Friday, December 29, 2006

The year that was...2006!!! was busy as hell...we were doing something or the other every weekend. I remember very few weekends when we sat home doing nothing. Not only where the weekends busy but so were many week days!!! I have shared most of experience in my blog which is now a year old!!! So read on and if possible relive

So we did a lot of firsts this time around!!! And here is a list of few that I can write off the top of my head...

  • Went to Abhijeet's show and saw it from front row
  • We went to a Stand-up comedy show - Russell Peters
  • Visited Canada and Niagara from the Canadian side
  • Went to the Rockstars concert and saw it from the sixth row with V.I.P passes
  • Was there when the Strings came forming the only India crowd in the auditorium thus creating attention!!!
  • Moved into a two-bedroom apartment
  • Saw Atif perform live
  • My friend got married!!! You know who you are!
  • Was there at Anand sucked but I was there!
  • Was there at the Diwali sucked too...
  • Was there for the Indian Ocean concert and got to meet them after the show too...
  • My friend opened for Indian Ocean and it was their first professional performance...Brilliant
  • Was there at a MAVS pre-season game...first time
  • Saw Dallas Stars (Ice Hockey) loose in a pro-game, again first time
  • Went to a quasi Baseball game
  • Went to a pro Baseball game...Texas Rangers sucked!
  • Went to London!!! It absolutely rocked!
  • Ate Ethiopian food and have decided never to do it again!
  • Performed Bharatanatyam for the first time on stage after one year training! Fun Fun Fun!
So, now I am ready to face 2007 eagerly awaiting the surprises and challenges it has in store for me as I totally enjoyed myself in 2006!!!

Happy New Year to everyone reading this blog!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Singara Chennai - 2006

You can build pesudo-modern IT buildings all over the place; bring down bungalows and build flats at every possible place; you may see more people driving a car than bike on the streets; you may see college kids running to CCF (Cafe Coffee Day) after college every evening...ya this is the modern Chennai that the city is trying to evolve into...but what it doesn't realize is that nothing can take the son-of-soil out of the Chennai-ites.

People in lungis, people waking up early in the morning to wash their doorway to draw fresh kolam everyday, people sneering at girls in jeans, 10 people stopping to give you directions to a place when you asked one guy for it, the lady at a mall following you around to make sure you have a pleasant shopping experience as well as no shop-lifting experience (annoying!), all remain the same from then to now! Which is essentially the beauty of Chennai. The place might change, and the name of the city might change, names of streets might change, but the people don't. Yes we are the sons and daughter's of the soil!

The tradition laden people still holding to the cultural values very close to their heart and leading their lives similar to the mega-serials are aplenty. The month of marghazhi is still celebrated albeit being commercialized, people talk of months in Tamil names, you can see them going to the temple on Friday evenings, and the jasmine doesn't smell any better than it does in the state of Tamilnadu and no one can deny that.

Girls look willfully at the ads for 'winter' clothes in Chennai that are omnipresent in the city's hoardings and stick to their usual jeans and kurta or salwar and once in a while you also get to see the pavadai dhavani (half-saree). Boys are still following the "old wine in a new bottle" tradition and girls are still trying hard to break the dress code set up by the moral police. Ya somethings don't change...ever!

I loved it absolutely, the traffic is so much better than Bangalore and Bombay. Also there are still many streets in Chennai where you don't see people 24/7 (like you do in Bombay). The shopping as usual was a steal, wonderful clothes and awesome handicrafts stores...and the cinemas...better still the cinema posters...just love that creativity and it is all still there...oh and did I mention the beach? I could not venture into the water (again!) but well I made the driver driver past the ocean and it was well worth the time and effort. The food...gosh! The food! Seriously was the most fun part of the whole trip, from Saravana Bhavan, Sangeetha Apoorva, Anjappar and all way to Mainland China, everything tasted great. My stomach could not digest more than six meals a day else I would have covered more restaurants!

Ah! The Chennai and its sons and daughters of soil and the great food they all prepare with loads of love and affection...I miss it already!!!

Marina Beach

En route to Marina some where close to the Hindu office

Once again the Beach!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

E! (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Jeeva, Karunas, Nayanthara, Ashish Vidyarthi, Pasupathy
Director: SP Jananathan
Music: Srikanth Deva

E (Jeeva) and Tony (Karunas) are partners in crime in a slum area. They are known as con men and people avoid them at all costs. Jothy (Nayanthara) a bar dancer moves into the locality with her step family and is conned by E. In spite of E conning Jothy, she falls in love with him. She learns about him and tries her best to change his ways.

Dr. Ramakrishnan (Ashish) is the local doctor to whom all the poor people run to in case of emergencies. Up front he is a decent doctor trying to save the poor but behind curtains he is an evil doctor experimenting drugs on his unsuspecting patients. He tests some foriegn drugs on Indian patients to make a lot of money. On one such drug tests he enrolls E's adopted grandmother and Jothy's step sister neither of whom have any idea that they are being taken as guinea pigs.

E uses Jothy to make money while he is not even sure if he loves her or not. He is very practical and everything in life refers only to making money. He contracts with the doctor to kill Nellai Mani (Pasupathy) who is trying to kill the doctor. In one murder attempt by Nellai Mani, E rescues the doctor's life and hence the deal is struck.

E decides that if he kidnaps Nellai Mani and keeps him in his custody then he can milk the doctor for a lot of money. But his attempts to kidnap Nellai Mani fail until one day Nellai Mani hurt and wounded by cops falls into E's hands.

Does E kill Nellai Mani, what is Nellai Mani's motivation to kill the doctor? What does Jothy do to help or dissuade E from committing further crimes? You should watch the movie!!!!

First off, kudos to the director for delivering a current subject with so much effectiveness that it surely raises awareness among people. The casting is simply brilliant. Jeeva as E has amazing make up, perfect gait, mannerisms, and dialect that one cannot picture him removed from the slum. Even his teeth are yellowed with rotting marks on them. Karunas as Tony is brilliant as E's best friend.

Nayanthara can act! Yes! And she is pretty too. There is no two thoughts about that. She shines in the movie with her histrionic skills. She really needs some more slimming to do item numbers as she still reminds me of thunder-thighs-Anuradha from the 80's but she is better than what she was in Gajini.

Ashish Vidyarthi desperately needs to update his acting skills as it is getting pretty stale and repetitive. Pasupathy is as good as he has been in other movies but unfortunately for him he does not have much to do in this movie.

To conclude I would certainly say that this is a very good movie to watch but beware of many gory scenes, dead bodies in different state that you really don't want your eyes to look at and a few not so parliamentary dialogues. Certainly not for children but adults should be able to handle and digest the content of the movie. Interest theme and very decent music too. Thank God the director does not bore us with loads of unnecessary songs at wrong times. It is a movie with dark shades so be prepared!

Dhoom 2 (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Hrithik, Ash, Bips, Abhi, Uday Chopra
Director: Sanjay Gadhvi
Music: Pritam

What the hell does the director think of movie goers? That we will take any trash that is dished out at us? That we are stupid people who cannot think and will watch with awe when he has made a fashion show and music videos and is selling it to us as a movie?! Seriously this trend has to stop, using multi-starer themes with absolutely no story in the movie whatsoever is not only ridiculous but also mocking the viewers sense! This is what I seriously think of this movie...Total bull crap.

Anyways now coming to the story. We all know that Jay (Abhi) is a serious cop who has Ali (Uday) as his right hand man who is a total fool. We wonder how a sensible cop can have an idiot for help. Anyhow, they are now trying to bust a new International thief that has been creating a sensation with his unique style of leaving an A behind at the crime scene. Of course, hot girl Shonali (Bipasha) has to be the strict gal officer who assists Jay and Ali to get Mr. A (Hrithik) behind bars!

Well they fail miserably in their first task and after that we are rid of Shonali because in comes Ms. Sunehri (Ash) who is hot on the tracks of Mr. A as she is enamored by his robbing tactics. We all get to know that she is Jay's informer. We don't know what crime she has committed that she is doing favors to Jay to get rid of prison sentence. Anyways, Sunehri has Mr. A well in her tracks. Hot dances and skin feast galore! Sunehri offers to become Mr. A's partner and Mr. A agrees and lets her know that his next destination is Brazil and so Jay and Ali pack their bags too.

