Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman Returns (2006) - English Movie Review

I am not going to rank this movie, write the story or any of the conventional methods I have followed for other movies because this one is special - It is SUPERMAN!

The hero of all heroes, the man of steel, with a heart of gold, good looking and a great Krypton being, men want to be him and women would love to have him...In other words a fantasy icon of all realized through the media called cinema.

We went to the theater almost an hour before the show and we still got to sit at the second row only. It was sad but we were still excited that it was IMAX with 20 minutes of the movie in 3D! yay! And one thing is for sure that many of us will return to watch the movie in a decent seat next time. But inspite of the neck craning and moving head from corner to corner of the screen the movie was worth it. I still wonder if the 3D effects would have been better had we been slightly higher up.

It is kiddish, very similar to a Rajni or Vijaykanth movie...Hero protects all, is there at the nick of the moment, hears everyone's cry for help, loves his girlfriend immensely and better still CAN FLY...What more do you want other than to see a handsome hunk in blue and red fly over the skyline of Metropolis and into the universe...When he zooms close to you all you can think of is how handsome Brandon Routh really is...Clean shaven, blue eyes, perfect skin, tight clothes...Oops now I am making him sound gay (not that there is anything wrong with it) and that was not my intention...

The heroine, Lois Lane, of course was okay...But surely the two did have some good chemistry in the movie. I loved James Marsden in Notebook and only liked him better in this movie. In fact Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar go to White Castle) also makes appearance as one of Lux Luthor (Kevin Spacey's) sidekicks who has no dialogues...And need I say anything about Mr. Spacey's acting talents...

The movie is a fantastic watch...For a few moments it transports you to another world...And makes you really hope that there is Superman waiting outside the theater...It was very touching when a little kid sitting behind us screamed "Yay, Superman!" when he appeared on the screen...It made us realize that we were also clapping and cheering just like the kid but trying to act slightly matured!!! If this was a Desi theater then I would have made my friends whistle (because I don't know how to) and scream! I loved the movie...

Everyone did make comparisons of Brandon to Chris Reeve...It was omnipresent and to an extent spooky but only difference is that Brandon I assume has real muscles and no padding. But both of them aroused the same excitement among the viewers. Watch Superman and feel like a kid all over again!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paarijatham (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Prithviraj, Saranya, Seetha, Prakash Rai, Roja, Sarath Babu
Director: Bagyaraj
Music: Tharan


One Line Review: Worth watching it!


Fresh 80's touch. That does sound contradictory, but for a film industry which does has forgotten the beautiful language of film making this movie is fresh and yes it has the feel of the movies that were made in the 80's and early 90's. The cast could have been Suhasini and Mohan for all you cared...

Again a very simple story. Seetha moves to a big house across from the small house where Sarath Babu and his daughter Saranya lived. Saranya becomes Seetha's housekeeper while she waits for her husband and son to join her. During the brief period Seetha starts to like Saranya a lot and slowly develops the idea of marrying her son to Saranya.

Saranya narrates a story she was writing to get published to Seetha. It the story about how two people fall in love in the process of an arranged marriage but are unable to unite to the end...Seetha imagines this story in her mind with he images of Prithiviraj (Seetha's and Prakash Rai's son) and Saranya as the bride and groom of the story. Thus Seetha is now convinced that she was going to have Saranya marry her son and also tells her family about her decision. Although she does not give name or photo to her husband or son.

Seetha ofcourse dies in an unfortunate accident and her family is trying to locate the girl she had chosen for her son. A lot of people mislead them leading both father and son not to trust anyone. Finally Prakash Rai decides to marry his son to a friend's daughter and lie that she was the chosen girl...

Enter Bagyaraj...Confusion mounts and the rest of the movie discusses about the effort Bagyaraj puts into unite Saranya and Prithviraj.

The story is a simple but beautiful. The director should have cut short the last 30 minutes of the movie. It was crisp for three quarters of the movie...But still it was a welcome change from the violence and gore of the present day hits like Pattiyal and Pudupettai.

Saranya has performed really well for a debut. She is very natural and does not do any extra annoying histrionics. Her father has chosen a nice story for introducing his daughter...Albeit she might have to shed some baby fat. Prithviraj was handsome as a villain in the movie Kana Kanden...Clean shaven and well dressed. Somehow in this movie he comes across as being very sloppy with an unshaven face and bad dressing. He also does a little overaction in the part where he is a character in Saranya's story. Age and time have taken a toll on Bagyaraj...He looks old and his voice is all the more irritating. I guess he should stick to writing and directing henceforth.

On the whole the movie is worth watching with the whole family including grandparents. A healthy entertainer and is very fresh! So do watch it if you do not mind watching a slightly slow paced movie with loads of romance, emotions and sentiments!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Style (2006) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Raghava Lawrence, Prabhu Deva, Charmee, Raja, Kamilini Mukherjee
Director: Raghava Lawrence
Music: Mani Sharma

The story is simple...Prabhu Deva is a dancer who wins a very big competition. He gives strong competition to the brother of a big villain. The villain initiates an accident and Prabhu looses his legs. Prabhu has a sister, Kamilini who takes care of him.

In the meantime Lawrence is a dancer who works in a dance school as cleaner with his friends. He is very skilled but cannot afford formal dance education. His icon is Prabhu Deva and models his dancing in the same style.

