Randomly on Kadal

Beatrice is unable to react when Thomas confesses that he is a sinner and that he is not the man she knew him to be. She is a kid by heart and thinks it’s a wrong-doing like her stealing sugar when no one is looking. She just asks him not to do it again like how she was told when she ‘sinned’. However later she is completely able to relate to the feel when Sam (Aravindsamy) plays her the tape of young Thomas swearing and crying for his mom. She gets that feel.  As much as that scene is a bit of a spoon feeding by Maniratnam’s standards, it shows how good the characters are written in an non-Maniratnam like way that you almost think the characters are shallow.

One cannot stop thinking of Dark Knight’s joker when Arjun – Bergman (what are you referring to Ingmar Bergman?) is hung upside down in the middle of the Kadal. Mani Ratnam is very fond of exploring that blurring moment of Good and Bad. There are no stated rules of that when it comes to relationships or the ones in power. The 2 other places apart from religion where you can and society has classically defined good and bad.

ManiRatnam explores the same Good and Bad in Kadal against the backdrop of religion more than a fishing community.  Bergman is made to be the sinner – the Satan at the start of the story by the so-called-God Father Sam. ManiRatnam by the means of Bergman questions who are we to define him to be eternally Satan and ponders over that with Jayamohan if that classification came from religion and if its eternally that be it good or bad which makes one feel like this is a Christianity sermon all over. It is just not that.

L K Advani famously said – after the defeat of BJP in Lok Sabha elections that people ought to see Raavan if you have to know how good Ram was.

Father Sam’s goodness comes out of him differentiating him from Bergman – atleast in his eyes and goes on to be that shepherd of the weak – Thomas. When everything is set – Bergman returns to show how the Bad is always defined by circumstances and that Bad – as defined is not what was written but by what situations dictate you to be. It is never eternal even when classically defined. Father Sam falls for it and suffers. Meanwhile equally abused by the village [as father Sam is now] Thomas decides that the path he takes must not be of Father Sam who succumbed to the capriciousness of the village but bring it to his terms and finds that in Bergman who chiseled his life along by hook or crook. Beatrice with all her innocence spurs a thought in him that life is not about that but being able to right a wrong when wrong proves to be a better opportunity. It’s often that simple experience that changes something in us and comes to the rescue of the ones suffering. He goes back to what Sam once stood for. The fact that this path – of the one preached by the Lord is the same way you save yourselves from drowning in that Kadal of sin. He surpasses in his motive and never repeats the mistake when he is about to kill one last person – Bergman. He remembers what Beatrice once said to him and calls her that guiding Angel. Even if it was one small moment with a loosely worded statement.

I never had a problem with the religious overtones or its treatment. I definitely think this is not Mani Ratnam’s usual treatment of good vs bad. As popular rumor goes – being a self-professed atheist I can only imagine he had to rely on Jayamohan for this. The screenplay and the questions he asks is very much Maniratnam, for the kid – Thomas doesn’t see his Sagaya Mary as a whore but his mom who deserved a better burial. It didn’t matter if she was good or bad by judgment but by the simple truth.

You may dispute the obviousness in some scenes, pettiness of some of the events or even compare it to Nayagan but I still think this is quintessential Maniratnam.

No – there are no subtexts. Its just plain obvious and that’s probably what we were expecting more from a Maniratnam movie in the first place.

The movie is completely filled with everything else that you’d find in a Maniratnam film. Amazing cinematography, great production values and why not – stellar performances from every one in the film. I especially liked that drunkard who speaks English and asks “Yes or No?”. If we learnt one thing from Ilaiyaraja and Rahman it is this. You either immerse a film with music when there is drama or let the drama play itself and the music taking a back seat. [Remember the famous silent moments from Raaja scores]. This movie is where Rahman just plays along with the drama.

 All these realization came while I was watching Adiye. I expected it to be song in the church with the hero woos the heroine – who is probably religious – in a church by singing a gospel’ish song. But no – slap bang in between dialogues he breaks it into a dance-song sequence making it awkward. But then when you look at the song one cannot stop liking the Balled’ish choreography. A music video ill keep in my cellphone. And to think of it, the story cannot set the song that way. He had to either do away with the songs – in a story that comes with songs/religion or just go the mainstream way. He does and that’s when you know you are looking at what Maniratnam is thinking and not to expect what you are thinking.