The next thing we see is Ms. Monali (Bips again) in bikini posing around in Rio. Of course, you must have guessed that she is Shonali's twin sister who eventually falls in love with Ali! The climax will answer the following questions: Will Ash''s cover be exposed? What does Mr. A do about it? Does Jay get his guy? What happens to Ali or do we even care about him?

Like I said at the very beginning of the review. I am not very excited about this movie though I should agree that Hrithik is hot and even hotter than Ash and Bips. Seriously this is one instance when even guys felt that Hrithik was better than the girls in the movie! He really steals the show and we only catch glimpses of Abhi. Uday is extremely irritation and in spite of his good physique he still carries the annoying chipmunk face...So Uday choose another profession please!

Aishwarya should not be allowed to talk. She sounds think she is hot in her entry scene and the minute she opens her mouth the bubble breaks! Also she should not attempt to do any type of dance other than desi folk and desi movie dance! Because she make western dance look like Barathanatyam! Gosh it is annoying! But in the case of Bipasha at least she is hot in spite of having only a bimbo's role in the movie!

Now it is your decision to watch or not to watch!

Kabul Express (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Arshad Warsi, John Abraham, a no-name-American, Hanif Hum Ghum, Salman Shahid
Director: Kabir Khan

So Jai (Arshad) a cameraman and Suhel (John) a reporter, are on their way to Kabul to get a documentary on Taliban. They are on a hunt to find a Talib in flesh and blood and are being assisted by Khyber (Hanif) who drives Kabul Express, a car. Khyber sets up a meeting with a Talib with the help of Pakistani soldiers but the Talib escapes from them and he sees Jai and Suhel.

He tracks them down and tries to use them to help his getaway into Pakistan which he claims is his homeland. Jai, Suhel, and Khyber are being terrorized by the talib who calls himself Imran Khan Afridi (Salman Shahid). Some funny moments arise when Jai and Imran discuss about cricket.

Enroute to Pakistan they are overcome by many hurdles. They are stopped by the Hazaras during which Imran escapes and laters rescues Jai, Suhel, and Khyber from them. There they also meet and save the American journalist (the no-name actress) and her driver who have been on Jai's and Suhel's tracks and were now imprisoned by the Hazaras.

They continue the journey together. They visit Imran's daughter's village, and go through many struggling moments before finally reaching Pakistani border but also being hunt down by the army...Does Imran make it to the other side of the border or not?...It is not a big surprise you will guess this part much before the director even brings the story to the end....

Anyways, the review...the movie is not worth wasting time on. John and Arshad are good but the movie is not convincing. The plot is not clear...the director tries to stay away from white and black areas and lingers around in gray areas. He is not clear if the Pakistani army is bad, or if he is trying to justify the Talib's feelings/life/existence, or if Americans are bad...What is the point? Is the point to let us know what Afghanistan has been reduced to by the Russians, Americans, Taliban, NA, and everyone else then this movie just came like a year or two too late. Because honestly, if you are the kind that reads, then you would know more than what the movie tells even before watching the movie. But I should not forget to appreciate the attempt because it is worth watching for the visuals. The story itself is reject quality.

I understand that Mr. Kabir Khan is a war journalist, maybe he should have stuck to it than moving into commercials. A documentary on this topic might be more interesting than the movie posing as a pseudo-documentary. Therefore, my advice is, if you have nothing better to do then you can waste your time on this fare.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Perarasu (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Vijaykanth

I swear to god I saw this movie a day or two after Manathodu Mazhaikalam and Casino Royale and I am a little late (one month) in writing the reviews and I don't remember what Perarasu is all about. I am raking my head and I kinda sorta remember that it has something to do with double acting Vijaykanth.

I used to like this actor...once upon a time, when he did decent movies...but now...I am not even sure why I watch his movies. Here is what I remember from it:

1) The heroine was just a doll who would sing and dance. She had no role at all. Wonder why they even need a heroine...we know that Vijaykanth is not gay so they can spare the torture of making us watch him in songs!

2) The movie is all about him. His being a cop or something and how he is so righteous and smart and intelligent and cannot make mistakes and how he loves his people and so on and so forth...

3) Vijaykanth has a twin brother who actually kills all the bad guys and the blame falls on the othe rbrother who is the cop dude.

4) The murderous V.Kanth is killing because bad guys who are now popular politicians were responsibile for their honest father's death and for orphaning them.

5) End of Story!

Is it worth watching? NO!

Manathodu Mazhaikalam (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Shaam, Nitya Das, Samiksha
Director: Arpudan
Music: Karthik Raja

The quality of the movie print, music, camera, etc are all just average. Nothing great shakes there. But the story is nice and so are the casting and acting. It is the story that defines that true friendship is beyond physical attraction and that a girl and a boy can share a platonic relationship.

Siva (Shaam), a very naughty college student makes friends with Sathya (Nithya), a level headed student. Siva and Sathya spend a lot of time together and hang out in college and outside all the time. This leads to a lot of people suspecting their platonic relationship as love. At the same time Shruthi (Samiksha), a fellow collegemate falls in love with Siva and openly expresses her love for him throughout the movie.

Farewell day comes and everyone moves on with their life and so does Shruthi. Siva and Sathya are in touch with each other and their parents assume that the two of them are ready to marry each other. When they propose the alliance hell breaks loose...What happens next is very predictable but nevertheless handled very beautifully.

Shaam as an old guy is not very convincing. He does not play it well and seems to be put on. But him as a college student is perfect and so is Nitya. I wish Samiksha could underplay her characters a little bit, over acting is not acting...

The movie can be described as a simple story narrated with ease. There are no high priced sets or extravagantly shot songs. In fact I can't even remember what the songs sounded like but the story still lingers in my mind. It is worth a watch with the entire family and certainly an eye opener for kids who think that a girl and boy cannot be friends.

Varalaru (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Ajith, Ajith, Older Ajith, Asin, Kanika, Sujatha
Director: K.S. Ravikumar
Music: A.R. Rehman

Young Vishnu (Ajith) is a very pampered child of ShivaShankar (old Ajith). He is very careless and irresponsible. To teach him a lesson Shiva sends his son to Thothapuram to do some social service. He does no social service but falls in love with Divya (Asin). The circumstances he falls in love with her are unbelievable, but hey it is a Tamil movie so anything can happen!

Shiva has his son engaged to Divya easily but the events that follow has everyone confused. Vishnu seems to have a multiple personality. He does few things that he would not do usually. Like, for example, get drunk and go to Divya's house to abuse and beat up her parents, try to kill his father, etc. Under suspicious circumstances Vishnu is admitted in the hospital and is made to undergo shock treatment.

The second half of the story is interesting, if I tell more than what I have said above I might give away the suspense. The Old Ajith has a flashback and a few new characters are introduced in the story. The movie is very gripping right from the start. Ajith is very convincing as father and son. The father's character which is that of a Bharatanatyam dancer seems a little over done but nevertheless convincing. Since I have been learning Bharatanatyam myself I dont understand what category the dance Ajith does falls under. Seems like a fusion version.

The movie is a wholesome entertainment. It has mother sentiment, father sentiment, brother sentiment, girlfriend-boyfriend sentiment, angry, murder, love, romance, sadness, tears, etc. Very good for family viewing and the background score as well as the music is certainly very nicely chosen!

Casino Royale (2006) - English Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

We all expect a typical Bond movie to have loads of least Mr. B should be smart and see beyond the girl he is in love with...After seeing so many Bond movies we seem to be more smarter than Mr. B himself. More than once in the movie I was able to solve the plot and I am sure most people around the world would have had the same feeling like me...Is the BOND a dumb blond?

So the story starts with some good action scenes that bought me to the edge of the chair because I knew more would follow as the movie proceeded, but to my luck as soon as the handsome hunk took the train to Casino Royale the action scenes ended and the dialog accompanied with a game of card that I did not understand started. Of course you know how that would end...Bond wins!

Bond was of course chasing the bad guy who was using the Queeny's stolen money to make more money by throwing out the big gambling challenge at the Casino Royale. Bond did have an American accomplice without which he might loose a few of his viewers. So he wins the money and survives getting poisoned by the villain due to the help of his beautiful accountant who of course is appointed by the British Empire to keep track of Bond's spendings in the gambling.

Of course he falls in love with the very ordinary looking heroine and becomes totally enamored by her after she saves his life. He tells her all his secrets and guess what...Surprise!!! She robs him naked...ya! now like you did not guess that to happen...

