative kids, gorgeous weather, wonderful sights… needless to say, this one was definitely one of my most memorable vacations. A small selection of the photos from the trip can be seen here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Week Off

Another vacation, another break... Off on a weeklong trip to the East Coast. Will be back next Sunday or Monday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

2 New Reviews

Reviews for Nam Naadu and Katradhu Thamizh are now online @ bbreviews.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Katradhu Thamizh

Katradhu Thamizh is a difficult look at the life of a very unlucky man. Biographical movies are usually about people who conquer odds to make an impact; people who would make good role models. But this is a movie about a man who was dealt the worst cards in life. The director's attempts to link the state of Tamil today to the life of this man are artificial and even a little jarring. But as long the movie is seen as the life story of a man, it is like an accident - violent, bloody and sad but difficult to look away from.

When we first meet Prabhakar(Jeeva), he is on the rooftop of a building, ready to leap to his death. But he isn't lucky in death either and is hauled off to the police station for his suicide attempt. He escapes and goes on the run and after his life takes some unpredictable, wild turns, he feels the need to tell his story to the world. He kidnaps a videographer(Karunas) and begins recording the story of his life. So, in his own words, we learn about his childhood love Anandhi(Anjali) and the strokes of fate that led him to where he is now.

Childhood in movies is usually a pleasant phase, filled with cute songs and fun antics. Not so here. The young boy here encounters more sadness than most people encounter in a lifetime and the events leave an indelible impression that shape the rest of his life. The way the director handles the childhood gives us a hint about the tone of the rest of the film and we are not disappointed. The shadow of death constantly looms over the protagonist and tragedy follows him everywhere he goes. Having been used to movies where heroes set up a roadside eatery and turn around their lives in a single song, the starkness of the film and its protagonist's life comes as a surprise. Jeeva's transformation from a promising, idealistic student to a man on the brink of mental imbalance has been charted in a believable, realistic manner.

The way Jeeva's life spirals out of control is compelling material but I had a problem with the reasons that is attributed to. The director tries to lay it at the feet of the worthlessness of his Tamil degree but in the way the story is told, that doesn't come through. Inspite of all the problems he faces in his childhood, Jeeva studies and gets a job as a teacher using his degree. The event that sends his life hurtling out of control is a cruel stroke of fate and not his inability to leverage his degree. Even a Computer Science graduate who chose that exact moment to buy a cigarette from that teashop would have faced the same consequences. So Jeeva's monologues about the lack of respect for Tamil, the call center culture and the growth of the divide between the rich and the poor come off as rants arising out of jealousy and not frustration. The points he makes may be valid but the movie doesn't create a situation where they seem natural and justified. They seem to have inserted to give him a chance to act and to add some crowd-pleasing dialogs.

Considering Jeeva's travails, the lack of emotional attachment to his character comes as a surprise. I've felt more sympathetic to characters who have gone through a lot less but Jeeva here does not elicit a similar emotion. And its the way his character has been shaped in the latter part of the film that is responsible for this. Some of his acts, like his behavior when he visits his friend at his software company,make him earn our dislike. And its not just that his behavior is bad. It is very cinematic and unrealistic. His behavior towards the girl, while disgusting, can atleast be attributed to his disturbed state of mind. But the way he talks to his friend is silly. What comes out of the scene (and the segment where Jeeva runs into a call center employee) is the director's dislike of the growth of the software industry and his enthusiasm to thrust it into the film.

While I have always welcomed screenplays that didn't follow a strictly linear narrative structure, this is one film where I felt the way the story was narrated was counterproductive. The story moves back and forth in time many times and there are times when we have to think to understand the exact timeline of events. Though not as important as the character arc, the narrative structure does play a part in our emotional detachment from the protagonist's story.

Ironically, it is when things improve for Jeeva that we finally feel sympathetic towards him. As his life takes a turn for the better, the knowledge that his past could catch up to him makes him earn our sympathy and we wish fervently that things work out for him.