After all this is a Mani Ratnam film and not our film.

PS: After thought: Magudi is not about a guy/girl but about the guy and the village. Yes, i am now trying to make some meaning out of Maniratnam clenching a bunch of pencils.

Randomly on Viswaroopam

Shriram Abhyankar lowers his gun on seeing the Sacred thread and recites his Abhivadhaye. Ram [Kamal] lowers his gun too. At that point the suffering character – Kamal Hassan gets a new perspective to think. He would have otherwise wandered around and settled somewhere. This is the moment that makes him think of the cause for his suffering, his memories, retribution and eventual high moment when he decides to put a full stop himself. You could almost write the story line of Hey Ram from any  moment in the film . Undoubtedly the finest screenplay from Indian Cinema. That is exactly what Kamal could have accomplished in a movie like Vishwaroopam. By attempting to go Spy-thriller –Action way he misses the opportunity.

 It’s about a RAW agent in US who had a terrorist camp acquaintance in afghanistan . It wants to run parallel to history but fails to capture the realism. Kamal chose more than what can be said to make this a real thriller, it ends up being a Drama-thriller-action. It is all about choosing which part of the story needs to be told.

There are 2 episodes – one in US and one in Afghanistan. Both of them are separately spy-thrillers by themselves but you see it in Sherlock Holmes style happens-break-and-showhow and when mixed removes the pace and continuity of emotion.

That is not to say the movie was bad or boring. It failed to gather itself together. i still dont know what happened to that bomb that exploded in the apartment. I am not sure if I saw anything on it after that. On the whole it works purely on 2 things. Kamal Hassan and Action. Undeniably Kamal Hassan becomes the pivot in each scene. He was there and he did what he did best.  Act. I’ll leave you to judge the action and gore.

 The opening scenes of the film are what I describe its best moments. The part which show Kamal in the Kathak dancer role and Pooja Kumar complaining. You’ll talk about it even after you’ve watched all the action and gory scenes that follow it.  Pooja Kumar is impressive and uses her expressions in her eyes to her advantage. Either she is good at it or trained really well. Either ways she performs in her best-expected capability.

As much as we love to watch another Anbe Sivam or Hey Ram this isn’t that. Is it fair to expect Kamal to do that every time – I don’t know. Kamal probably decided to go new with the execution instead of the story and screenplay.

Finally, I didn’t find anything blasphemous in the film – actually the opposite. May be I cannot because I don’t follow that faith. However I do know what it is when you have to say negative about something you believe in. Kamal never fails to mock something even in a lighter way – in Hinduism. [God has 4 hands, cannot be crucified but dunked in sea] I didn’t find anything of that sort. May be they had a problem showing him associated with all these. May be they didnt want the story to be told at all. “If some one is doing wrong in the name of religion let it be dont show it.” He has shown what has been reported and happening all around the world.

Hey Ram shows Shahrukh Khan – a muslim in the liberal side while Kamal himself was shown in the Hindu Extremist side. I didnt judge myself based on that. I dont know if it is Maturity or Ignorance but i know this If you are making a movie on a topic that can be debated and is a controversial subject – then be prepared for the controversy. He knows our society and culture – and he once famously said [Paraphrasing] We have Saffron, white and green – our culture has all colors and this is india.

The first tweet

“I met him on twitter da” She (@Rtweets) had declared.  It was unheard of in the real world. For some one like @happyS who had just signed up on twitter but didn’t know what to do there, this was definitely puzzling. She was meeting @Rtweets that evening before her something called tweetup.

“So what is he like?”
“Interesting. Actually he doesn’t tweet much of his own. He usually retweets from his timeline and I have always found it interesting”
“That would qualify him as an interesting twitter person..”
“Well, he retweets exactly what I would love to read and I usually end up discussing about it and he shares my thoughts exactly. He in fact personally recommends some to me and they always make me smile.”

@happyS couldn’t believe what she just heard.

“Don’t you want the guy whom you end up with having similar likes and dislikes, thinks exactly the way you want to think?” @Rtweets questioned
“But Twitter?”
“It’s serious da. Same music likes and dislikes, agree on important issues and thoughts, we enjoy the same level of intellectual knowledge and so on. Its one way to find about a person right?”