Well there are smaller plots in the story but the entire movie was just above average. Bond is pouting handsome and does his stare throughout the movie. The heroine is very ordinary. Despite the clothes she did not manage to catch my attention. No wonder Bond looked beyond her looks and fell in love with her heart!!!!

The movie was decent but it could have done with a lot more fun stuff like cigarettes that were bombs or watches with cameras!!! But there were no cheap thrills. It was more of a WYSIWYG kind of a movie. If you have a dull day then this will be a perfect movie to watch...a hot cup of tea on a rainy day!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Protector (2006) - English Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Tony Jaa
Director: Prachya Pinkaew

I saw this movie quite some while ago and hence don't remember the character's of all the cast in the movie. So please bear with me. It is so much like a desi movie. I really liked it and enjoyed watching a Thai movie dubbed in English. It was a pleasure to see Tony Jaa's stunts which are done using no ropes or stunt doubles. He uses a Thai fighting technique called Muy Thai.

The story is about Kham (Jaa), a young boy growing up in Thailand under the influence of his grandfather's wisdom. Kham and his grandfather rear elephants and take great care of them (mom and son elephant). Kham also learns Muy Thai (Thai martial arts) from his grandfather. He enjoys nature and lives as one among it with his elephants.

Kham and his grandfather take their big elephant to display it to the King but they get duped and instead their big elephant is stolen from them for the tusks. When his grandfather questions the authority he gets shot and in the confusion Kham looses the baby elephant too to the bad people. Kham has lost everything he held close to himself in one single moment, his grandfather and two elephants.

Kham traces the bad guys to Australia where there is a whole group of people that eat elephant and other exotic meat and also trade women among many other bad things. Kham gets in the thick of the racket and with the help of a Thai policeman in Australia helps uncover the truth.

The ending is sad and disheartening and Jaa does a great job of showing emotion when he sees that his big elephant is no more and the stunt scene that follows it is simple breathtakingly bone breaking.

There is a lot of violence in this movie. It is like a typical Rajanikanth or Vijaykanth movie. The hero is uneducated but is in a different country trying to save his only known family. How many desi movies we have seen like this one! But the beauty of the movie lies in the fact that Jaa like J.Chan does his stunts himself...and with no rope or cinema tricks. So this movie is a fun watch for everyone who love great stunt scenes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pokiri (2006) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Mahesh Babu, Illeana, Nazar, Prakash Rai, Sayaji Shinde, Ashish Vidyarthi
Director: Puri Jaganath
Music: Mani Sharma

There are four parts to the movie that come together towards the end. One with Mahesh Babu as Pandu, one with Sayaji Shinde as the Commissioner, one with Ashish Vidyarthi as the Sub-Inspector, and one with Prakash Rai as the villain. So let me explain the movie in parts!

Part Pandu: Pandu is a mercenary who is ready to kill for bills! He is a free agent and the whole movie he is killing hoards of people everywhere in Cyberabad! Pandu falls in love with Shruthi who is an aerobic instructor in his friends father's (Nazar's) school. Pandu and Shruthi lands up becoming friends because he keeps helping her out from all her male fans. Shruthi eventually falls in love with Pandu but she is not sure of his origins. So when she confronts him about it she is privy to a bloody battle between Pandu and his enemies where Pandu single handedly kills many people! Shruthi still goes ahead with her love for Pandu...

Part Ashish Vidyarthi: So AV is a bad cop. He goes around harassing all his constables and has ties with all underground war lords. He is a wheeler dealer and works with all the dons and hence has too much power in the society. His eyes fall on the beautiful Shruthi and he starts to harass her and her family. He wants to make her his keep and also sets up a fake rape scene near her house so that no one from around will marry her...Get the point? He is a BAD MAN!

Part Sayaji Shinde: A good cop. He is singlehandedly trying to fight the underworld dons in Cyberabad. Ever since he has taken charge the crime rate has completely reduced. But he has a weakness and that is his daughter who is in love with the son of a MLA.

Part Ali Bhai (Prakash Rai): Ali bhai is the all feared Don who lives around the globe and runs his operation from Hyderabad. He has about 100 goons who work under him and now he wants to employ Pandu in his team having heard about his killer instincts! This is where all the characters in the movie come together.

Ali bhai gets arrested by Sayaji and is kept in the lock up deprived of sleep. To get Ali bhai released the goons use Sayaji's daughter's boyfriend to make a porn video with Sayaji's daughter and get it published all over the internet. Sayaji releases Ali bhai but is dying to take revenge.

When Ali Bhai talks to Sayaji's daughter she tells him that there is a cop among Ali bhai's search of the goon Ali Bhai kills Nazar. What does Pandu do? What is Pandu's role in solving the crime? Does he punish the bad criminals? And if so what does he do? What happens to Shruthi? Wow so many questions! To get answers to them please watch the movie!

Mahesh Babu as Pandu shows two emotions, anger and not so angry! He poses most of the movie and keeps running in most scenes. Well, I guess this movie does not demand any more from him for the role I guess. He looks really good and he carries himself very cool in the movie.

Illeana as Shruthi looks pretty and acts well for what her role demands. She looks very young and one can wonder how her mother is staying home allowing her daughter to work while she herself is not all that old and can at least get the job of a receptionist or a secretary. Had they shown a mother who is disabled or sick or old the plot might have been more convincing.

Brahmanandam as the nosy software-engineer neighbor brings in the lighter moments of the film and surely is funny! He does get loud at some points but it is a welcome change from rowdies and gundas!

Prakash Rai is now a staple part of every Tamil and Telugu movies. He, I believe is getting repetitive. I can close my eyes and see how he would do a certain role, be it a brother, a father, an uncle, a villain, a doctor, or whatever he plays. It is now getting a little stereotypical plus he is getting over exposed. And as for Ashish Vidyarthi, he is a good villain and he does the same villain act in every again I would start searching for new villains.

The rest of the cast come and go and don't create so much of a stir to grab your attention. But on the whole the movie is a good effort at entertainment and is fun to watch. It feels like you are watching a remix of one of those popular late 80's and early 90's movie with Rajnikanth, Kamal movies. But it is fun nevertheless. The dialogues are funny, effective, and smartly written. A good movie to watch with friends and family alike.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Em Magan (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Bharath, Nazar, Vadivelu, Gopika, Saranya, Gajjala
Director: Thirumurugan
Music: Vidyasagar

Krishnan (Bharath) is a college student who also works for his father's provision store. His father is nick named Emdan (Nazar) due to his ill-tempered nature. Krishnan's mom Kalyani (Saranya) is also afraid of her husband and so is her entire family. Every night Emdan finds a new reason to beat Krishnan up. The whole family is under constant terror from Emdan. Kalyani's younger brother Ayya Kannu (Vadivelu) who stays with Emdan and works with him keeps the humor in the film going at a constant pace as he gets beaten or verbally abused by Emdan.

Krishnan on the other hand is a soft natured boy who loves his family immensely and is putting up with all the torture by hearing the sweet words spoken by his childhood sweetheart in his mind every night before he sleeps.

Krishnan's grandfather (Kalyani's father) passes away and the entire family visits his maternal home for the funeral. There Krishnan gets to meet his childhood sweetheart Janani (Gopika) and their relationship blossoms into love. But this is not to be because their families do not get along and they are caught kissing by the entire family.

Emdan is mad at Krishna and his family drives back home only to find Janani in the trunk of the car. Emdan kicks both Janani and Krishna out of their house. Krishna goes to refuge at their family auditor's house who had previously offered help to Krishna to get a job as a poultry manager. The auditor's daughter Divya (Gajjala) had a soft corner for Krishna until he explained to her about Janani. Now both father and daughter along with Ayya Kannu help Krishna and Janani start a new life.

Does Krishna and Emdan ever patch up? What happens to Divya? What happens to the rest of Emdan's family? You know it! Just think it is an Indian movie after all!

The reason I have given this movie 4/5 is because of some brilliant performances from Bharath and Nazar. Saranya too has acted her role very well. The story is tight and the screenplay and script and good. The movie has a satirical comic sense and at the same time is packed with super pace. Can be seen with family and is surely a feel good movie.