Charmee and Raja are students in the same school where Lawrence works. This is really a useless and side story. Charmee and Raja are in love with each other but do not tell it out explicitly...So Charmee uses Lawrence as a bait to make Raja jealous. The ploy works and Raja proposes to Charmee. But poor Lawrence unaware of Charmee's plot falls in love with her and is heartbroken.

In the meantime using Kamilini's idea Prabhu trains Lawrence to fight against the villain's brother in the dance competition. Lawrence trains hard and also gets people to sponsor him. Seeing him dance makes his competitor unsure of himself so he complains to his villain brother again who promptly kidnaps them.

The dance competition is on its way but these dancers are in the custody of the villain...So yes...Our very own Nagarjuna comes in to help them out. How? I don't know...These bloodied dancers make their appearance at the very last minute and make it to the finals. They win the competition and of course Chiru comes to give away their awards and talks highly about them...Yup that is the story...

Wonder why our directors cannot get more creative than this? The acting is okay, story is boring, dance moves are repetitive, I really do not know why people invest and waste time and money on such crappy stories.

It is okay to watch if you have nothing better to do and it is certainly good for watching it with family.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Strings - Concert at Irving Center for Performing Arts

I love going to concerts but unfortunately the last one I went for was in Chennai (Junoon in 2000). If y'all remember Junoon was the band that had a popular hit from the song Sayoni and hailed from Pakisthan...So do Strings...A very popular Pakisthani band but I did not realize their popularity until I saw the Paki guys go crazy about them.

So anyhoo, the concert was scheduled to start at 8.00pm and did so promptly at 9.20pm...What were we expecting being there on time for a desi event? Seriously! I have been to three such shows so far and none have started on time. Very annoying and irritating especially since we were made to stand outside till about 9.00pm, almost an hour before we were allowed to enter the hall.

The show started with a very amateur fashion show, of course with some wardrobe malfunction which gave everyone something to laugh about. Unfortunately for the models they got booed out by the angry audience. Later a teenage smartass girl tried to fill in before Strings showed up and she just irritated the already irate audience all the more and got booed out of the stage too. Finally they came in around 9.20pm...just the guitarits (Shakir on bass and Aadil on lead) and the drummer and started the show. They were followed by the entry of Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia and the show was on for real now!

Faisal got the show going from the start. He had very memorable introductions to all their songs and also sang amazingly well. Faisal did all the talking and Bilal stuck to playing guitar and singing. Faisal has amazing stage presence and got the crowd into the mood of a rock show. A lot of them were on the feet and dancing in front of the stage. Somehow for a few seconds I felt that Pakisthani's know how to enjoy more than Indians, because both the Desi shows I have been to had Desi's all staying put...

Anyway, so Faisal asks how many of you are Indians and then how many of you are Pakis...From all the noise he could hear he understood that there were few Indians in the auditorium. Since we were located about eight rows away from the stage and in his line of vision he picked our seats to point out when he said, "These songs are dedicated to the Indians in the auditorium." He sang wonderful songs from Dil Chahtha Hai to yeh dosthi hum nahin...It was a medley for about five minutes and it was really fun and yes we did feel very special.

During the aforementioned medley he also tried to do some Indo-Pak integration...He sang the song Jaanu Meri Jaan...and made all the Pakis say, "Mein tera tu mera jaane saara Hindusthan," and the Indians say, "Mein tera tu mera jaane saara Pakisthan." Also he followed it by the Yeh dosthi song...Which was great. For a moment it felt like the lines between India and Pakisthan ceased to exist...(Pardon any mistakes in my lyrics for the abovementioned song).

And then it was back, bolder than ever when a Pakisthani dude started waving the Paki flag and Strings sang a couple of solely Paki favorite songs...I did not mind that...it felt wierd and suddenly out of place, but I am sure Indians would have done the same given a chance. So I did not feel that terrible as an afterthought.

On the whole the concert was energetic, the songs were great, and Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood were amazing on stage. We had fun, our throats were sore after the show which means we enjoyed the show...

After the show we got to meet The Strings backstage and took photographs and autographs from them. It was awesome and they were very humble and nice. I am going to attach a few of them to this blog if blogger allows me to do so...

One last confession...All my Strings knowledge was brought to me by my dearest friend Sameer who is a singer himself and is inspired by Strings like crazy. Everytime we have a chill out night, we sit in The Den and Sammy sings many wonderful songs among which Strings features very often. Until Saturday night I have never heard a Strings song sung by Strings themselves...Isn't that funny?



You can see my head turned around and Bilal's face but Faisal is hidden by my friend







Faisal with water bottle in his hand and Bilal with the guitar












You can see Bilal to the extreme right but Bilal is hidden by my friend's face above me.
Weekend Plans

We have a small group of friends in Dallas and we always seem to keep our weekends extremely busy and this weekend was no exception. It started on Friday evening when me and a friend met up at a mall, did some shopping and then went to meet with two other friends, got ready and headed to Clay Pit where we had dinner and then danced away to Desi songs till about 2.30 in the morning. Yes, we were all exhausted but what kept us going was this dude on the dance floor who danced all alone with full enthu and seemed happy doing so...So two of my friends kept immitating this dude's dance steps and we were laughing our guts out!

Next day, me and a friend who has a love for exploring decided to go to Downtown Dallas. Later, we managed to convince three others to join us. We went to the Kennedy museum, got a little sad, and then walked the downtown as usual looking for a mom-pop cofee shop...everything was closed other than restaurants...so we had coke and icecream at a small store and drove back to get ready for the Strings concert...about which you will read in a separate blog...