At this stage @happyS wasn’t even interested in understanding anymore and decided to move on to more tangible questions.

“When did you meet him? Did you know what he looks like?”
“Instagram, I follow him there as well.”
“that’s a photo sharing site with filters…”
“You must checkout his pictures there, they are brilliant.”

In much disbelief – sensing the non existence of seriousness in her mind @happyS was not going to let her old friend believe some internet met probable.

“So how long have you known him – how much of all these are serious?”
“Well, earlier there was a lot of discussion on twitter. I always wake up to his tweets and replies. We then started DM’ing a lot. That’s when things got serious.”
“How serious?”
“We found each other talking about us a lot and of course you cant talk more there”
“Why not” @happyS interrupted.
“Duh! 140 char. What is this?”
“Oh even for a DM? I wouldn’t know”
“Yes, that’s why you must quit facebook now. It’s so old gen. So, we started to whatsapp.”

@happyS was not even ready to ask what it was and how it all worked. Things have already gone past the idea of reason to her.

“Did your parents approve”
“They will be ok with it. He will be on Facetime this weekend.”
“What does he do? Is he working?”
“Why is it tough? He is in the US (location from his tweets), he talks about his work all the time and his prof (So he did his Masters), tweeted and shared pics about his new house. Why infact I’ve seen his family pics too. Its all on instagram. Check it”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh this is how I found about him earlier. I know a lot more now. We are on skype regularly.”

@happyS couldn’t help but remember that some one had once mentioned that there is an app for everything.

“But did you talk to him? Tell him about you liking – I am sure after all these you both would have realized right?”
“Yes – we knew we were on to something”
“And?”
“He proposed and I agreed”
“No no, details..?”

@Rtweets had archived her messages and held her phone to show how it all happened. So much pride and sense of accomplishment in holding the phone.

IamManU: @Rtweets: I Tweet you ❤
Rtweets: @IamManU: I Retweet You ❤
IamManU: @Rtweets: Will you DM me?
Rtweets: @IamManU: Yes 🙂

And @happyS tweeted for the first time

happyS: #cannotableto.

Disclaimer: There is no intentional sexism, gender stereotyping or even reality involved. I cannot find any but if you do let my apologies quickly cross your mind. I have no intentions of hurting any sentiments including religious ones. The events are completely fictional and can be written from a male perspective by changing the gender. No logical reasoning involved in making any decisions. I just flip a coin 729 times to decide. 

Randomly on Rahman’s 20

So everyone gets to write about what Rahman and his 20 years of hard work means to him or her. It is as if we worked hard and achieved something arriving at an end of a journey or a turn in the long road ahead that we think we ought to document our thoughts. What an arrogance. I always think, how would Rahman feel about his 20 years, for that’s the one that needs documentation.

Surreal? Just a milestone that he looks and smiles at? Insignificant or as good as 19 was?

Most of us who write these articles are mostly of the age equaling his experience, yet all we do is what we do best when we go in front of the Srirangam Gopuram or The Taj Mahal or say a Golden Gate bridge – stare, gasp and wonder – how is this humanely possible?

Rahman in many ways is an epitome of the rise of middle class, the power of one, the wonder kid who went on to become famous – all those stories our parents fed us while growing up but never had an impact. He is almost like the one among us who did what we probably could do in some other life somewhere else.

A whole new generation got inspired by his music, his ways, his attitude, His passion and his hard work, his insane calmness despite being named the Musical Storm – Isai Puyal. Possibly this generation learnt a lot more than what they would have otherwise learnt from mainstream education and media.

To talk about his music is to just say what he taught us. Most of us wouldn’t even dare to over analyze his music. A whole part of my life – a music collection on a Hard disk, Bose Speakers, Sennheisser headphones, iTunes store, iPods, Music World, Ilaiyaraja and in fact Patriotism if it is quantifiable – wouldn’t have happened if it was not for him. I just wonder what would that life be.

My mom’s intention was to get to inspire me with the fact that a kid became famous and that I have to “study hard” to succeed that way. I just became a fanatic, someone who loved the “new” music and would make a deal to get every single A R Rahman cassette alone. Everything else can be missed.