I have to give a special mention to Vadivelu for bringing in the lighter moments in the movie as Ayya Kannu, Saranya's brother and Bharath's uncle. I am not a great fan of Vadivelu due to his loud voice and obnoxious humor but in this movie he is simply brilliant.

I strongly suggest everyone who love Tamil movies to watch this movie. It not only has great direction but also great performances and a very entertaining story.

Vallavan (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Simbhu, Nayanthara, Reema Sen, Sandhya
Director: Simbhu
Music: Yuvan Shankar

Vallavan (Simbhu), Suchi (Sandhya) and a group of other friends go to the same college. Vallavan falls in love with Swapna (Nayanthara) at first sight later to learn that she is a lecturer in the same college where he is a student. To win her love Valla dresses up as Palla in an ugly get up (like Kalyana Raman Kamal) and woos her with songs and his love. Swapna eventually sucumbs and falls in love with the Palla. She is extremely surprised to see that her Palla is actually a handsome Valla. They are both happily in love until Swapna realizes that Valla is three years younger than her. She immediately kicks him out of her house and her life.

Valla is very upset and remembers his past affair with his school girlfriend Geeta (Reema Sen). Valla falls in love with her after bumping into her during school culturals and later she joins the same school as Valla and his friends. Valla realizes in time about her obsessive behavior and after a fight dumps her. Now she is back to take revenge on Valla for dumping her after giving some powerful punch lines!

Valla is now struggling to keep Geeta from spoiling his life and also trying to win back Swapna. What wrath does Geeta vent on Valla and Swapna? Does Swapna look beyond age? need to watch the movie!

I feel that Simbu has controlled his performance to a very good level in this movie. As a director he has done a decent job although his story is not a complete success. He tends to loose the audience in more than one occasion. I have to say that I love the video for the song Loosu Penne and also the Aracha Maavu song. Simbu should stop idolising himself so much. He should first establish himself as a good actor before posing as a powerful person. He might be the self-proclaimed little Super Star but he by no means is an equal to Rajni and should stop giving the power-punch dialogues. Honestly look at him, his frame, he is so thin that Nayanthara can kick the daylight out of him. But in this movie he looks more decent than any of his previous movies and also he has restrained himself to a few scenes where he calls a girl "di."

Nayanthara on the other hand surprisingly looks gorgeous and not like a road roller at all. In every scene of the movie she is beautiful. She exposes but not using skimpy clothes but in the great sexy sari. Her histrionics can also be much appreciated in this movie.

Reema Sen cannot convince me as a school girl. She looks old, tired, and annoying. There is too much of over action and her whole character seems to be a add on to the story. It almost leads us astray from the main plot. Simbu could have made the movie shorter, simpler using just the age difference factor as the main plot instead of using the Reema Sen sub plot that only throws the viewer off the story.

The music by Yuvan Shankar Raja is surely very enjoyable and the videos do absolute justice to them. Also the camera man needs to be complimented on his wonderful camera work especially the Loosu Penne song.

This is a through and through entertainer. It has a few sexy scenes that might embarrass you should you watch it with family but other wise the first half of the movie is comedy packed and moves very swiftly. If you are not interested in logic and is sitting in a theater for pure entertainment then this is a good choice.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dor (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4.9/5

Cast: Gul Panag, Ayesha Takia, Shreyas Talpade
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor

In simple words it is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen in my life. Tight script, a story that has no loose ends, immaculate direction, beautiful locales, simple dialogues, and to top it all off brilliant performances by the entire cast makes Dor a must watch. I have seen this movie once and will see it many more times in the future just to digest the small details that I might have missed during the first time around.

It is the story of love, loss, friendship, trust and above all honesty. It is the story about how two unrelated lives come together. Zeenat an independent girl lives in the hills of the beautiful Himalayas married to Amir and waiting his return from Saudi where he works as a truck driver. While Meera a naive village girl lives in a joint family married to Shankar also waiting for her husband to come back from Saudi where he is working to settle the family debt. But what they both receive is the twist in the story that brings them both together.

Shankar dies in an accident and Amir is facing death sentence being accused of Shankar's murder in Saudi. Zeenat has a mercy petition document in her hand that needs Meera's signature to relieve Amir from the death sentence, but she has no idea where or who Meera is. Boldly with just one photo of Shankar Zeenat leaves her hill country to the desserts of Rajasthan looking for Shankar's wife Meera. Meera on the other hand has lost all her rights and freedom that was hers once since her husband death. She is now living the life of a widow at a very young age banished from fun and frolic.

Zeenat with the help of a young impostor (Shreyas) hunts Meera's house down. On approaching Shankar's parents she gets spat on and kicked out of the house. Not giving up hope Zeenat befriends Meera by meeting her in the temple everyday...While Meera's father in law is trying to sell her to an out-of-town contractor for money...

Does Meera sign the papers when the truth is revealed? What happens to Meera's future? Please watch the movie and you will not be disappointed.

The casting for the movie is brilliant. Ayesha as the young widow with a big heart is portrayed so well by this young actress. Her acting prowess is exposed to the highest degree in this movie. I have seen her movies in Telugu and Hindi and this is her best till date. The innocence in her eyes, the sadness, the need, the love, everything is expressed in a very convincing way. Gul playing the role of Zeenat has provided us with some brilliant performance showing determination and poise while trying to give life to her husband who is sitting on death row.

Shreyas is a brilliant actor, nothing new about that but his role as the impostor brings in the lighter moments of the movie. He is spontaneous and very funny. Nagesh Kukunoor as the out-of-town contractor is very convincing as the bad guy as I was really mad at him for a long time after the movie. Girish Karnad as the father-in-law mad at his daughter-in-law is also portrayed very impressively.

In all this movie is a brilliant package with great acting, direction, stills, location, and above all an impressive story and this would most certainly be my pick for Oscar next year!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Elavattam (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Navdeep, Sheela, Suhasini, Vijaykumar, Shubalekha Sudhakar
Director: Raja Raajha
Music: Mani Sharma

The story is a rehash of what has been done in the past many times. This is my idea of what the director must have thought...To make a movie with lots of sex to sell the movie but then to get the attention of decent audience use the sex to teach a lesson to youngsters. Nice idea but the execution went sourly wrong. The story is banal and so is the screenplay and dialogues. The songs are also not so lingering and on the whole an average fare.

A college that had never had any gold medallist finally gets one in the form of Navdeep. Everyone wonders why Navdeep always received police security to college and he goes on to explain his flashback...

Navdeep and Sheela are in the same school and they are at loggerheads with each other. One rainy night Navdeep is exposed to the concept of sex and then he gets physically attracted to Sheela. Which of course turns into love in due time!

Sheela's is the daughter of a rich landlord (Vijaykumar). She has a sister who is married to Babloo (this is what he used to be called when he used to act in Tamil serials). Babloo is a rogue in the disguise of a nice guy. He is secretly planning to marry Sheela so that all the property owned by Vijaykumar comes under his control. When Vijaykumar discovers his plot Babloo kills Vijaykumar and dons the role of the head of the household.

On discovering Sheela and Navdeep on the bed in their house he gets mad and tries to kill Navdeep. The district collector Suhasini with whom Navdeep is already acquainted helps get Babloo arrested and thrown into Jail. She also gets a promise from both Navdeep and Sheela that they will both study and pursue a career before giving in to physical attraction which may also be infactuation at such a young age.

Honestly I don't see why Navdeep receives police protection every single day of his college life when the bad guy Babloo is behind bars! The whole story is under a wrong premise. I am not sure I even remotely enjoyed the movie. It is very sensual in parts and certainly not for family me when I say this as I saw it with my mother and it was thoroughly uncomfortable! Even if the story is not new a lot of movies have something different that makes the movie interesting (for example the movie Run) but this is plain boring! So avoid it if you have anything better to do. But I must give credit to both Navdeep and Sheela for very decent acting. I honestly believe it was not their fault for choosing to act in a below average movie!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Me and my Penicilin!

My childhood is full of things I did that I laugh about now...I feel sad for my parents who had to put up with it...Here is one more of such incident!

I had the chronic cough for over a month or more and the doctors at BHEL township hospital decided that they would have to inject me with penicilin to get rid of it. I think the dosage was two shots a day for four days. One in the morning before school and one in the evening after school. As most of you know that every penicilin shot starts with a test (think it is called Manto's test or something)...So mom and I were at the hostpital one evening sitting in line to get my test. I was positive that I will fail the test and would not have to go through the eight shots of penicilin.