When we went to sleep after the concert and dinner at IHOP it was 2.30 in the morning again. All the screaming and yelling made all of us sore and tired...We slept till 2.00pm the next noon...When I woke up I was hurting everywhere...I think the age does catch up on you...and lazied the whole of yesterday...Saw the bloody Netherlands Vs Portugal game and then cooked food and ate an amazing dinner before heading back home around 11.30...and as usual we saw a stupid drunken driver who was driving on three lanes...annoying...

And when the weekend came to a close we are all looking forward for the week to recuperate our energy...plus we do have the four day weekend coming up and plans are starting to hatch!

Friday, June 23, 2006

This came out early this week in all major Desi internet newslinks...That Mumbai is the Rudest City World. Is that true? I do not know, why would someone say that? Well they did because they did some research. This is fine, research and all that, now what can we say in the scientific world where anything tagged with the word research is accepted. Shoba Warrier, a prominent journalist in India writes that Chennai is the Kindest City. What do we do of this? I don't know. Can someone claim so? Absolutely..Lets me explain what I believe about Cities and then lets discuss...

1) To bitch/moan/hate/love/like/etc any city (even if it is Mexico City or Cancun) you need to live there for sometime and feel the essence of the place, make friends, etc. You cannot make a decision of like or dislike while visiting/touring a place. What tourism portrays is different from living and life in a particular city.

2) You have to accept that one's hometown is probably one's most favorite place on earth. It does not carry just the I-belong-here factor, but it also carries a lot of memories. So stop dissing other people's hometown because you might/are hurting their feeling.

3) Cities are not only made up of places you can hang out at but also of the People itself...The more familiar/friendly faces the more fun a city is.

4) Never make your opinion of a city based on other's stories. Remember stories are always concocted with a lot of adjectives and exaggerations.

5) Bottom line, we are all one country. I know historically we were not one...But now that we are and we are trying to progress as one country...Lets top dissing and start loving every city in our country at least equally.

I am from Chennai and have always heard bad comments about Chennai - hot, no water, people cannot speak Hindi, its boring, etc...But then its my hometown. I love it, I don't care what is wrong with it because I see so many things that are right with it. But that is because I have lived there and experienced life there and trust me it is great too...It was for me, my family, and my friends...

So is there really a rudest City or a kindest city? I do not think so. Every city has its own pulse and if matches it yours, things work out for you need to look for one where your heart beat vibes...Such is life...Stop bitching and start the loving!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Jerry (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Ramesh, Mumtaj, Meera Vasudevan, Shruthi, Balaji, Crazy Mohan
Director: S.P. Kandhan
Music: Ramesh Vinayagam

Some stories are best forgotten as you walk away from the from watching it and this certainly falls into that category. I will write what I barely remember but you do not have to read the review to avoid the movie. Don't waste time watching crappy movies like these.

Ramesh is a college student. He is a very determined person and will win any challenge he takes by hook or crook. So he challenges his friends that he will make three girls fall in love with him and his friends can choose the girls.

The first girl is Meera who is a cop. She is sad and upset that no one wants to marry her as she is a cop. Ramesh does a lot of romantic crap and makes her fall in love with him. Unless Ramesh was a PhD. Student the chances of Meera and him being the same age are slim...and the whole plot is not only corny but extremely cheesy.

Second girl is Mumtaz playing the role of a very popular actress. The whole plot is very annoying and Ramesh's looks very cheap in his acting skills...He has the most vulgar facial expressions and can irritate the crap out of you.

Third girl is Shruthi a goody-two-shoes from his college. She hates Ramesh and Ramesh follows her around to make her fall in love with him during which time he notices that Shruthi is the sweetest person he has met. So he proposes to her inside Foodworld locked in during the night. She is all angry and irritated with him until he burns a big candle over the cake and expresses his love for her. Immediately her demeanor changes and they are in love.

So the finale is with three of them coming to the wedding to marry the same guy...and Ramesh with his friends trying to confuse everyone of them...and towards the end some crappy justification and the stupid movie comes to an end.

Crazy Mohan repeats his usual annoying and redundant dialogues that we have heard before. There is nothing fresh about the story either. It defies logic from start to finish. Very bad casting, acting, music, directing, screenplay. Basically crappy movie. AVOID. I can pick out each and every stupid instance in the movie and dissect it but I want to spare time for you and me...So please do not see such movie and encourage such directors and actors.

Ramesh should be banned from acting in movies...Not only is he ugly but he looks vulgar and makes offensive facial expressions! Golly I must be really frustrated!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

GO MAVS GO!

We love our Mavs...Yes even when they loose...So let me explain how I finally fell in love with the wonderful game of Basketball.

I am from India, a country where people watch every game that is being played around the world. Can they play basketball? American Football? Baseball? Even regular Football? Or do they have the infrastructure? But they care a damn for all that and enjoy the sportiveness of a game...I guess it is the very fact that most Indians choose education and an 8-5 job instead of pursuing their passion that makes them watch and follow sports around the world so intently.

So growing up with two big brothers influenced me to watch every game and also play them...I did not prefer watching a five day test cricket match but was forced to because my brother's were big and they had the remote...Could not fight them. And that is exactly how I started watching NBA...Ever since India got cable TV and Star Sports my brothers started to follow all sorts of games that never made sense to me...Of which basketball was one...