Jeeva seems to be picking offbeat films and after films like Raam and E, this is another film that gives him the opportunity to prove his acting chops. He passes with flying colors. Unrecognizable under his hair and beard for most of the movie, he is completely believable during all the phases in the protagonist's life. Anjali makes an impressive debut. Though she has a lot less screen time than Jeeva, she manages to earn our sympathy in the time she is onscreen. Director Azhagamperumal has a nice role as Jeeva's Tamil teacher. Karunas earns a few laughs with his comments about his predicament. Yuvan's songs fit the sober tone of the film. The cinematography makes us sit up and take notice. The handheld, shaky picturization suits the first-person narrative perfectly and makes us develop and immediate connection with the narrator. Some of the locales, whether the green hills of Jeeva's childhood or the barrenness of the desert when he goes looking for Anjali, are captured beautifully too.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Yaar Ivano...

Some time ago, I posted a couple of pictures of a completely transformed Padmapriya. The rather plain, homely actress underwent a very surprising transformation and looked ravishing in those photos. Looks like some of our actors are taking the hint too.

The actor featured in the above photos probably had a place on every movie watcher's list of actors they disliked. He certainly had a place on mine. So I was really surprised to see these photos. I didn't know that losing weight and changing the hairstyle can alter someone's appearance so much. I'm not saying that he's gonna become a heartthrob overnight or pose a threat to Hrithik Roshan. But considering his earlier look, this is quite a startling improvement.

Readers who haven't seen the original photos... Yaaru theriudhaa?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Crater Lake

The deepest - and hence, the bluest - lake in the US, Crater Lake in Oregon has long been on my To-See list. The wish finally came true as we drove up to Crater Lake over the Labor Day weekend in September. It was a wonderful trip and I now feel that the lake should definitely be on the Must-See list for every nature-lover.

We stayed in the city of Medford, about an hour and a half south of Crater Lake. Day 1 was spent at the lake itself. As is usual for famous lakes (like Lake Tahoe), Crater Lake too has a rim drive that takes you around the lake. A number of lookouts afforded great views of the shimmering blue lake and some of these viewpoints gave us breathtaking views of the complete lake. Apart from the lake views, a couple of other highlights were The Pinnacles, spires of eroded ash and one of the sights unique to the lake, and Vidae Falls, a pretty waterfall very close to the road so we could clamber up the rocks to get really close to the water. The drive back to Medford runs along Rogue River for a long time and there were some picturesque views of the roaring river squeezing through some tight spots.

Since the lake itself was supposed to be for me, popular opinion was that Day 2 should be for the wife and kids. So we drove up to Roseburg to visit the Wildlife Safari. This was no African safari since the animals were restricted to the usual deer, ostrich, giraffe, etc. and the wild animals like cheetahs, bears, etc. were still behind fences. But the experience of seeing animals walking around freely and coming right upto the car windows was exciting for Kavya and Karthik and they were really thrilled. There is a small farm nearby and we also had our first elephant ride in the US there! From there we drove to a stop called Colliding Rivers - a place where 2 rivers, the Little River and the North Umpque river, meet head-on - on the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway . This was only the first highlight on the byway but that was all we had time for. Since it was the end of summer, it was more a gentle meeting than a collision of the 2 rivers, but it did provide a nice place for us to clamber on the rocks and wade in the water.

On Day 3, we visited the city of Jacksonville. There are only 8 cities designated as Historic Landmarks in the US and Jacksonville is one of them. It is one of those cute cities with historic buildings and unique shops. A bank from the 1870s was preserved and provided an interesting look at life more than a century ago. The drive back home was rather uneventful but the view of Mt. Shasta and a lake made it more interesting than the night-time drive up to the lake.

A few photos from the trip can be seen here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

3 New Reviews

Reviews for Marudhamalai, Urchaagam and Aarya are now online @ bbreviews.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer

I though The Fantastic Four was a pretty lame superhero movie. Uncharismatic actors, uninteresting characters, weak special effects and poor jokes made it one of the weakest entries in the superhero genre. Unfortunately, Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer doesn't improve on its predecessor. It retains all the minuses of the first film while adding an overblown story that seems silly and ridiculous even for a comic book.

When the film starts, Richard Reed, the elastic man, and Sue Storm, the invisible woman, are ready to tie the knot. Their wedding is interrupted by the arrival of the Silver Surfer, al all-silver image streaking around on a surfboard. Turns out he is a messenger for Galactus, some kind of a planet that kills other planets in order to survive. Victor Doom, the Fantastic Four's nemesis in the first film, is also back and is working with them to bring down the Silver Surfer.