Enough has been said about his music whatever it may center around – Roja, Thiruda Thiruda, Duet or Uyire, his blast into Bollywood ,  the 2 oscars, globes and such that completed every tangible and intangible desire of every musician. Yet, this man goes back to his roots and works hard to bring us back that music we drench our sorrow and happiness in. The music that we never heard, the thing that we would take time to come out and patiently wait to grow on us, the music that would redefine what can be done in film music and the music that would make every other musician wonder if something of that is possible in ones life time.. Nothing is more overwritten.

Infact, a critic might argue him being overrated primarily because so much has been said about his music, which is primarily a benchmark of number of lives it has touched. Writing is not easy yet we want to.

One wonders if  he would have survived the non cassette (and MP3) era – when it was all Radio. Many examples (such as Iruvar) prove he would have held himself no matter when. True musicians do – nothing can be disputed there.

Our Journey goes on and so does his – affecting our lives every other way. We stop to look back and gasp at the travel that he has dragged us with. He doesn’t stop, for all those things we call achievement – according to him- is just an act of god to make us all happy. Every credit goes back to him and we just live, listen and die happy.

Billa and Action Movies as such ..

I don’t believe in writing reviews anymore. They really don’t serve a purpose apart from explaining the personal opinion on a film. And my personal liking never translates into what the majority thinks about a film. Most of the films in my perspective are not well made and the actual box office collections or public opinion never reflects that.

Indian films, especially south indian films were once in a stage when we could not look beyond family drama primarily because we were scared to explore more technically demanding story or we never had the means. The transition to the technically advanced film was adopted by those mainstream masala movies that incorporated logic defying scenes and at times keeping us engrossed. Today the transition has gone too far that story is kind of buried in the film that is overwhelmed with the technical aspects in executing a scene what was once just a shot.

Something had to be said about Billa 2. First of all I am a great fan of Ajith – for the simple reason that no one demands such an attention on screen after Rajnikanth. When he is on the screen even the bikini clad ladies fade away (not that I never looked). He draws attention like no one. It is quite obvious that he does so in real life too which is why most heroines dream of sharing the screen with him.

Billa 2 is a film that was supposed to be a prequel to the actual Billa that released sometime back. It’s supposed to show what it took for David Billa to be a Don later on.  One must clearly set the expectations there that it would most probably be fade in and out scenes that shows the turning points of his life. What it does is little of that and more of the details in those moments. The details are nothing but killing. To say that some man becomes a Don primarily because he had the audacity and guts to kill every person on his way without being stopped (as he does to others) doesn’t make sense for full 3 hours.

It requires a little bit of storyline – if you know what it means to show the life history of a person who came through whatever means. How he deals with people who help him, how he balances his personal life and how he deftly handles people who come against him. It is never all violence and no brains. Especially when you deal with a CM who is against Billa or a politician who is slyly plotting to hit two mangoes with one stone.

Unfortunately – what we saw was amazing action with little connection to a storyline.. They ofcourse have good justification of the action sequences (and not plot) – where he hates armchair management but depends on who does the job actually, he hates being double crossed but loves the one who is “fair” (not ethical) and so on. But to show everything with a killing may be a reality in someone’s life but doesn’t make up for a good movie. I would have preferred less of such killings and making others a bit obvious while bringing in a good amount of plot in his life because most of the time life doesn’t make sense looking at the present but you always see a plot looking backwards. Prequel should be one such.

There will be a time when our screenwriters understand the need for a nice thread that holds the entire plot together not overwhelmed by the technical aspects of execution of action scenes. Bourne Identity had some violence through out but the protagonist had a thread  walking him through his phases. Godfather 2 had such similar motives. Scarface did and why, even Baasha did.

We knew how to make stories, we know now how to top it with technically sound sequences but we now have to wait for a movie that balances these together to bring out the best action movie.

Billa 2 is a good start but almost feels like the FPS video game that we play where we don’t care about the story line but just think about killing whoever comes your way. And almost taking a cue, Ajith has a life level where he is able to kill people even when he takes a bullet to his chest and ofcourse restarts a level when he cannot. (I cannot stand after 1 hour in the Gym)

I’d say there is still life left in these screenwriters and hopefully future holds one movie that will meet our expectations. As Billa says “it’s just the beginning..”

PS: Let’s do away with the songs unless they are really required. There is one Sin-city’ish song in the film which was fantastic though.