When I moved to USA, I had the choice to learn three new games...Football (can't get it!), Baseball (Cannot like it!), and Basketball (the easiest of the three)...and so I thought I could handle it once in a while.

It was not until I moved to Dallas that I started to follow the MAVS because the Cowboys sucked and Rangers were even worse and MAVS were coming up after Cuban happened to them. I still cribbed when friends changed the channel to watch NBA...and it was not before MAVS lost to Suns last year (2005) that I really started to enjoy the game. It was fast paced, energetic and we had Dirk, Stack, Terry, and a great team...I felt bad we lost to the Suns and Nash and prayed for a revenge in 2006...

And Revenge we got...For the first time MAVS was in the NBA finals against Heats and we had even won the first two games leading 2-0...and then Came playing at Miami and from then on it was downhill. We can blame so many things from refereeing, bad plays, bad calls, and so on. I don't even want to discuss what happened yesterday night but just the fact that everyone of us were disappointed. We were sure of a 4-0 or at the most 4-2 victory but that clearly did not happen for us. We hoped and were crushed but all that is okay...In the end the team that played better won. Yes we are sad, but we will come back next year to kick Heats just the way we did the Suns this year.

The best thing that Basketball did to us is that it gave us more than one opportunity to meet and do fun stuff every day there was a game, even weekdays. We met to do fun stuff like cook, gym, swim, chat, shop, etc and then relax and watch the game. Yes the loss may have left a sour taste in our mouth but we sure will wash it away with the wonderful memories we carry with us.

So Summarizing how I fell in love with the game:
1) My brothers who forced me to enjoy sports (left me with no choice).
2) Cuban
3) Dirk, Terry, Stack
4) Dallas
5) Fun time with friends
6) We believe and we will do it again! And do it right.

Love
Anu

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tamil Actors and Looks

What is the deal with that? It always seems to function in an inverse law. Good looking actors almost always never make it and bad looking actors are idolized. I am trying to rationalize this:

1. People who watch the movies want to relate to the people on-screen and since most Tamil people see themselves in Vijaykanth, Vijay, Sathyaraj, Karan, and so many others.

2. People of Tamil Nadu adjust with everything. They do not complain much...

3. People enjoy seeing ordinary people also make it big and saying power dialogues...Like in most Vijay or Vijaykanth movies you can hear a dialogue that goes like, "poor people like us are silent usually but once provoke we will rise and destroy the rich," and this makes the poor dude feel happy and he goes home content.

Enough of rationalizing...I seriously believe that Tamil movie desperately needs a decent looking hero for a change...Lets analyze this...

Decently good looking heroes like Suresh, Karthik are all old now...Kamal is fat and old, Rajni was never known for his looks and what are we left with? Vijaykanth and Sathyaraj from the 70's and 80's...So that was okay because by now we are used to these faces...If someone tries to convince me that Sarathkumar is good looking I will get so mad and I might do something irrational.

Then happens 90's...Whom do we get? Vijay and Ajith...Well Ajith used to be decent upto Vali after which he became fat and then thin and basically joined the rest of the Ugly hero gang...What about Vijay? Do I need to even explain? He is certainly an upgrade from Vijaykanth but nothing better...

Still okay. Then Surya happened and Vikram re-happened...they are decent but nothing to compare with the likes of Hrithik or Salman...But what about actors like Karan, Ramesh (Jeeva's brother), SibiRaj (Sathyaraj's son), and so on and so forth...In the end it just seems like in the Tamil industry we compete to see who is uglier...

No wonder...Seriously no wonder the north Indians think that the South Indians do not have a great taste...We must do something about this...Again if someone tells me that Abbas is a decent looker...My irrational behavior will get to a peak...

But to the defense of the ugly south Indian actors they can: Act, dance, and sometimes be nice too, few of them are linked with the Mafia, and few of them have their personal lives postered in public, they arrive at the shooting spot on time, very punctual, and can do math (don't know why but had to add it there so I can stereotype South Indians).

Anyways, I hope some rich producer reads this blog and invests in getting some good looking guy who can act. Again that does not mean he should look and act like Salman...That will be sad but he can look like Sallu or Hrithik and act like Vikram...Which I think will be the perfect combination...Just one last touch up will be that this actor should not be too fair or too dark but the perfect shade of brown...Yes...That's what we in the South want...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wedding Crashers (2005) - English Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fischer, Christopher Walkin
Director: David Dobkin

Funny romantic movie. I am going to try and keep the review real short...Two well-to-do dudes crash weddings every year during the wedding season to pick up girls to sleep with. They change names, identities, and profession and have alibi's pre-prepared.

Yes, one of them (Owen) falls in love with Rachel and now wants to marry her. But the usual cliche about her being already engaged makes its presence and now Owen tries hard to pursue her in spite of it. He also makes Vince get through a lot of trouble because of his love for Rachel. Vince who would have slept with Rachel's sister is now being hounded by her because she is turns out to be a sex-maniac.

And of course Rachel's fiance is a bad guy and Owen tries to convince her that she deserves better. But the fiance exposes Owen's and Vince's real deal and they get kicked out of Rachel's summer house where they were her father's (the secretary of State) guests. Rachel gives up on Owen but Vince continues his affair with her sister. Owen is dejected and resorts to drinking and stops talking to his best friend Vince...and of course like all corny cheesy romantic movies this one also ends in a happy note. I particularly did not like the ending.