The Silver Surfer is visually cool and the Human Torch's first chase of him is one of the best sequences in the film. But all interest is gone once we learn about his back story and his master. The whole concept seems over-the-top and even the fact that the film is based on a comic book doesn't make it any easier to accept. The visual effects don't overwhelm us enough to make the story easier to digest either. They are uniformly average(the scene where 3 of the Fantastic Hour combine forces is one of the few that is impressive) with the climactic arrival of Galactus looking like a scene that was left on the cutting room floor during the editing of Independence Day.

The actors don't bring anything special to the characters. Jessica Alba is the only familiar face but even she looks bad(something I didn't think was possible!) in the blonde wig and blue eyeliner and contact lenses. They have little chemistry and none of them utter their jokes with any energy or conviction.

The four heroes may be fantastic but the movie certainly isn't.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dasaavathaaram Stills

Now that the Sivaji fever has almost died out, Kamal's Dasaavathaaram can start taking centerstage as the next, eagerly-anticipated Tamil biggie. The first official photos ( since the publicity stills released at the time of the film's launch) from the film are out. All the photos feature the 'regular' Kamal and so we don't get a peek at even one of the 10 avatars. Considering that this is the actor who still hasn't revealed the secrets behind how he played the dwarf in Aboorva Sagodharargal, this secrecy is no big surprise!

I'm not sure how long they can maintain the secrecy though. Afterall, even photos from Sivaji(including a few featuring Mottai Boss) made it out inspite of all the security. There are a few photos of Kamal in different get-ups floating around but we can't say which of these is real. I am ofcourse eager to get a peek at Kamal's disguises but I also hope they don't get out unofficially since that will kill some of the suspense, surprise and excitement when I see the film (that was the case with those Mottai Boss pics. Watching Rajni get out of the helicopter with his tonsured head, I really wished I hadn't seen those pics and that the getup had come as a surprise).

While on Kamal, here's something I got from Maverick... (original source is here)

"Almost all has been quiet on the Kamal front of late. Of course, that means that something is brewing. The mystery was finally resolved through reliable sources. Kamal’s next movie will be Marma Yogi (”mysterious saint”, shall we say?), directed and produced by himself. With a curious title, the surprises are that it’s supposed to be an action thriller — and I thought Kamal would direct only ’serious’ movies (Hey Ram, Virumaandi) —and that the music will be done by AR Rahman. Talks are on to rope in a Bollywood heroine, as the movie will be released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Oscar Ravichandran, UTV and Adlabs are all in talks related toproduction and distribution. The movie might be launched in January. We can see that the domain name is already registered and it mentions Raaj Kamal Films International, Kamal’s production house.

Marma Yogi is also an old MGR flick, known as the first Tamil movie to receive an ‘A’ certification. Kamal’s penchant for old titles (Apoorva Sagodharargal, Sathi Leelavathi, etc.) continues.

Junior Vikatan, the Tamil weekly and the Chennai edition of Deccan Chronicle too sniffed out portions of this news recently. After several rumours and announcements regarding Kamal’s next movie earlier, let’s hope this is the final one."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hindi Chandramukhi

After being remade in Kannada as Aptamitra and in Tamil as Chandramukhi, Fazil's Malayalam classic Manichithrathaazhu will soon grace screens in its Hindi avatar - Bhool Bhulaiya. Akshay Kumar takes on the role played by Mohanlal/Vishnu Vardhan/Rajnikanth while Vidya Balan(of Parineeta and Lage Raho Munnabhai fame) has the all-important role played by Shobana/Soundarya/Jyothika. Among other roles, Shiny Ahuja plays Vidya Balan's husband(the role played by Suresh Gopi/Ramesh Arvind/Prabhu) while Amisha Patel plays the maid(the role played by Nayantara in Chandramukhi). The film is being directed by Priyadarshan, who has fashioned his career in languages other than Malayalam by remaking old Malayalam films. Above is a trailer[link - thanks Akshay Shah] for the film.