The nurse came in poked the needle into my arm and then put a cirlce around where she had poked. She told me that they will let me sit for half hour and see if anything happens inside the circle. I was so positive that after having successfully managed to flunk so many subjects in school I can fail this one with ease...

tik tik tik tik...the time moved on slowly...and at the end of half hour the nurse came back and told me that I have successfully qualified for their penicilin injection program and that I would be stepping into the injection room to expose my tushie for the shot!!! I panicked and showed signs of running away...but mom held me tight and got me inside the nurse's room. I started crying, and when the nurse came close to me with a swift movement (Rajnikanth Style) I kicked the nurse in her stomach with one leg and pushed my mom away with my hands and ran outside the hospital to save my bottoms!!!

For the first time ever in my life I walked alone and that too all the way from the Hospital to my B-Sector home and I would have just been six or seven. I was positive that my dad would be proud of me for having ducked my injection...It took me more than half hour to reach home and at that moment I was selfish and did not care about my mother's anxiety of loosing her daughter at all. I got home and knocked the door to my house and dad opened it. First think he searched for mom. The minute he knew I had walked home alone he was mad and I could see it. He did not say much till he let me inside the house and then I got a nice dressing down! I was dad! my dad scolded me, so many times in previous situations my dad had saved me from receiving injections but now he was mad at me!!!

Mom came in and more praises were showered on me and the next morning I was sent to the hospital with both mom and brother and an extra nurse waited at the door. I once again tried to wiggle my way out but then I was pinned to the bed by my brother and mom and I cried now out of humiliation that I was finally made to undergo the ultimate torture from a syringe! And this memory is fresh in my mind. I can remember the flooring in the hospital some sort of dark gray with black and white spots and green curtains with nurses in white pinafores and funny hats running around with their long socks and white shoes...Grrr....

But few things have changed I still hate injections more than anything in my life!!! I am scared of them and I will do anything to avoid them!! Even when they draw blood from me for tests it takes a good nurse three turns before she can get the needle inside my arm! I have great reflexes!!!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Godavari (2006) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking : 4/5

Cast: Kamalinee Mukherjee as Sita Mahalakshmi, Sumanth as Sriram and Neetu Chandra as Raji
Director: Shekar Kammula
Music: K. M. Radha Krishnan

Cinema can be two things. It can either be a fantasy portrayed on screen or can be reality bought to light. A director should be clear about what he wants. If he is confused then the final outcome is also not great. But if the director knows that he wants to direct a fantasy movie and goes about doing it with great screenplay, setting, story, camera, music, etc then the movie is beautiful. Godavari is a fantastic fantasy. Beautiful scenery, some great acting, and a very simple story backed with a good screenplay and dialogues. The music is also soothing but the background score reminds you sometimes of AR Rehman's Thiruda Thiruda or his older movies. In other words I liked this movie and would strongly recommend others to watch it. Family viewing should bring no embarrassment to anyone.

Sita is a very pampered and spoilt child who wants to achieve something on her own in her lifetime. She is a free spirited independent girl raised to live her life in her own way. Due to pressure she agrees to marry a guy her parents had chosen for her but gets frustrated to realize that the guy had rejected her. So in anger she packs her bags and leave to see Sita-Ram marriage in Badrachalam on a house boat called Godavari on the river Godavari.

Sriram is an US-return software guy who wants to do something for the people of India and hence comes back to India to join politics. He wants to marry his cousin Raji who is also his best friend but her father thinks otherwise and gets her engaged to an IPS officer and the marriage is scheduled to take place in Badrachalam. The entire wedding party is booked to travel on the house Boat too.

Sita and Ram meet in the boat. Sparks fly but nothing is uttered. Before it is uttered there are small confusions and tensions and the story takes a small twist and eventually ends in a happy note. Sorry for giving away the ending. Like you anticipated anything different. It is a Golti movie for the love of GOD! and that too a romantic one!

So in conclusion, a simple predictable love story that is done very nicely. Kamalinee Mukherjee to me seemed to have matured as a Telugu actress in this movie from her performance in Anand. She is cute and adorable and portrays her character to perfection. Sushanth on the other hand seems to lack energy but maybe that is his role in this movie. He can try and do better in his next movie. Neetu as the confused cousin of Sushanth has done a great job too. Her confusion is portrayed very aptly. And last but not the least, the animated talking dog Kotigadu is simply the BEST! He is cute, adorable and funny and not overdone one bit also.

Go and watch the movie if you have not done so yet!
So I got Tagged...By one of my real real good friend. In fact I guess he is the only friend I am in touch with since Primary School...Here are the questions...

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4.

All I have is an Architectural magazine near me and on line four it talks about some architects work!

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can.

Thanks! My back popped!

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

I saw a golt movie last night on my TV but thats not watching TV is it?! So I remember watching South Park before going to sleep on Wednesday night!

4. Without looking, guess what time it is?


5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?

Not bad the time is 9.29am. I guess I keep a watch on myself!

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

People chattering away in the back...things I don't care about and things I don't want to hear.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

Just came into work dude! and wont step outside till 5.00pm to go home and clean up the mess in it!

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

Movie preview for Vattaram on

9. What are you wearing?

Blue jean, white shirt and whitish pinkish nike sneakers

10. Did you dream last night?

I usually remember this but last night was clear. Slept like a baby!

11. When did you last laugh?

This morning.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Loads of drawing sheets that I have worked on with my boss and colleagues for a recent high-profile presentation. They are beautiful!

13. Seen anything weird lately?

Not that I remember...and if it is weird I usually try to forget it.

14. What do you think of this quiz?

It is short and simple. Easy!

15. What is the last film you saw?

Godavari. A telugu movie last night. I strongly believe that only telugu movies can convey simplicity and feel-good feelings so nicely. It is a must watch movie for the romantics.

16. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?

A kick ass car and and a nice plot of land to design and build my own house in my own style! Hopefully it makes it to some cool architectural magazine (for good reviews okay!).

17. Tell me something about you that I dunno.

I have been learning Bharatanatyam for more than a year now and will be giving my first performance on Nov. 11 in Irving, TX!

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

The weather in India. Make it more conducive to progress. Water should no longer be a concern for people! (Spoken like a true Madrasi!)

19. Do you like to dance?

Love it...

20. George Bush.


21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

Radha, Anushka (combination of Anu + Girish), Shakthi

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?

Anush (same), Surya

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Yup...but always dil chahtha hai India!!!

24. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

Waddup Dawg!

25. 5 people who must also do this in their blog.

Why 5 when I can name 7!!!

Seashells (Who writes like a poet! Wait he is one!)
Satyam4U (a lover of golt movies who attempts to talk in Tamil :))
Megha G (My best pal!)
Kasi and (A dude who shares a common interest with me...MOVIES!!!)
Manjesh (Who desperately needs to update his blog! Lazy Bottoms!)
And of course Sammy!!! (The greatest guitarist and singer ever! GO MASUM!)
Ashutosh! (The funny dude!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Disco Skirt

It was one of my brother's birthday, don't remember which ones it was, but my parents always bought all three of us a new dress so that we don't feel left out. For all our major shopping needs we would go to Trichy town from our BHEL township as the township did not have a great variety of stores and they were sometimes expensive especially for clothes. So mom, dad, my brothers, and I boarded a DCTC (Dheeran Chinnamalai Transport Corp. Why do I remember this dude? Weird I guess!!!!) bus to Main Guard gate and shopped there. We always clubbed a visit to the market to get veggies on all our trips to town and also a Tutti Fruti at Summer House near Teppakulam.

So the thirteen plus kilometer journey started with both me and my elder brother feeling nausea and lying down on my mom's lap. On reaching town we got off and walked long before we started our clothes shopping. Both the brothers got shirt and trousers in a jiffy and finally it was my turn. I should have been anywhere between 8 or 10 and had no sense of shopping or idea of seller-smartness.

The guy threw on the counter two identical two piece dress (blouse and skirt). One had a pocket in the skirt and the other did not have it. My mom innocently asked him what the price were. He said one of was Rs. 300 and the other was Rs. 400. My mom was now mad and she asked him why the other was Rs. 100 more. To which he quickly replied that it was a "Disco Skirt" and so it was expensive and it was in "pashion" (fashion).