Watch it with friends, it is funny through most of the movie. Vince is hilarious and so is Owen in parts but the romantic parts of the story give you a sense of deja vu. Worth watching for fun and time pass...
This weekend was fun...We did not do as much as we do on most weekends but we did do few things. Friday night most of our friend's came home. Guys went to play tennis while me and my girlfriend watched a miserable telugu movie (half only). Then all of us went to Denny's and game over for the night.

The next day we had a late start, met a friend for lunch and then the four of us went shopping at Grapevine Mall. Which followed by us meeting friends at The Den (that's what we call one of our friend's house) and the girls split for a girl's night out while the dudes watched movies.

And then on our way back home a little late in the night is when one of the most exciting/scariest thing in my life happened. We had just joined I635E from 35N and were doing about 55mph due the wet and slick roads (rain)...From nowhere this dude came in from behind us doing around 60-70mph...Did something stupid (like brake I guess), took three turns in the middle of the road before us, rubbed against the median creating sparks, and then one more turn before he exited out the exit that came up. All this happened in a few seconds. Had we been ten feet ahead then we would be toast by now. I mean at three instances we saw his headlight glaring at us. He did circles in the middle of a highway!!! Golly...Scared the crap out of me...But I was happy that everyone seemed okay.

Ya! Now I am sick from being food poisoned (since Sunday)...But apart from that Sunday sucked because the Mavs have lost yet again to the Heats giving them a 3-2 lead...Very sad, the game was bad, and I am disappointed like any other true MAV fan should be!

Kokki (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

One line review: Do not waste your time.

Cast: Karan, Sanjana, Seema, Kota Sreenivasa Rao
Director: Prabhu Solomon
Music: Dheena


This dude kokki (Karan) comes to Chennai to get his visa to go and work abroad as a barber. He works temporarily with his uncle Subburaj (Malaysia Vasudevan). Subburaj also does shaving for the local gunda/don- Upili (Kota) and sends Kokki as a replacement when he falls sick.

The gunda is a very superstitious fellow and wants to open his eyes seeing the idol of his god placed outside his window every morning. This unfortunate morning when Kokki comes to shave him he stands between the idol and the gunda. The gunda is infuriated at first and then later looking at things happening to his advantage that day he wants Kokki to become his lucky charm.

Kokki is very stubborn and wants to proceed with his plans of going abroad and takes the bus to return to his village before flying out. But the rowdies do not let him do that and chase him during which he gets into the clutches of the cops who book him in under some false section. The gunda tears Kokki's passport and also gets him beaten up. Kokki manages to escape from the cops after beating them and hides in the ladies hostel in Raji's (Sanjana) room.

Raji decides to help Kokki out who spends a whole day with Raji without any inhibition and eventually they do fall in love. The climax of the story is how Kokki escapes from the clutches of Upili and what happens to all the bad guys.

Also there is a sub plot where the gunda has a sidekick who tells hims what to do and when to do based on astrology and he also has a sad past. The movie has two parallel stories that somehow never connect till the end. One of Kokki and one of this astrologer.

Pathetic movie...What could have been good script is killed by bad direction. The hero is so ugly, fat, and really cannot act for nuts. He is a villager, he has been to jail before, he is poor, etc. cannot make a person act mute. Did Karan think that he was acting the role of Vikram in Pithamagan? Or was he trying to win a national award for his acting? Sad. The story is okay, but all the lead characters are worse than miserable. Good story bad execution.

I must insist here...For being an actor, you need to look your role. But you can look and act your role by looking fit too. You do not need a twenty pound pot belly and a forty pound ass. That is not adding character to the role but simply disgusting. I wish Karan would restrict himself to doing small brother roles or uncle roles henceforth. As for the actress, please get ready to either becoming a sister or to leave.

What are these directors thinking? Seriously. Do not waste time on this film if you have better things to do. Not only is it boring but it is also sad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Achuvinthe Amma (2005) - Malyalam Movie Review

Ranking: 4.5/5

Cast: Meera Jasmine, Urvashi, Sunil
Director: Sathyan Anthikad
Music: Ilayaraja


I have to tell you that I do not watch many Malayalam movies more because I do not find company to watch them with and they are not easily accesible to me...But this time a friend of mine and I decided to let the rest of the gang hang out and we saw this movie and I do not regret it one bit. It is a great movie with a simple story, amazing direction, acting, screenplay, music, etc. It seemed perfect and directors from other languages should learn from Malayalam movies what quality really is! But unfortunately at least for Tamil and Telugu movies movies of such genre will only run in B grade theaters and will not be considered a commercial movie. I wish both the taste of people as well as of the directors will change for the better.

The story: Achu aka Ashwathi (Meera) is Vanaja's (Urvashi) daughter and they both live together with the absence of a male in their life. Achu is a civil engineer and she gets employed in a very good firm close to her house. Vanaja has sustained her family of two working hard as an LIC agent. Achu does not want to question her mom about her father trying not to bother her mother. They are very happy and carry on more like friends than mom and daughter.

Fate makes Achu and Vanaja meet Emanuel John aka Ejo (Sunil), an advocate also running on odd jobs trying to make some money on the side. Vanaja warns Achu about falling in love with Ejo which inevitably happens. Vanaja is very unhappy to hear about this but on Achu's persistence goes with Ejo to meet his parents. Where Ejo introduces them to five tombstones in a grave yard. Ejo explains that his whole family commited mass suicide leaving him to be the only survivor.