Special Character

God wouldn’t be god, if he had the choices and the cross roads we have. In her own world she often thought that human beings are an experimentation for a greater perfect species that god would create. The best of the evolution characteristics and the right decisions that work fine might be picked to create the perfect human being. But isn’t he the perfect one? She couldn’t decide.

This perfect man isn’t obviously perfect, after all sunspots are not visible to the naked eye. She knew his past, the present and could see a prospective future with another girl. It’s just the matter of jumping on the other side. After all life presents you with the most tempting offer only to polish it with the most disastrous consequence. Hers was probably a story of a Nut that met the Bolt in the wrong sequence of an assembly line.

She wouldn’t write, She couldn’t speak – neither could she cry. Tears are powerful – they make and break a case, just like coffee. Will she cry thinking of  him or will she cry thinking of why he fell for another? Some times the most spiritual moment of a person’s life is to let something close to their heart go and give it some peace. Spirituality wasn’t her forte yet. Every god was prayed, every religion was used. Absolutely no hatred there.

“Give me the strength to pass this or just make it happen.” Success is best enjoyed when achieved at the right time. No point winning the first and losing it later. Life is cruel, she thinks.

She imagined them meet, emotions crossed, apologies sung with the drums of smashing egos, it is as if nature made the assembly line right. Tears filled her heart, Heart beat sounded in her ears, words were just breathed away in a heavy silence – the natural system had gone for a toss.

Sometimes, even though nuts and bolts are made for each other, there is a thread that will tear them apart. Was she the one? Who makes the decision? Why is that decision right and not the other? How can you change the design? Are the gods as confused as much as she was? She was staring at a question paper for which none of the answers seem familiar. Just like her IIT JEE sometime back…

“1 New Message” announced the phone. A decision has been conveyed. With such a perfect imbalance in her body and mind, she opened.

The message was full of special characters.

Once Upon a Time ..

THE SITUATION

As if the problem with Sita wasn’t enough this had to come now. (Lord) Rama often knew that winning a war against a rogue who once attacked the very moral base of his country wasn’t enough. He has to continue such victory laps until the next ruler made a mistake.

You either die a good man or live long enough to become the villain.

How true, he thought. He was just informed that the puppet government installed in Sri Lanka under Vibheeshana had just collapsed and Ravana’s son had taken over.

Well, we didn’t go on a war because we wanted Oil or something. What’s Srilanka in comparison to Sarayu?

The King of Chola was a fair man. He denied the possibility of a second war.

I fought the first time because your wife, the first lady was involved. As a Thamizhan, we protect the ladies. They are important to us. But now, he is not coming at us. He will come for you directly. We’ll defend our nation whatever it may be, but I guess he will take the Sea route. And what is that with you questioning the chastity of Sita. Yaar, that’s a very unpopular move in our country. Not Cool. He says.

Rama had no patience to answer moral questions. He had a nation to defend and a reputation to protect, for he is the Lord and the very foundations of a future generation’s belief had to be protected.

To top it all, problem of corruption while he was in exile. Bharatha needs to be dealt with. He may deny it saying such expenditure was required to keep the economy running. Even the other Big nation prints currency, why shouldn’t he?

We are the fucking SuryaVansh. He hid his ego.

He will be dealt later.

THE PLAN

Lakshmana, what does Hanuman think? Has he been notified? Rama asked.

No brother, he is in meditation in the Himalayas. How unpopular would it be to destroy a meditation? We play right don’t we?

Sigh! So much for the righteousness. Eh?

I think I have a plan! Once again Sugriva, The General of Ayodhya, stepped to help.

Spell it out Sugriva, this is your time to shine. 

He presented a very careful analysis of the situation and began detailing what would be the costly solution. This more or less looks like a battle we ought to fight. We should have cleaned up completely and we didn’t. Who would have thought the son would rise? ­

Rama was furious. The war was between good and evil Sugriva. I fucking won Ravana. Our misson was done there.

That was not supposed to be the point.

Please arrive at the point.

Clean up. You should have given SriLanka to Chola. Vibheeshana is a team player, not a lead. Ok – So now, you just persuade the Chola to blow up the Bridge we built there. Did you notice he mentioned he would defend his nation and that we may expect Raavana’s son via Sea.

Yes. Hey, what’s that guys name?

No idea – lets just call him Ra.One. The only son alive? [That we didn’t know of!]