All my little ears heard was "Disco Skirt." Now who would not want a disco skirt? Seriously, would you want to be telling your friends that you have a disco skirt or would you want to tell them that you have an ordinary one? So I told my mom that I want the disco skirt. She looked at me sternly and said no, you are getting the other one and it was better than the disco skirt.

I screamed and said I wanted the disco skirt. My mom squeezed my hand and said I will get the other one. Now I was mad and I started screaming, crying, and also asked my mom why she was squeezing my hand. Then the dirty shop keeper took advantage of the situation and told my mom, "get your daughter the disco skirt." My mom was furious at my behavior and my dad intervened on time to put an end to the drama and bought me the "Disco Skirt." Now I thought everything was least I was happy...until we left the store and started walking towards the market.

Dad silently walked ahead with my brothers while my mom gave me the scolding of my life which I remember till date and never argue with her while she is bargaining. My mom explained to me how she would have bargained with the shop-keeper and gotten me the Disco Skirt for Rs. 300 itself but for my stupidity we had to pay the full price!!!

At that age I thought I was right but looking back today I would do the same thing to my daughter. My wisdom comes from experience and from my mom who scolded me but not with bad words but with her extensive shopping knowledge and I thank her for that. This does not mean that I never did any foolish thing again and embarrass my parents...of course I did and I will write them down too in due time!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jillendru Oru Kadhal (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Surya, Jyothika, Bhoomika Chawla
Director: Krishna
Music: AR Rehman

My husband and some friends went to watch Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna in the theater's this week but when I saw that they were also screening Jillendru... I changed my mind and went alone to watch this film. Since my husband does not understand or appreciate Tamil movies much I usually land up watching most of them alone... Almost 60 movies in close to 9 months...Not bad right? So I will give you the review of JOK and then continue to talk briefly of the 40 mins of KANK I saw...

Gautham (Surya) and Kundavi (J0) go through the many year old tradition of arranged marriage and move to Bombay. Initially both of them do not seem happy but when the frame changes and they are six years into their wedding they are a small happy family with a little daughter Aishwarya. As busy as they are being working parents, they also spend a good lot of time together being a family. In short they are a model happy nuclear family living in a big city.

Gautham gets a chance to go to USA for a presentation. Everyone is happy and all of Kundavi's family comes from the village to send him off. While doing some work around the house for Aishwarya Kundavi chances upon Gautham's old diary and she sits down to read a past that she had never known in the last six years.

The diary is written by Gautham who tells about a marriage to a girl named Aishwarya (Bhoomika) whom he had loved a lot but right after their marriage Aishwarya's father separates them. It was also written in the diary how Gautham would have been happy had he at least spent a day with Aishwarya...

Kundavi is very unhappy but does not show it out to Gautham explicitly. She spends time to find out the whereabouts of Aishwarya and then one day when Gautham opens the door it is Aishwarya standing...He is shocked and confused and watches silently as Kundavi leaves the house with their daughter telling him that he can have his one day with his first wife...

What happens next is pretty predictable, if anything happened otherwise then the public will either be confused or not accept it...This is a simple story. What I did not like is the little girl of Gautham and Kundavi who talks beyond her age...At most she would be five and five year old kids should not talk so much. The movie is directed like a Malayalam movie. Very simple and very few add on matters...And what is sad is that the songs are not very catchy and so irritated me and kept me looking for the "forward" button in the theater...

So when I walked out of the theater I felt that it was a decent movie that one can certainly watch with kids and entire family...Simple story and decent direction and screenplay compared to movies like Aran...Also sorry Gautham Menon, your assistant seemed to have learnt a thing or two from you unlike you who seems to have lost it! I could not believe the music is ARR's...maybe I should listen to them a few more times before I like them...

Now that my movie was over I had to wait for my husband's to get over...So I joined him and his friends in the theater screening KANK...another 40 mins was remaining...the final scenes where all 's well that ends well part was coming on...and by god I swear that it was the most boring ending. I started reflecting on JOK and I realized that that movie was way better than KANK and the director knew how to handle the climax without too much drama. I wish Hindi movie directors soon realize that making a movie with all super stars does not essentially mean that the movie has any masala! Also the 40 minutes I saw was enough to give me an idea of what the whole story might have been felt like a MEGA SERIAL! Please watch KANK only if you have absolutely nothing to do or you have 3.25 hours to while away...Else just watch Jillendru Oru is Cool ma!

Nuvve Nuvve (2003) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Tarun, Shriya Saran, Prakash Rai
Director: Trivikram Srinivas
Music: Koti

It is most common story one would have ever seen...Middle class hero, a very rich heroine, a doting father who opposes their love. Nothing new and the movie is not even refreshing. The music is a rehash of many popular English songs and Tarun is just not fresh any more. Shriya is beautiful and can surely act but she needs to get to be more lively and less somber. If you are looking for a mindless run-of-the mill story then this is one of them...

Hero Tarun is a loafer who attends college and takes advantage of his parents and spends their money. While Prakash Rai a self made millionaire dotes on his daughter and makes sure all her wishes comes true even at the cost of belittling his own son. Shriya goes to the same college of Tarun and eventually they both fall in love.

On hearing about this Prakash Rai tries to curb their love in many ways for which Tarun puts up a fight valiantly until Prakash Rai obviously gives up in the end...

Like I is a very simple, rehashed, formula-based, Telugu not expect anything new or any sudden twists either...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Aran (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 1.5/5

Cast: Mohan Lal, Jeeva
Director: Major Ravi

I liked Jeeva in Ram. I really felt that he had matured as an actor...But choosing to do a movie like Aran just did not work in his favor. I cannot imagine Mohan Lal agreeing to do a film that is so poorly written, directed, dubbed, acted, scripted, etc...It is probably one of the worst movies I have seen. The director was surely trying to bank on the fact that he was in the Kargil War and on the over exposed Indo-Pak hatred. Sorry nothing worked in your favor Major Ravi.

The story is about Major Mahadevan (Mohan Lal) and Hawaldar Ravi (Jeeva) fighting against terrorist activities in Kashmir. We know who the villain is, we know that Ravi is dead, and we also know that India is going to come out shining at the very beginning of the movie. The story is simple, a terrorist cell in Pakistan that has infiltrated into India is going to bomb the Hazratbal mosque. The major gets a tip off and he along with his strong commando's go and stop the operation.

I am not going to elaborate any more...But here is a list of things I did not like in the movie:
1) There is no continuity between scenes.
2) Poorly written dialogues. Cliched and corny.
3) Badly written English dialogues and bad pronunciations.
4) The person who dubbed for the villain calling "jihad" as "jigad" is very annoying.
5) The gang rape scene which is shown very crudely could have been avoided. People get the picture if you just show a sketchy idea of rape...
6) Fight scenes are not even entertaining.
7) Romance between Jeeva and Gopika is boring.
8) Director should have taken some lessons before trying his hand out!

On the whole...I just would not waste time on this movie because even the music is not memorable!

Vettaiyadu Vilayadu (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Kamal Hassan, Jyothika, Kamilini Mukherjee, Daniel Balaji, Prakash Raj, etc.
Director: Gautham Menon
Music: Harris Jeyaraj

Major expectations, a Gautham Menon movie featuring Kamal Hassan...That is an awesome combination. But this movie did not keep up to it...I was being reminded of Khaka Khaka (KK) at every nook and corner of this movie. There were literally no twists, climax so predictable, and so was the story. Surya should be proud, everything Kamal tried to do reminded me of Surya in KK. I somehow feel that he fitted the bill of a Cop better than Kamal did in VV.

Kamal rushes to the side of Prakash Raj whose daughter was kidnapped and her finger was severed and tied on a rope on his doorstep. Kamal who used to report to Prakash Raj helps uncover the body of his daughter and promises that he will find the culprit/culprits. Prakash Raj and his wife who leave India to US to stay with a relative to forget their loss are also murdered. Kamal is asked to go and do the final rites for Prakash and his wife and also help the American police in the investigation. So Kamal boards his flight to the US of A.

On his way to NY Kamal thinks about his wife Kamalinee Mukherjee who was no more...Very predictable part and felt like watching KK ending. Kamalinee appears exactly for two minutes in the whole movie...Now that Kamal is in NY and has checked into Renaissance he meets his next door neighbor, Jo, also a Tamilian (of course) trying to commit suicide over a failed marriage. Now you know where this story is going...