Vanaja is very sad but on returning back home tells Ejo that she is not happy about Achu and Ejo marrying. She had always hoped that Achu might marry into a big family but since Ejo was alone she was afraid of who would take care of Achu should something happen to Ejo. Ejo understands this and walks out of Achu's life.

Achu is very unhappy with Vanaja's question and asks her mother who her father is and why she was imposing her whims on her when she has been so understanding of her feelings. Vanaja refuses to explain her stance further and Achu leaves the house and tries to survive staying with friends for a few days. Ejo is very stern at obeying the wishes of Vanaja and refuses to be anything more than a friend to Achu and constantly tries to convince her to go home. Angry, optionless, and homeless now, Achu tries to commit suicide which she survives and she is admitted in a hospital. Ejo brings Vanaja over to visit Achu and Achu refuses to talk to her. On her way out she explains her story to Ejo and leaves...amazing climax...watch the movie.

Like I said at the very beginning of this post...This is a great movie and a must watch. Viewable with family and friends and very enjoyable story.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Iruvar (1999) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Mohan Lal, Prakash Rai, Revathi, Aishwarya Rai, Gouthami, Tabu
Director: Mani Rathnam
Music: A.R. Rehman

One line Review: It is a very average movie and can be very boring and dragging at many instances.

Mohanlal comes from this little village in border city between Kerala and Tamilnadu to Chennai to make it in movies. He gets to play all sorts for small roles and waits patiently for a big break. In the meantime gets married to Ash-1. They are happily married and he gets to play the main protagonist in a movie. But the movie comes to a halt half-way through and Ash-1 also dies. Mohanlal is heart broken.

Mohanlal and Prakash Rai, the dialogue writer for the movie become very good friends. Prakash introduces Mohan to politics headed by Nazar. Mohan and Nazar also become good friends. By now somehow Mohan has gotten another chance in a movie and he is a star. People of T. Nadu stupidly start following Mohanlal and he becomes very popular. The party to which both Mohan and Prakash are affiliated use Mohan's popularity to pull themselves up.

In the meantime Prakash gets married to Revathy to whom he narrates heavy poetry in Tamil. To Revathy they make no sense...So he goes and does the same to Tabu who reciprocates and then he takes her in as a keep. Mohan also marries Gouthami, an actress who is distressed by her uncle who wants to rape her. Then under Gouthami's advice hires Ash-2 to act as a heroine in a movie. Obviously, Mohan starts sleeping with her because she is hot and tries to imitate Ash-1.

So now both Mohan and Prakash have their eyes set on becoming the party leader as Nazar is resigning. But eventually the party is split, one being led by Prakash and the other by Mohan who are now not in talking terms with each other. Prakash wins and leads T.Nadu trying to make it a dream state (does nothing but recites more annoying poetry) then Mohan wins the next elections leaving Prakash very upset...

Eventually the two friends (that's why the movie is called Iruvar) meet at a common friend's wedding and they smile at each other before Mohan grabs his heart in pain...

Yup, the story is supposedly imitating the lives of M. Karunanidhi (Prakash), M.G.R (Mohan), Janaki (Gouthami), Jayalalitha (Ash-2), M.Karunanidhi's first wife (Revathy), M. Karunanidhi's second wife ( Tabu), and M.G.R.'s first wife (Ash-1). The story is slow paced, the camera makes many 360 degree turns and you wonder why the cameraman is trying to give the audience a head grinding experience and the movie is very very very slow...

It is okay to watch if you have nothing better to do...But the movie is full of falsified details trying to make everyone look good in public eyes, we really do not know how much of it is true also, for all I care neither M.Karunanidhi nor M.G.R has done anything great for T.Nadu's sake, so why make them look like almost perfect people? I do not understand unless the idea of the director was to suck up to all politicians...

Can and may be ignored...But if you did watch it, let me know what you think...

Friday, June 09, 2006

So finally I got to upload pictures in the blogger. I am excited and here are some pics from our RockStars show. I am very sad that we never took any pics of ourselves but next time we will do everything the correct way!
Esha Deol
Mallika Sherawat

Zayed Khan


Kareena Kapoor


John Abraham


And you don't any intro to this dude!!! Sallu aka Salman Khan

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Madhu (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 1.5/5

Cast: Ramesh, Priyamani, Jhanvi
Director: Tennarasu
Music: Illayaraja

One line review: Crappy movie, don't watch.

So this dude Madhu (Ramesh) comes from somewhere (god only knows where) to Ooty to do something (again god only knows what). He does not explain anything about his existence. All we know is that he has a father to whom he speaks about two lines every other day over the phone.

Anyway that said, he is introduced in the movie pointing a gun to the head of a prostitute and saying, "for prostitutes like you, there is only three days off every month, but I am giving you an extra day off and that with no loss of pay." To which the prostitute says, "I like your character." And then Madhu turns around and tells ussomthing like, "I look like a villain, but I am not, you will understand when you watch the movie,"....sadly nothing is revealed about why Madhu is a lunatic throughout the movie. The director must have thought that the above concept was kick-ass...did not know how and where to use it, and used it randomly in this movie.
So anyway, he meets this random girl Esther (Jhanvi) on the streets trying to play a prank on dude and Madhu. Madhu gets and kisses Esther in public...lip to lip. So you think that something is going to happen between these two, right? Instead in the next few scenes he sees Mercy (Priyamani), who is a godfearing girl and starts following her randomly. He later notices that she is kind, sweet, and nice. Then he enters her hostel and tells her, "I love you and you must like me," with the worst English accent ever. This is nothing but harrassment to the girl who is obviously upset by this 9you w*ould be too if you were in her position), but Madhu does not understand why Mercy doesn't love him...