Priyadarshan directed some of Malayalam cinema's best comedies like Chitram, Kilukkam and Vandhanam and so its no wonder that he stuck to the same genre after his move to Hindi. He's been quite prolific in Hindi and while many of his earlier movies became hits, his success rate hasn't been that impressive of late. His latest film Dhol came out a couple of weeks ago and was labelled by Baradwaj Rangan as one of his worst ever comedies. Based purely on the trailer, Bhool Bhulaiya also seems to have a heavier accent on comedy also and that doesn't give me a good feeling.

Manichitrathaazhu was a true classic with great atmosphere, genuine suspense and top-class performances. It underwent a hero-centric transformation in Chandramukhi as the central story was almost buried under Rajnikanth's heroism and Vadivelu's comedy (I didn't see Aptamitra but the fact that it was directed by P.Vasu doesn't inspire much confidence). And now it is going to get transformed once again into, apparently, a comedy. This might just be the first time I actually feel sorry for a movie!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tamil Nadu State Awards - 2005, 2006

The Tamil Nadu State Film awards were for both 2005 and 2006 were announced a few weeks ago. Indian film awards rarely award real talent. Politics, regional biases, nepotism all play a part in the awards, resulting in real talent rarely getting rewarded (I think the most glaring example of this is the fact that Sivaji never won a National award while MGR won the Best Actor award – and for Rickshaakkaaran of all movies!). All the aforementioned occur in our own State awards too. No one even pretends that the awards are serious and everyone knows that that the awards have only two criteria – spread out the awards among many different films and personalities to ensure that the awards function is really well-attended and hand out prominent awards to popular actors so they are kept happy and on good terms with the ruling party. The recently announced awards are further proof of this.

Rajnikanth won the best actor award for Chandramukhi and I’ll be the first to accept that of all his recent movies (except maybe Baba), he deserved the award least for Chandramukhi. Barring the scenes where he played Vettaiyan, his performance was pretty average. I really thought Vikram would win the award since it was a high-profile, critically-praised performance in a commercially successful movie. But he missed out on even the ‘Special Prize’ for Best Actor, which went to Vijay(for Tiruppaachi) and Surya (for Ghajini). Vikram must’ve really pissed off someone on the award committee! Jo won the Best Actress award for Chandramukhi and though she was more deserving of the award, it would have to be more for her hard work than her performance. Meera Jasmine won the Special Prize for Best Actress. While Chandramukhi won Best Picture, Shankar snapped up the Best Director award for Anniyan. Raj Kiran and Kalairani won the Character Artiste awards (did some party protest against calling it the Supporting Actor/Actress awards?!) for Sandakkozhi and Kodambakkam respectively.

The 2006 awards actually seem a lot more fair and there’s not much cause for complaint there. Not all winners were the best in their category but only a couple of the major categories had winners that were blatantly undeserving. Best Actor went to Kamal for Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu and Best Actress went to Priyamani for Paruthi Veeran. I feel Karthi was way more deserving of an award for Paruthi Veeran but he had to be happy with the Special Prize for Best Actor. Sandhya got the Special Prize for Best Actress for Dishyum. Veyyil won the Best Film award while Thirumurugan won the Best Director award for Em Magan. Among the laughably silly awards – Best Storywriter for Perarasu for Tirupathi (this might have more for Ajith though, to ensure that he was related to atleast 1 award since Varalaaru was completely shut out). Also surprising was Pasupathy winning the Best Villain award for E, though I’m pretty sure his character in it can’t be characterized as a villain. Guess they had to find an award for him after he lost out the Best Character Artiste to Nasser, who won it for Em Magan.

While on the topic of awards, did anyone catch the awards show telecast on SUN TV on Vinayaka Chaturthi? That had to be the most pathetic awards show I’ve ever seen. It was attended by very few of our actors and it was so obvious from the awards given out that the only aim of the show was to give out an award to everyone who was kind enough to attend the function. So we had to watch atrocities like Mumtaj getting an award for acting and Deva’s son getting an award for best music director (Aish fans who didn’t watch the show… consider yourselves really lucky since you missed seeing Mumtaj dance for Dhoom Machaale…!). The weirdest award though was a ‘Best Magician’ award that was handed out to Alex! I still have no idea what that award was for.