Kamal meets up with NYPD and officer Anderson drives him around until Kamal solves the crime and narrows it down to two medical college students in NY from Tamilnadu. They were the two students who would have been beaten by Prakash Raj for eveteasing his daughter. They are psychopath killers on loose. Kamal is beaten up when these kids escape from right under his nose and also from Indian Police when they re-enter India.

Kamal comes back to Chennai, and so does Jo. They are now in love and the villains get to know about this...How else can this movie proceed? If you have already seen KK...Then this mystery must be a piece of cake to solve....

Why I did not like this movie:
1) Kamal overacting.
2) Feels like watching KK all over again with a semi-new cast.
3) I don't know they had to include Kamalinee Mukherjee in the script at all. Was it to show that Kamal was an avengeful cop? Or was it to show that he was bitter against gundas because of what had happened to his wife? Why? Waste of a song and take a ten minute detour in the movie.
4) Why are villains always stupid to confess to a cop? And how come they are always sure the cop will die and not check on him if he is dead or not?
5) How come the American cop is running around to Kamal's orders? Does he not have enough stuff to worry about considering the fact that he works with NYPD?
6) Kamal and his smart ass dialogues, "Gut feeling = Raghavan instinct."
7) Why and why and for the millionth time why can't a director make a movie that has minimal shades of his past successful movie?
8) Why does Kamal talk in a guttural voice? Very annoying.
9) Why does Kamal always include at least one scene in his movie where he speaks Madras Baashai? We all know he can do it...there is no need to do repeat it.
10) The first stunt/fight scene Kamal has with some no-name villain was a waste of gut feeling is that Kamal forced the director to include it to present a macho image.

In simple words I think KK was a far more better fare than VV and Gautham has to really do something better than that and not similar to that to make me like his movies in the future...Do not watch this movie with children as it has graphic images...

About music...Harris Jeyaraj is brilliant...But why does VV songs give you the feel of "engayo ketta maadhiri irukku?" and also I like B. Jayashree's voice...But singing the same type of songs is just getting a little too tiring for me...

See the movie as most people who have reviewed it elsewhere on the net seem to have liked it but if you are anything like me then I am sure you would not enjoy it too...I hate too much on screen violence and graphic images! They don't give me a very good after taste of the film.

Kalyug (2005) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Kunal Khemu, Amrita Singh, Emraan Hashmi, Deepal Shah, Smilie, Ashutosh Rana
Director: Mohit Suri
Music: Annu Mallik

I just got to see this movie. Maybe because there are so many crappy movies being released I actually liked this movie. Would not recommend it for children and certainly not a family watch but a good movie nevertheless with great music too...

It is about Kunal (Kunal Khemu) a refugee in his own country moves from Kashmir to Mumbai as a kid with his father, a social worker. He sees struggle and violence all his life and one day hears the news that his father has passed away. An orphan now, he leads a quiet life until Smilie comes into his life. A girl from Kashmir whom his father had been supporting comes to Mumbai in search of a job. Kunal and Smilie fall in love with each other and soon get married.

One of their friends gifts them a few nights stay in a hotel for their honey moon. The young and unsuspecting couple take up the gift and drive down to this hotel where they are met with Ashutosh Rana (with an evil wicked smile) offers the couple a special honey moon suite. Still not sure what is happening the couple spend their time there and return home. Things are back to normal until one night when the cops come in and arrest both the husband and wife and keep them under lock up over night.

The next morning they come to hear that their lovemaking was caught on tape and now everywhere on the internet in a popular desi porn site. Both of them are beaten to confess the crime. Smilie confused if her husband framed her commits suicide. Kunal comes out on bail and then starts tracking the ring behind the death of his wife and the one behind putting them all over the internet.

He gets on to a fast lead on the whereabouts of Ashutosh Rana but realizes that he needs to travel to Europe to get to the heart of the issue. He does so and meets Emraan Hashmi, a local, who is working in a sex toy store and employs his services to help him out in finding people. This sort of a thing is not easy and of course Kunal goes through a lot of Hardship and does he close the porn shop? This forms the rest of the story.

Kunal Khemu, is a good actor, shows anger and his good physique in most of the movie. Smilie, plays dumb, Ashutosh Rana is scary and he really scares the crap out of me everytime I see him, even if he is doing a decent role. The music is really good, I love the Atif Aslam Sound track and the "Jiya dhadak dhadak..." number too...

Good movie, not for kids and will most certainly give you a sad feeling after the movie ends...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) - Hindi Movies

Ranking: 4.8/5

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Bomman Irani, Vidya Balan
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Music: Shantanu Moitra

Munnabhai has a new adventure this time around. A new girl to woo and a new don to tackle. Although the cast is pretty much the same but for Vidya Balan replacing Gracie Singh from Part I, the story has no relationship to Munnabhai MBBS! It is much more hilarious, original, and extremely entertaining with catchy music!

Jhanvi (Vidya Balan) hosts a radio show in Bombay and Prof. Murali Prasad Sharma aka Munnabhai is her biggest fan who never misses a single episode. He has not seen her yet but has fallen in love with her. Munna prepares very hard with the help of Circuit (Arshad Warsi) to win a quiz on Gandhi hosted by the radio station so he can meet her in flesh and blood. Munna of course wins it and now he is sitting in front of his dream girl who not only has a pretty voice but is also very beautiful. Tongue tied Munna tells her that he is a professor and specializes in Gandhian study! Jhanvi impressed with Munnabhai invites him home so that he can chat with her extended family about his extensive knowledge on Gandhian principles and Munna promptly agrees.

Not to sound ignorant Munna goes to the Gandhi library and starts reading about Bapu with no food or water and eventually Bapu appears in front of him. This just opens up the story for some fine hilarious moments between Munna/Circuit/and Bapu. Also the BGM for Bapu is real cool, "Bandhe me tha dhum, bandey mataram..." So now Munna has pataofied his girl with a lie and every time he tries to tell her the truth something comes up.

On the other hand Lucky Singh (Bomman), a developer wants to get his daughter married to the son of another rich developer in town who believes in astrology for everything he does. This developer's astrologer tells him that he needs to own a certain piece of land in Mumbai for prosperity. But he is unable to get his hands on it and Bomman promises to get him the same in dowry. He hires Munna and Circuit to get the tenants vacated from the house. But upon realizing that the house belongs to Jhanvi, Lucky manipulates Munna and sends him with Jhanvi and her extended adopted family for a vacation to Goa full fare paid.

Only after returning does Munna realize that Lucky had used him and had Circuit empty the house while Munna was having fun in Goa. Munna strikes back...But this time with Gandhian principles of ahimsa. On realizing who Munna really is Jhanvi leaves him and Munna is grief stricken but does not slack on his determination to get Jhanvi her house back...Does Munna get the house back? Does he win Jhanvi's heart back? Are there more funny moments and surprises waiting around the corner?

Can't tell you...gotta watch the movie for that eh? It is a family movie, fun, and fultu time pass! Circuit has a lot more coverage in this movie and to be honest and fair Munnabhai cannot exist without Circuit...They are fun together! I wonder why Circuit is still single and has never had any love interest yet! These guys make even sentimental scenes funny! Kudos to the director and the entire team for making a wholesome entertainer!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I love Indian Railways!!!

Seriously What a random title? But then when you realize how much Indian Railways has affected my life you will understand it too...

My first memories of a train: Me standing with my parents at Trichy Junction waiting for the train to come into the platform. I was restless and I am sure I was irritating my parents as well by running close to the edge of the platform and putting my head out to see if the train was coming. I was excited that I was going to Chennai for the summer vacation...

The early 80's were still the days of the chu-chu train or the steam engine...Diesel engine would come into the picture of the rural southern town of Trichy in a couple of years...So as I was peering my head out...A loud "baaaaaammmmmmmm" sound came from afar...scared the crap out of me and it saw me running back to my mom...I was in near tears and holding on to dear life...As the train pulled into the station it gave out another loud "baaaaaaaammmmm" and that was it...I hated the engine for me it seemed pompous and loud...the way it chugged itself into the station with a black cloud of smoke rising above its seemed indomitable and arrogant and haughty...Well it deserved to be I guess...afterall they take people and goods from one place to another and without them India would stop functioning...