So he goes chasing her aound the town and finally follows her to her village and even converts to Christianity to get into her and her father's good books. The girl clearly explains to him that her only aim in life is to become a nun as promised by her father to her dying mother. But still Madhu is persistent and tries to convince her that becoming a nun is stupid when you are in love. Does he not get the message that she is not in love with him and only he is in love (if you could call that) with her?

So anyhow, harrassment continues till both of them jump over a cliff due to Madhu's stupidity and die. Really, only a guy high on dope or plain stupid can make a movie so stupid. Many times when I watch a movie I feel that the director had a good concept but somehow failed in execution and feel bad for him...but in this case, I should say that the movie is irritating and stupid, the actor Ramesh looks and acts pathetically, the only saving grace is the beautiful face of Priyamani which again fails miserably as an actor. Ashish Vidhyarthi with his miserable and annoying dubbing voice is very irritating, this is a case of misused talent . There is no comedy, Vivek is nothing but annoying.

On the whole, I am even frustrated living through the excruciating experience writing the review and I am going to stop right here recommending everyone to avoid this movie at all cost...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Watching the Desi Rock Stars...Up Close

When: June 03, 2006 scheduled at 8.30pm
Where: Dallas Convention Center
Who: Salman Khan, Zayed Khan, John Abraham, Kareena Kapoor, Mallika Sherawat, and Esha Deol
Choreography: Bosco Cesar

How was it? Well that is the main reason for writing this blog!

So on Friday evening I get a call from one of the editors of Diya Magazine in Dallas for whom I had written a couple of articles a couple of months ago. He offers me two VIP tickets for the Rock Stars Show. Of course, I accepted it and I was there with Girish and another friend to see the Rock Stars rock eight rows away from the stage. Yup...we got to shake hands with the stars, and a few close up shots...It was cool.

Ok, now lets see how the show started. It was scheduled to start at 8.30pm, I say scheduled because they followed the IST and started promptly at 10.00pm. Girish and I were mad because we had to miss the sixth basketball game where the MAVS kicked the Suns out of the Western Conference Basket Ball Finals thus for the first time moving into the National Finals. Go Mavs Go! Digressing...

So when the show did start there was no issue about any annoying host praising the actors. It was plain and simple. The big screen TV in the background just showed synopsis of each actor coming up on stage. Very simple and well done.

So the first to come on stage was Esha Deol: A very good dancer. Very graceful, beautiful smile, but absolutely no stage presence. She was lost among the dancers. Her costumes were also of poor choice. She is someone who can be your girl next door but an actress? I don't know. Her forehead is way too big.

The next to come on was Mallika Sherawat: Yup the sex bomb, the lady who almost bared her chest with Jackie on her arms...was all but bare...She was fully clothed disappointing many of her dude fans...But for me, She looked very ordinary. No star value. I do not think she has much to offer but for her skin. To me she looks a little better than being totally crass.

So Zayed Khan: came...Well he is the perfect Amul baby, fair, with flab, and pretty-dumb to look at. Good for him he can dance because he was the only male performer who could. He is an entertainer in training...If he can loose some baby fat and actually stop immitating Shah Rukh, he might have a chance...looking at his solid family backing.

The last actress on stage who made the best impression on me was Kareen Kapoor: Now that is what I call Star Power. Her looks, height, charm, clothes, everything stood out from both Esha and Mallika. When she was on the stage among twenty performers she stood out bright and beautiful. Her dance movements elegant and graceful, she was a natural. Unfortunately for her, when we looked up to see her on the big screen behind she looked Ghastly...someone so beautiful in person can look so ugly on the screen...not photogenic eh?! But among the lady performers she stole the show and rightfully so.


John A: The most cheered of all three dudes (Sorry Sallu) walked up from behind the audience in a long open jacket baring his chest, yup...that is a physique we were all waiting to see...But to me he looked much smaller in person than on screen. Dude can't dance to save his life. All he did while the dancers danced was to stand and pose. He also went to the extent of sitting on a stool with no lights and lip synching the Strings song (Zinda) while the dancers danced away...nice trick eh? Just one observation...why does John have his neck always craned? If you notice he does that even in the movies...bad posture.

Sallu: was welcomed with a big video showing how he was harrassed by the cops, what a nice person he is, how lucky he was to be here and constantly reminding us that he is the star of the night...unfortunately John had already stolen all the applause and all we could do was politely clap. But Sallu did not find that enough and he quickly brought the pace of the show to a new high. He did not do much dancing...but he had the audience follow him everywhere he went. He was cool and probably had the best stage presence...He did show to everyone who the show was really all about...Salman Khan...and he had everyone captivated for the rest of the show.

So after all the six stars were introduced, Sallu came back and gave the audience a chance to ask questions to which he answered very polietly. An aunty got to dance with him, a girl got a shake hand and he patiently answered some silly questions. It was fun though. Later he also sang a song (don't know if it was live or if it was pre-recorded).

When John came back the crowd went crazy. He invited a girl up and did some pretty hot live romance on the stage...the conservative Desi crowd went oooh and aahhh...And Zayed had a little girl on stage and sung the Main Hoon Na song to her...very cute...