Alright – Proceed. Rama seemed to like Sugriva’s humor.

So Lets ask the Chola to block Ra.One’s entry to Tamil Nadu. We’ll get him to arrive at the SunderBans. He would need local support to find out Ayodhya. I don’t think you get maps in Srilanka. I hope Google never went there with their cars.

Yeah, those evil fellas. I think I will go after them next.

Huh! Focus Rama. So they get to SunderBans and this is where we ask the Bongs to call your place Ayutthaya instead of Ayodhya.

What the…!

I recently found out that there is one somewhere east with similar geographies. I’ll have my forces sent there to quickly build a make shift fortress and prepare the army there. That way – he will have to fight multiple borders and find Ayutthaya. So basically …

Lakshmana interrupts. Oh hey hold on. That’s like spending chariot loads of money. Why cant we just kill the S of a B right when he is landing near the sea of SunderBans.

Sugriva and Rama share glances and chuckle at Lakshmana’s naivety.

Rama is happy to explain: Lakshmana – You must think. I win over a land by outsourcing the war to them. They think we are partnering them but they really take the pain and work late shifts and all. We of course would pay them less than what we pay people here but they’ll be happy. They progress, they become our ally. We get to their resources easily [heard, they have fucking awesome beaches in Phuket] and just beat Ra.One to death. People of Ayodhya will never have to worry a bit.

Lakshmana at this time is just hoping that people here don’t realize this and complain about job losses later. He just cannot take that with Rama’s son ready to lead or who knows, over throw their father. Sita must be pissed off.

THE WAR

Ra.One was cursing the Chola by now. He is stuck in the sea with boatloads of weapons and an army the size of his country.

That Chola empire must fall and hopefully Pandian, the fearless at heart, comes in.

How many more days before we see a land, Captain?

Soon enough, the Bengal Tigers at SundarBans welcomed him. His first shot was at the locals who alerted him of AyutthayaGod, these Reds hate Ayutthaya. I thought they were once part of the game?

Unable to believe how his opinion on the rule had changed over few years, he marched east to discover areas that look absolutely neglected. No match for the said glory of Ayutthaya.

I must get these people something when I win the war. Gosh, how impoverished these people are. Aren’t they supposed to flourish under the Golden Rule?

After 2 Ammavasyas he reached the plains only to meet an impatient army.

Oh So, You must be Sugriva?

THE COUP

Little did Rama at Ayodhya know about the planned coup. He had already asked Chola to go ahead with Occupy Colombo plans. Chola, the gentleman, offered about half the land back to Vibheeshana and stayed North to protect the South from a returning Ra.One. If at all he did.

As Rama fled the nation, his thought was all about his sons. After all, these sons do not yet have any factions and how long can sons be disgruntled. He would give The Ayodhya to Lava and Ayutthaya to Kusha.

When a woman is behind the sons, why would they lose? They wouldn’t.

THE LIFE

Retired and vacationing between Phuket and DehraDun, Rama lived with Sita happily ever after.

Lava built Lavapuri to the west while ruling from Ayodhya and named Kasur after Kusha. Kusha would reciprocate with Lobpuri and keep Ayutthaya.

Rama would later narrate 3 stories of his life in a Nalanda commencement speech.

Never leave your wife alone (or with your brother), Clean up your act – wherever whatever, Never trust a guy who conspired against his clan with an Amit.

He would be a God to every one from then on.

Lobpuri, Kasur, Lavapuri(Lahore), Ayutthaya and Ayodhya are real places that exist even today. Sugriva conspired with Rama to kill Vaali.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Thank you, Steve!

Randomly on Songs

Every once in a while comes a song that is pictured well, it stays in your heart forever. As the desi mind gets exposed to the Tarantinos and Scorceses there is a very urgent urge to imitate the format essentially meaning -getting rid of songs. Though – the random filmmaker in me thinks that AranyaKandam with no song sequences made a lot of sense as the entire movie happens in a day – there is also a fear that we may as well take it one step beyond and lose the ability to shoot a song in other movies in an interesting way.

Such thoughts led me thinking about songs that were well pictured when I grew up, the 90s. As described by any foreign tabloid about an Indian movie, the songs abruptly stops the narrative in spite of being shot colorfully and often loud (Read Punjabi).