Diesel Engine: My brother's were going to Chennai to play some Tennis tournament. I could not go this time and they were going alone for the first time. Vaigai had recently started running between Chennai and Trichy and it was the fastest train in the south those days (pre-Shatabdhi Days). It covered the distance in close to eight hours and was on-time most of the time...I was excited and went with my parents to drop my brother's off at the station. I was also happy to see different kind of seating for the first time...previously they were always sleeper bunks...but now they were seats...for day travel only...I was unhappy that I could not go with them but nevertheless jumped up and down to my hearts content...and pulled everything I possibly could without being fined.

My brother's came back from chennai and told me that the train made almost no sound...and no soot flew into our eyes if we peered out of the window or brother's and I used to try and look at the engine from our window in the train as the train negotiated a curve...and most of the time land with black particles in our eyes from the bruning coal of the steam enginer...but Diesel almost eliminated that...I was very eager to travel in Vaigai and when my turn came I was excited...

First time to see compartments connected, food sold inside the train, a cafeteria inside the train, a library inside the train (they even had Tintin and Asterix)...this was my favorite and my mom allowed my brother and I to stand near the door too...WOW! I loved trains then and I love trains today...There are no more libraries inside the train...thanks to people who started stealing books...but trains still connect every nook and corner of India. Buses are cool...but trains are another league altogether...the beautiful village scenes, hills, rivers, mountains, and valleys they cover and the perfect view they provide us with all still remain fresh in my mind...and with every passing village my mind wondered what was happening behind the placid scenic village that just passed by...

I liked it when Vaigai used to rush past stations where people waiting would look like ants in seconds. The train had the haughty look as if telling everyone that it ain't gonna demean itself by stopping at such a small station...I always loved the feeling of the train nearing a big station like Villupuram or Virudhachalam or nearing its final destination, a myriad of tracks appear out of nowhere and somehow the train always knew which one to take to go to the correct platform. The train's slow and caution speed informs us that the fun ride is almost over...Sad!

I can remember running besides a train waving at people inside and also remember kids waving at the train as we rushed through suburbs and villages. Even today I close my eyes and hear the sound of the car driving over the expansion joints and try to feel like I am back home travelling in Vaigai for the first time...Gone are those innocent days when my brothers and I used to fight for window seat and upper berth...Gone are those days when we used to eat curd rice after the the train took off from Trichy Junction before falling asleep. Gone are those days when I used to read a book with the little book lamp. Gone are the days when I used to throw coins when the train corssed Cauveri or Godaveri, but with me I carry a memory so fond that I owe Indian Railways a lot for making travelling fun during my childhood and grown up age too...and for literally shaping my future...for these same trains took me to college and back for almost 3.5 years...I miss eating at the VLR (Vegetarian light refreshment stalls) at Tambaram during the evenings and eating the hot kadalai (ground nuts) that were sold in the Electric Trains...Trains oh wonderful Trains...I miss you more than anything!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ganapathy Bappa, Masum and the Indian Ocean

I was soooper busy this last weekend. We did soooooooo many things. Here is a quick list...Saturday, we lazed around a little bit before we joined our friends to go watch the Texas Rangers game against Oakland at the Arlington Ball Park. We (Rangers) sucked and it was pretty darn humid so we left after the sixth innings and went to another friend's house where we spent sometime chatting before we headed home at 1.00am.

For Sunday we had way too many things lined up...first was of course our darling Vinayaka chathurthi had to be celebrated...I made modakam and cauliflower fry, a friend made cabbage fry and dal, and Girish made sundal (channa dal)...Friends came over and we prayed and had lunch and lazed around till it was time to head out to Arlington once again and this time it was going to be fun!!!

Why fun? Ok I have a dear friend who is also my rakhi brother called Sameer and another dear friend called Mudassar and together they have started a band called Masum and have composed and written their own music. It is really beautiful. If you guys get a chance visit their website. So anyway back to the point...Well Masum was going to open for the Indian Ocean, a band known for their fusion music and interesting themes. They are not your usual cup of tea...but they are brilliant.

So our whole gang got there on time (for once). Moni had reserved seats for us and we got the best location in the auditorium. Pavel (the lead guitarist in Masum and also one of the main band members) climbed down the steps from among the audience to start the show and the rest of the band joined in with their most favorite single "Tumhari Yadein" (a clip of which is on their website), and cpontinued with two more original composition (including "ek Suraj naya") and a cover for Strings hit OST for Zinda, "yeh hai meri kahani." The crowd went crazy and these guys were perfect. Everything was great and all of us were beaming with pride...after all they were like an extended family to us. I pray that these guys make it big as they are really talented and they simply deserve the best...

Alright, then the main show was going to start, Indian Ocean, I had heard their song "Ma Rewa" once and was not completely sure I liked their genre of music...but was going to sit for one song before I headed home. I was pretty sure that I was going to get bored and would leave before the end of the show. I had honestly and truly gone only for the sake of Masum! But...Indian Ocean stopped me. Their music was brilliant, energetic, and superb. We all stayed back, all of us who were making noise about heading back home and playing cranium waited till the end of the show. You should listen to their songs, it is different, it is beautiful, soothing, interesting, and has a story behind each and every composition, a story that will really interest you...

Their show was over and as usual we all bought CD's and stayed back to get it autographed and then of course get photographed with the lead band members, Rahul Ram, Asheem Chakravarthy, Sushmit Sen, and Amit Kilam. We got so many photos with them and they were so kind and obliging.

Happy we all left the auditorium and drove over to the nearest IHOP for a very late dinner at 11.00pm and guess who joined us there??? Yup The Indian Ocean! So after dinner we got to hang out and chat with them. Amit Kilam even immitated Himesh (hillarious) and sang Kandisa like Kumar Sanu might...It was fun. We hung out and had a fun time. What was amazing was the fact that these guys were not really our age (except for maybe Amit) but their sense of humor and attitude jelled well with us, it felt like we were old friends hanging out...I mean they did not have any celebrity attitude and hence we did not have any inhibitions. We are happy that we went for their show...If they ever play in a city near you...Please go, you will not regret it.

And before I sign off here are some photos!!! Not very Great Pics...but you get the point!!!

Masum on Stage unplugged!

Sameer and Mudassar before starting Zinda

Indian Ocean Live in University of Texas at Arlington

Us with the Indian Ocean after the show

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Uyir (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Srikanth, Sangeetha, Samvritha
Director: Samy
Music: Joshua Sridhar

Have you seen Aasai? Remember that Ajith (young and handsome) and Suvalakshmi movie that introduced Prakash Raj as an amazing villain? With beautiful music (lifted of course) by Deva? Remember all that? Then do not waste time watching this movie...Because this is nothing but an x-ray image of Aasai...

Sundar moves in with his brother's family that comprises of his brother, sister-in-law Arundathi (Sangeetha) and their little daughter. Sundar is very close to all three of them. Although Sundar reveres Arundathi a lot, Arundathi lusts for Sundar who is unaware of it.

Sundar drops his niece at school everyday and he meets his girlfriend Anandi (Samvritha) there. When his brother gets to know about their relationship he is very excited about the same. But his brother commits suicide soon afterward due to some problems at work. Now Sundar is tied to taking care of his brother's family as Arundathi and her daughter have nowhere to go.

Arundathi keeps Anandi at bay by doing everything possible from her side. She tries her best to break Sundar's relationship with Anandi while subtly hinting to Sundar about her love for him. Anandi warns Sundar about his conniving Sister-in-Law but nothing comes out of it.

What happens to Sundar and Anandi? Does Arundathi succeed in foiling their love? All the questions form the rest of the story.

I like Srikanth. I think he is a bundle of talent and energy although he does not get good roles to play. All the movies he has chosen in the last year have been just passable. This one is no exception. I sometimes wish he would not jump around too much...

Samvritha...She is not heroine material. All you can notice is that she is not pretty and has a huge squint! Which does not add to screen presence at all. She should seriously consider applying for other jobs.

Sangeetha...She made a point about her acting in Pithamagan...She is good. But some of the expressions she makes in the movie look funny...She needs to check on a mirror before getting them on the role. Also she needs to loose weight else she will be shelved for roles like anni or akka only.

On the whole the movie is watchable but Aasai was way more gripping and believable than this movie. Lot of things Arudathi tries to do are plain stupid. I am sure a smart person can come up with real workable ideas to break up a couple...But watch it once when you have run out of all your "fun" options!