I felt bad for Esha because when she came back to talk to the crowd on stage...nobody welcomed her...Anyway the show was fun. The late start was soon forgotten as the stars entertained almost for three hours for numerous songs with a big smile on their face. Sallu and Zayed seemed to be enjoying the show the most behind the stage...

Before I sign off, as a dancer and lover of dance I have to say that the choreography was way below my expectation. This is one thing I have noticed in Desi shows, there is absolutely no co-ordination among the dancers, which I strongly believe shows that the choreographers just do not care too much for the show/audience. A good choreographer will grind his team to perform to perfection and this was not seen in these dude and dames who danced brisk at times and tired at others...

One more suggestion would be to stop inviting the sponsors and expecting the audience to thank them for a great show they have put together. I believe it should be the other way around where the sponsors should thank the audience for paying and coming to the show. It was embarrassing for those sponsors who stood on the stage and the audience just ignored them.

On the whole, I would do it all over again because I love entertainment of any form and this was seriously worth it...Go Bollywood Go...er...that was for the Mavs...


PS: I tried to upload some photos here but Blogspot is behaving funny and not doing any uploading for me...I will try again and again...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Trip to B.R. Hills

B.R. Hills, also known as Bili Giri Ranganna Hills a few hundred kilometers from Mysore Station. I read about this place in Mukund's
blog and I remembered my trip to the same place in early 2000...A recount of what ever I remember from the trip ...

Mom, Thameem, Bharathi (then my to-be-SIL) took the train to Mysore and we hired a taxi for Rs.4000 for three days to take us to B.R. Hills and back. The driver was not very excited about the trip but agreed to go with us because he felt the money was not bad...We drove out of Mysore and through small villages and barren land, we stopped at a small village and ate at the most dirtiest little restaurant (don't know if I can call this), but this was going to be our last decent meal before our hike. I ate idlis (dad always told me that when in doubt of hygiene, eat idli's...) with sugar and no sambar/chutney.

The driver warned us not to put our hands outside the window and that we will not be taking any stops whatsoever enroute till we reach Dr. Sudharshan's little self-help village...That was about two hours from our dingy restaurant.

So our drive up the hill was adventurous...Road was visible on and off or it was kuchha road all the way up, forest stretch on both sides and the driver warned us about wild boars, wild elephants, and who knows maybe a tiger...Put the fear of god in us...Infect we did see both the wild boars and wild elephants on our way up and luckily for us they did not bother us and hopefully we did not bother them too.

We went to Dr. Sudarshan's clinic, I have to tell you about this person. A great doctor who visited BR Hills alone by foot long time ago (don't really know when) and saw that people were living in sub-standard conditions. These are the local tribes who live up there. The doctor moved to live among them and now treats them with minimal medicine unless their immunity fails to kick in. He has built around his clinic a small school, hostel, self-sustaining work places (such as knitting, honey making, weaving, basket making, etc). There are a few other doctors who have given up their rich city lifestyle to live in the forest among the tribes in houses that most of us will envy. It is notable to mention here that Dr. Sudarshan is a recipient of the prestigious French Magsasay Award.

Why did I go here? For my Undergrad thesis on self-sustaining and low-cost architecture. The architect I had worked with told me to go here to get the best information I can on this subject and that I did!

Mr. Vijay who was an assistant to the doctor took us to our hostel acco. He informed us that there will be no electricity past 6.00pm and that we should eat dinner that student's mess before that. Also wild boars and foxes or jackals roam the parts and for our own safety we should be inside the compound before dark. He gave us four candles and waited for us to settle in.

The first thing we noticed inside the rooms were these giant spiders, small bodies but large legs, really long ones all over the ceiling. Everywhere, I am not exaggerating, there were thousands of them all over the place. It totally freaked me out and I was panicking if I could really sleep there. So I stepped out, and saw Vijay sitting out and I went and picked up some small talk and then asked the most stupidest of things ever, "Why are so many spiders here?" to which he glared at me and said, "What are we doing in their habitat? blah, blah, blah and the dressing down continued for more than ten minutes. My friend Thameem came and rescued me at the right moment.

There was no phone, TV, running water, or food in this place but there was peace. I was so happy, never missed any of those things even for a minute. We spent three days climbing up and down the hills trying to document everything I possibly could for my thesis and also enjoying nature. The tribal kids and I got along real well, they spoke broken Kanada and so did I...But the food cooked by the kids who went to school and stayed in the hostel was just bearable for my city raised mouth.

We went to the Bili Giri Temple up at the highest point and it was beautiful, my friend Thameem sang to which quiet a few of the tribal people joined us and then we drove back. There was also this beautiful ashram where were spent an afternoon just basking in the natural beauty of this place. We also went to the only small tea shop in the hills where the owner out of pity made some dosas for our starving stomachs. It was nice, the hills, forest, tea shop, and a dosa at hand, at that moment the only thing that came to my mind was "Please do not make this place a future Ooty, where the Todas are no where to be seen and the city itself is so dirty, polluted, and over crowded."

It was great to see Dr. Sudarshan having built up this place from nothing to something. The people are happy doing what they are doing, living in huts, working to make some money for sustenance but not being influenced by Western culture, they still have to climb the tree to escape a wild elephant or the often spoken of tiger...They seem far more peaceful than us the city folks who in the process of accumulating material pleasure forget peace in its god-given form.