But there were songs in the 90s that have essentially made the movie watching experience so wonderful that one just wonders if that was the reason why none of the biggies in the Tamil Film Industry could get rid of songs.

My pick of the 3 best-shot songs coincidentally fell into 3 categories. Although many would agree that there were other amazing song sequences, to me, these were so fresh that I would shoot these songs the same way even today and get people to call it path breaking.

What was also a rare coincidence was that every song mentioned below explains the intent of the song in its first line.

1. Uyire Uyire -Bombay
Undoubtedly the best pictured song in the Indian Film industry, Maniratnam poetically shot the gloominess of the character in a location where the Hero looks at the open sea, turbulent and waves hitting the rocks ferociously signifying the future he was looking at, all the while yearning for his lady love to acknowledge his emotion.

It is worth mentioning that the last few seconds of the song where the camera just revolves around Manisha Koirala and Aravind swamy was beyond Vairamuthu’s words. Rahman ‘drums it up’ with such amazing Guitar and Hariharan’s voice that you are almost left in the same emotion.

Path breaking, emotional and yet very Indian – Uyire Uyire from Bombay shows the west what an emotional/musical narrative is all about.

2. Unnodu Vazhatha – Amarkalam
Quite rarely comes a new director who has a very clear thought on the songs to be shot quite romantically. Surprisingly, Charan (from KB’s stable) awes the viewer with an amazing sequence probably to be loved by every single female in the state.

Neither a Fancy set nor a dreamy locale the songs plays right in the lady’s house. She dreams of her guy spending a day with her unnoticed by her entire family all the way expressing the reasons why she likes him.

Dramatic, Romantic – however you call it, Unnodu Vaazhatha clearly shows every one how fancy sets or dreamy locales interrupting the narrative is not that Indian songs are all about. They sometimes express the state of mind, quite dramatically.

3. ManamVirumbuthey – Nerukku Ner.
Call it personal prejudice or my bias towards the Heartthrob of 90s being introduced in the screen, this is what you call “Packaging” a song. The lyrics being surprisingly neutral that an equivalent male version would be as effective as the female one. What works for this song is the way in which Simran’s close up and the Choreography are edited, assisted by near to perfect cinematography(lighting). Add to it Simran’s gorgeousness!!

Specific instances in the lyrics that require an emotional emphasis takes the close up while the celebration of everything else goes for a well choreographed sequence. Take a note of how the second charanam starts – very simple yet very striking. Though Surya didn’t have much to do in the song (may be he couldn’t dance then) he steals the show with his close up smiles.

Clichéd to call it Foot Tapping or Enjoyable – Manam Virumbuthey clearly shows how a well-choreographed number clearly engages the audience despite interrupting the narrative, probably.

What were yours?

PS: I had songs like Kanmani Anbodu from Guna in my list and i’d probably change them someday or make it top 5

Making a Hero out of an Average

Anna Hazare then and now Baba Ramdev. Its nothing to be proud that these people have taken up a “cause”. A quick look at both -the intention seems to go with the billion but the means of achieving that intention seems pretty naive. The Lok Pal bill is as questionable as the law it questions today. Not to mention the line that Baba Ramdev is crossing but given that he is also a citizen, his requests seem pretty naive apart from asking govt to bring back Black Money stashed in Swiss Bank.

One doesn’t give credit to these people for raising these issues. To me Subramanian Swamy’s efforts are worth more than “fasting netas”. You explore a fast unto death only when all the democratic means have been closed, such as a case when we fought for independence. Subramanian Swamy’s fight in the Supreme court seems more laudable. [Read the 2G Scam and Supreme Court involvement after Subramanian Swamy’s petition]

I am wondering if even one of them attempted to go to the Supreme Court, raise the issue and failed? Have we even used the Democratic process to address issues while gathering public attention and support?

Without exploring the existing avenues of escalation they seem to propose solution to enhance the same. They just end up misleading the nation on the solution like our forefathers did on Independence, Partition and Kashmir.

Its not their “greatness” that they have caught the “public eye” but it is the government’s weakness by being reactive and not proactive. The moment you are firefighting a failure in your own organization pointed by others you have failed considerably.

Shame on UPA for making Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev famous and their naivety cheered.

One just hopes that this democracy doesn’t allow the average minds proposing naive solutions to take center stage.